Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Photos and Some Highlights of Dynamics of Disasters Conference in Greece

Today was the second day of the International Conference on Dynamics of Disasters, which is taking place in Kalamata, Greece, and which I co-organized with Professor Panos M. Pardalos of the University of Florida and Professor Ilias Kotsireas of Wilfrid Laurier in Canada. Below joining us in the photo are Professor Aleskerov of Russia and Professor Burcu Balcik of Turkey.

This focused conference has had paper presenters from Denmark, England, Canada, the US, Russia, Sweden, Greece, Austria, Turkey, among other countries, which speaks to the timeliness and importance of the conference themes, which appear on the conference website.

I have been delighted that there is even participation from the Isenberg School of Management alums, Professor Tina Wakolbinger and Professor Fuminori Toyasaki, both of whom were my PhD students in Management Science, and are now, respectively, Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria and Professor at York University in Toronto, Canada. Also, a recent alumna of the Isenberg School, Jenny Sargeant, who just graduated in May 2015 with her degree in Operations and Information Management, is also here and today even gave a talk. She had done a nice project and presentation in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class this past spring, and since there was a cancellation today, she gave her presentation in that slot. Jenny is now living in Germany and begins her job with the USO on Sunday.

Below is a photo of the UMass Amherst contingent at this conference along with Professor Adenrele Awotona of UMass Boston! I am holding an Isenberg School of Management folder in which we provided the conference program. Thanks to Dean Mark A. Fuller and Associate Dean Tom Moliterno for support for this conference!
I have enjoyed the talks immensely. The presenters come from different disciplines, including psychology and anthropology,  earthquake engineering,  and, of course, a good contingent of operations researchers and management scientists. This makes for very exciting discussions and presentation of different perspectives.  There are also experts in disaster management and emergency preperdness here, experts in policy, and also transportation.

The venue is spectacular as are the discussions.

Below are photos of some of the presenters to-date. More talks are taking place tomorrow and I will continue blogging the conference.

We managed to get a group photo taken of most of the presenters and registrants (although not all) - see below:
Special thanks to Professor Ilias Kotsireas, who has organized conferences before at the Elite Hotel in Kalamata, which is the venue for our conference. He has done an outstanding job making this conference possible. And, of course, with INFORMS Fellow ad OR/MS superstar Professor Panos M. Pardalos as a co-organizer, the conference has to be great!

This is also a very historic time in Greece, which is making headlines around the globe,  because of the debt crisis and the euro.  As you may have heard, one can only extract 60 euros per day from a Greek bank account so there are many lines at the ATM machines. Those having US accounts are being allowed to take out more euros daily. However, as we experienced today, some of the machines are running out of cash and also many of the restaurants, etc., are no longer taking credit cards. The country is holding a referendum this Sunday.

Below is a queue not far from our hotel at an ATM machine.