Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Editing the Dynamics of Disasters Volume

Ten months ago, the Dynamics of Disasters conference took place in Kalamata, Greece. This conference I co-organized with Professor Panos M. Pardalos of the University of Florida and Professor Ilias Kotsireas of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. It was a challenging time for Greece, given the financial crisis, but the camaraderie of the conferees was outstanding as were the papers presented and the discussions. Great friendships were made as well. For example, George Karagiannis of Cyprus, who is an expert on national risk assessments, visited me at UMass Amherst last September and gave a fabulous talk, which was co-hosted by the Transportation group. Plus, in March, Rasmus Dahlberg of the Disaster Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, who had been working at the University of Colorado in Boulder for a few weeks, gave two lectures at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. One lecture was in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class and the other was in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series. The students and audience members, to this day, recall fondly his exceptional energy and knowledge in disaster management. He is a true Renaissance man - he is also a novelist and television and radio personality.

Below is a photo of the conferees.
The past few months, Kotsireas, Pardalos, and I have been very busy editing the proceedings volume from the conference, which is under contract from Springer,  In addition to paper submissions from many of the conferees, we have also invited additional contributors. Each paper has had 2 to 3 reviews and the authors have done a good job revising their papers.

I am delighted that the volume is almost ready to be shipped to the publisher.

It is a collection of 18 papers spanning all 4 disaster management phases: risk mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery, and contains conceptual as well as analytical contributions.  Applications are wide-ranging - from the Ebola healthcare crisis to the Syrian crisis, and there are many novel mathematical models (optimization and game theory ones), as well; several of which are network-based. There are some truly innovative and original papers in this volume, which I believe that many will appreciate.

We have written the Introduction to the volume, which is,  in itself, a contribution, since it demonstrates the scope of challenges associated with disasters as well as concepts and tools for disaster management. The volume contains approaches not only for natural disasters but also for technological ones, and for both sudden onset and slow-onset ones. Both academic as well as practitioner perspectives are included.

It has been a true pleasure working with my colleagues, Professors Pardalos and Kotsireas, on this book project! The finishing aspects of this project I am completing in my exciting new role as a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College at the University of Oxford in England.