Sunday, June 25, 2017

Packing Up for Humanitarian Logistics and Dynamics of Disasters Conferences in Europe

An an operations researcher, I tend to be rather efficient when it comes to packing and travel (also, all the practice definitely helps). However, my most challenging set of trips was, coincidentally, when I was a 2005-2006 Science Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS) at Harvard. I am back now at RIAS as a Summer Fellow and loving it. In the summer of 2006, I had a conference in Cyprus, a conference in Iceland, and then a conference in Sicily (all in succession). This meant packing for 2 weeks of hot weather and one week of "cold" weather, with temps in Iceland that never reached above 48F.  I had to do a reconnaissance mission in that my husband and daughter joined me in Iceland and did bring some warmer outfits for me. We did some substitutions as to the hot weather professional outfits that they took back to Massachusetts and I then continued from Iceland to Sicily.

This week, I am flying from Boston to Vienna, Austria, where I will be speaking at  EURO HOpe 2017, which is taking place at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). I was invited to speak at this conference by Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, who was my former PhD student in Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management. She is now the Director of the Research Institute for Supply Chain Management at WU and a Full Professor (achieving this status in record time).

The program for this two day conference is fabulous with many leaders in humanitarian logistics and operations research taking part.

At this conference, I will be speaking on research done with Emilio Alvarez Flores and Ceren Soylu, which was published in the journal Transportation Research E. 

Then, after next weekend, I will be heading from Vienna to Kalamata, Greece, where I co-organized, with Professors Fuad Aleskerov, Ilias S. Kotsireas, and Panos M. Pardalos, the 3rd International Conference on Dynamics of Disasters.

UMass Amherst posted this nice article on the conference.

I had also co-organized, with Kotsireas and Pardalos, the 2nd International Dynamics of Disasters (DOD) conference, and the proceedings volume was published last year.
At the last DOD conference, there were quite a few speakers who will now be speaking at the EURO HOpe conference, including Dr. Burcu Balcik, Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, and Dr. Fuminori Toyasaki, and yours truly.

Packing for a conference taking place in the summer in Vienna, Austria,  and in Kalamata, Greece, is much easier than the trifecta of conferences I had to pack for in 2006. For one, the climate, in terms of temperature, is not so different and, also, thank goodness, summer clothing weighs less than winter clothing! And, yes, I always carry on my suitcase, unless, as I did last summer - I have a multimonth appointment as I had had - at the University of Oxford in England. Clearly, the number and size of suitcases that you take on your travels serve as a constraint. I also lift weights so that I can easily put my suitcase in the overhead bin although, I must admit, I do enjoy the courtesy of a gentleman reaching out and assisting me, every once in a while.

I am very much looking forward to the exchange of ideas and research at both of these conferences and in seeing colleagues with a passion for humanitarian logistics and disaster relief from around the globe! At the DOD conference, we will have speakers from the United Nations and from multiple continents. My former doctoral student at the Isenberg School, now Professor, Dr. Dmytro Matsypura, will be coming from the University of Sydney in Australia to speak. It will be extra special to also have three of the four co-authors of our paper, "A Variational Inequality Network Framework for Humanitarian Organizations in Disaster Relief: Effective Product Delivery Under Competition for Financial Funds," coming. Dr. Patrizia Daniele will be traveling from Italy and Emilio Alvarez Flores from the US.

I will also be presenting a paper on freight, game theory, and disaster relief, and the "other" Professor Nagurney, Dr. Ladimer S. Nagurney, will be speaking on disaster communications.
 Happy and safe travels, everyone, wherever your passion leads you!