Friday, May 13, 2022

Celebrating My 23rd PhD Student - Dr. Mojtaba Salarpour

Now is the time of the year in academia, when we mark major milestones, such as the completion of degrees by our students. Yesterday, was a very special day, during which we had the Isenberg School PhD robing ceremony of the class of 2022.

It was wonderful to take part in the ceremony and to speak about my 23rd PhD student, now - Dr. Mojtaba Salarpour! It was the first such in-person ceremony in 3 years because of the pandemic.

The program is below and includes the names of the 6 students from the Isenberg School that received the PhD this past year and the names of their dissertations and their PhD advisors. Impressively, 3 of the 6 are from my Operations and Information Management Department. Mojtaba's concentration in our PhD program was Management Science.

It was nice to see my Department Chair, Professor Senay Solak, at the ceremony and also my 24th PhD student - Dana Hassani.

Mojtaba is from Iran and, while at UMass Amherst, he taught several courses, and was President of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter for 2 years, including 1 1/2 years during the pandemic. He was instrumental in organizing several very interesting virtual panels - one of which was with healthcare researchers from Mass General Hospital and another one was on a career panel. Plus, we had the honor of hosting Dr. Mauricio Resende, Principal Research Scientist of Amazon, in the Chapter's Speaker Series that I help the chapter to organize. Under his tenure as President, the Chapter was recognized with the Magna Cum Laude Award from INFORMS!

Mojtaba's PhD dissertation, "Essays on Supply Chain Economic Networks for Disaster Management Inspired by the Covid-19 Pandemic," constructed several highly relevant game theory models with applications, literally, "drawn from the news." His research, while at UMass Amherst, yielded 4 published papers and 1 published book chapter. I am delighted that he will be an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) at Texas A&M Commerce, starting this Fall. Below, are first pages of his papers.





As I said in my speech about Mojtaba at the ceremony, Mojtaba Salarpour is "standing on the shoulders of giants," since my academic genealogy, by way of my PhD advisor at Brown University, Professor Stella Dafermos, goes back to Maxwell, Newton, and Galileo - so- "no pressure!"

After the ceremony, it was great to enjoy the delicious food provided by UMass Amherst and to see many colleagues, students, and friends!



Congratulations to all the students, Class of 2022, now alums of their alma mater! With best wishes to you on your new journeys with a special congratulations to Dr. Mojtaba Salarpour! I remember fondly the delicious pistachios he brought for me from Iran when he arrived and after he landed in Boston Logan.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Thanking the Fabulous Guest Speakers in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare Class

Now that the Spring 2022 semester has come to a close (except for some grading), I thought it important to publicly thank and recognize the outstanding guest speakers in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class this term.  In this class, we cover many relevant topics in disaster management, as well as applications to current events, and having experts, who are very knowledgeable in terms of practice, speak to my students, provides for a transformative educational experience.

The class met Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Isenberg School of Management at 8:30AM. Amazingly, and this speaks to the interest of the students in the class, there were several students who would arrive before me, shortly after 8:00AM, which I found very inspiring.

On February 17, 2022, we had the honor of having Mr. Vince Mullen, who is a Major in the Massachusetts National Guard, and who is also the VP of Operations at JP Morgan in Boston, as our first guest speaker. He traveled about 2 hours from eastern MA, and appeared in military dress to speak to my students. The topic of his presentation was: "The Military and Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare." He spoke about his experiences responding to the earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010 and the logistical and other challenges encountered in the relief efforts. He also discussed how his experiences in the army and the National Guard have helped him as an Executive in a financial services firm, including having very logical thinking skills and being able to adapt to dynamic, evolving situations. Major Mullen also shared with us information about his participation in Phases I and III of the National Guard's COVID response operations. Soldiers’ mission included handling medical supplies, swabbing, transportation, and driving school buses. The constraints included: a lack of vaccines at the time, a lack of organization, non-medical training background of soldiers, and addressing the fundamental question: Where is the need? In Massachusetts alone, the Guard's COVID response has included the logistical issues of handling 1000 soldiers, 69 hospitals, 40 nursing homes, 12 ambulances, 13 dialysis centers, 95000 shift hours, 64000 observed patients, 4500 transported EMS, and 74000 delivered meals.

I found it profoundly moving, as did the students, how much Major Mullen cared about helping disaster victims. I am so grateful for his exceptional service for many years!



The second guest speaker was Dr. Denise Sumpf, who is the highest ranking UN official in Armenia. Her guest lecture took place on February 24, 2022, which, you may recall, is the date of the latest invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign country, by Russia. Dr. Sumpf had taken part in a UN Security Council meeting just hours before her guest presentation, in which she spoke virtually to my class from Yerevan, Armenia. She spoke about the situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the many challenges associated with Nagorno-Karabakh. She also discussed the UN cluster approach, which was great, since this reinforced some of the material I had covered in my lectures. Dr. Sumpf also continued to bring up the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. And, clearly, our world has, sadly, dramatically changes since February 24, 2022.

I had hosted Dr. Sumpf a while back in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series, when she was based in NYC with the United Nations. She contributed a very interesting co-authored chapter, "The Impact of the Syria Crisis on Lebanon," to the first Dynamics of Disasters volume that I co-edited with Professors Ilias S. Kotsireas and Panos M. Pardalos. It was very special to have her speak to my class.

On March 10, 2022, Ms. Lauren Ulrich, the Executive Director, Operations Management & Logistics, American Red Cross, spoke to my class virtually.  She leads the teams necessary to carry out the key functions for major Red Cross relief operations including incident command, operations management, planning, logistics, finance, and external relations. They have the responsibility for the readiness, planning, resourcing, and implementation of scalable response operations to meet the needs of disaster clients for large-scale Red Cross domestic disaster operations, including across all U.S. States, Territories, and Commonwealths. In her amazing career (she had also been a Marine), Ms. Ulrich has taken part in  multitude operations ranging from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom; to international disaster response operations, including the Haiti Earthquake, Typhoon Haiyan, and Alberta Floods; to domestic disaster response operations, including Hurricane Sandy, Michigan Water Crisis, Hurricane Harvey, and the California Wildfires! Support, according to Ms. Ulrich, must be repeatable and scalable with the disaster response necessitating speed to market and speed to scale. Speed to market means having access to the required assets for help and shelter, and speed to scale means scaling from  a single home to tens of thousands of homes in 72 hours. Holistically, the logistics team’s mission is to have the required assets to get the volunteers on the ground in 2 hours and to hold the ground for 72 hours while quickly scaling up. She also shared with us the challenges associated with disaster response in the COVID pandemic and how she and her boss were very well-prepared in terms of PPEs, since the Red Cross was closely following the spread of the coronavirus globally, already in January 2020. Her lecture was incredibly engaging and informative.

The fourth guest speaker was UMass Amherst's very own Dr. Peter Reinhart! Dr. Reinhart is the founding Director of the Institute for Applied Life Science (IALS) at UMass Amherst and has more than 25 years of R&D management experience in academia (Duke University), biotechnology (Cogent Neuroscience, Proteostasis Therapeutics), and large pharma (Wyeth, Pfizer). He  came to the University of Massachusetts Amherst from the Cambridge MA biotechnology company, Proteostasis Therapeutics (PTI), where he was President and Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Reinhart shared with us how the incredibly effective and, frankly, life-saving, in my opinion, COVID-19 Testing Center at UMass was founded from scratch. As of April 2020, when UMass shut down and reverted to online teaching, 750 scientists in the Applied Life Sciences building had to stay at home. That was when he thought that they could use these human resources and talent to form the Testing Center. He made the idea into a “white paper” and handed it to be reviewed by Chancellor Subbaswamy.  After a month, Chancellor permitted Dr. Reinhart to start the project, who came up with a timeline to make it functional in 100 days, from the preliminary processes and operational foundations to the beginning of the testing. This required exceptional logistics, team work, planning, scientific expertise, legal interventions, and even the assistance of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. Thousands of students, faculty, and staff and members of our community have benefited from the exceptional convenience and turn around time and accuracy of the UMass Amherst COVID Testing Center. We are all so proud of this truly exceptional achievement in the service of our community during the pandemic and so grateful!




The fifth and final guest speaker was Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney of the University of Hartford, who spoke in person on April 26, 2022. The topic of his guest lecture was: "Disaster Communications." He even brought hardware to demonstrate to the students. The slide deck of his lecture can be downloaded here.

He discussed many interesting topics with some of the highlights being the disruptions to communications after the volcanic eruption in Tonga (and the restoration efforts) and the importance of communications to the war efforts of  Ukraine against the Russian aggressors.


Many thanks to these outstanding guest speakers, who took the time from their very busy schedules to share their important insights and experiences with my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class!

Monday, April 18, 2022

Agricultural Supply Chain Networks and the War Against Ukraine

The invasion of Ukraine by the Russians on February 24, 2022 is impacting food prices and food insecurity globally, creating major hardships with a pending hunger catastrophe.

I have worked on agricultural supply chains for quite a few years, since perishable product supply chains from food to medicines and blood are a passion of mine, and this is the theme that we wrote about in our Springer book, "Networks Against Time: Supply Chain Analytics for Perishable Products."

In my recent blogpost, I emphasized the importance of speaking out and writing about the war against Ukraine, a sovereign nation, that was unlawfully and unjustly invaded by the Russians. One must not forget what happened also in 2014 with Russia taking over Crimea and also moving into parts of eastern Ukraine. If one speaks out and writes, one is part of the resistance, as my courageous, incredible colleagues at the Kyiv School of Economics in Ukraine say.

Since my most recent post, I have had the honor of speaking to several media outlets. Of special interest to this audience I am sure is the article,  Global Hunger Crisis Looms as War in Ukraine Sends Food Prices Soaringby Susan D'Agostino for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that I was interviewed for.

In addition, the professional society of INFORMS hosted me and Professor Tim Lowe of the University of Iowa for a recent webinar on:  How Supply Chain Disruptions are Impacting our Food Supply and Creating Food Insecurity. After an introduction, I began the webinar by speaking about Ukraine and the major disruptions to agriculture because of the Russian aggression. The recording of the webinar has now been posted on YouTube. I thank the outstanding Jeff Cohen and Ashley Smith of INFORMS for making this webinar possible to which folks from Capitol Hill were invited and other guests. I was thrilled to receive emails of thanks afterwards from as far as the UK and Mexico.

Earlier, I had spoken to FeedStuffs for this very informative segment, "Russia-Ukraine War and Global Food Security: What's at Stake?"

Many do not realize that the World Food Programme would, typically, purchase 50% of its wheat from Ukraine and, with the war exports of agricultural products from Ukraine now severely compromised with ports blocked; the Black Sea mined; the Russians even mining agricultural lands, and with transportation infrastructure seriously compromised due to the shelling and bombing plus the challenges of obtaining fuel for harvesting and sowing machinery as well as getting sufficient labor and even vehicles for transport. MENA countries (Middle Eastern and North Africa) also rely on grain exports from Ukraine, which is notable for its wheat, corn, barley, and sunflower oil. Agriculture is a major component of Ukraine's GDP and both developing countries, where hunger is always of concern, as well as developed ones (including several European ones), depend on food products grown in Ukraine. China also imports corn and sunflower oil from Ukraine and India imports agricultural products from Ukraine.

A few weeks ago, I did an audio on the importance of Ukraine, which was produced by INFORMS and can be accessed here.

Throughout the pandemic, I have been writing and publishing on the importance of labor to supply chains, from agricultural ones to various medical ones, including PPEs, and the impacts of disruptions to labor on prices, profits, volumes of products, and even wages. Much of our work in this area, as well as other relevant publications,  can be found on the Supernetwork Center site. 

I also would like to share with you the outstanding webinar, from Ukraine, which included my colleagues from the Kyiv School of Economics, that I was able to view synchronously on March 31, 2022; the recording of which is now posted.

Everything must be done to stop Russia's war against Ukraine, which is also against humanity!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Speaking Out and Writing About Russia's War Against Ukraine

Already in January 2022, I started being approached by journalists asking me whether I thought that an invasion of Ukraine was imminent, and my interview with a Bengali journalist was published on January 25, 2022 (in Bengali) in the Daily Amader Shomoy (Bengali for 'Our Times'). The article appears below. And, yes, I did, and I provided reasons why. A colleague at UMass Amherst, who has several Bengali PhD students, had one kindly translate the article back to English so that I could check whether my original answers to questions posed by the journalist were appropriately captured (for the most part, they were).


I had a "feeling" similar to that of two years ago, that the world was going to soon change for us and it has. In 2020, it was the COVID-19 pandemic, and, now, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign nation, which had not provoked the aggressors.

My first language is Ukrainian and my parents were WWII refugees from Ukraine, having settled in Canada, where I was born, before relocating to the United State.  I have been to Ukraine, for a conference in Yalta, and also to an academic business meeting in Kyiv since I have had a long association with the Kyiv School of Economics and now am deeply honored to have been elected Co-Chair of its Board of Directors. There is still a family home in Ukraine, where my cousin has resided for part of the year, but is not there now. Ukraine is in my DNA.

On February 24, 2022, when the massive Russian invasion of Ukraine began (remember, they also took over Crimea in 2014 and have been assaulting the Donbas area in eastern Ukraine for several years now), I was teaching my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class, at which the top UN official from Armenia, Dr. Denise Sumpf, was speaking that day. She had been to a virtual UN Security Council Meeting only hours before. 

A few days after, I was contacted by a journalist, Jim Kinney, who writes for The Springfield Republican and masslive.com. He interviewed both my husband and me and our local priest, Father Krip, for an article that was published on February 28, 2022. He asked whether he could use the photo below for the article, and I gave my permission. The wearing of Ukrainian colors, as in the flag of yellow and blue, I continue to do for many interviews with the media since and with the Ukrainian flag in the background. I used "cultural genocide" to describe what I was seeing early on, recognizing that it was only a matter of time before "genocide" would be the actuality and the reality, as it is now, with Russia's military killing innocent civilians, including children, women, and the elderly.

One has to understand that academics are very busy, as it is, with responsibilities of teaching, research, and service. I consider public outreach and responding to media requests, given one's expertise, as also being essential for a professor. Since the war against Ukraine began, I have responded to inquiries from The New York Times, the Associated Press, Vox, Business Insider, and Forbes, among other media outlets,  and have been interviewed for multiple podcasts and radio shows in the US and even Canada. I was even interviewed by a Vietnamese journalist for an article that was published in Vietnamese.

The interviews have covered a diversity of topics, including the impact of the war on food insecurity and food prices, since Ukraine is the breadbasket of the world.  This is the least that I can do to keep people informed about the immense impacts globally of the Russian war on Ukraine, a country with a beautiful language, lovely culture, many natural resources, including its very rich soil for agriculture, and which has been independent since 1991.  I will continue to speak out and to write and to support my friends and colleagues in Ukraine as they battle for freedom valiantly and with incredible dexterity and intelligence, and respond now to the growing atrocities committed by the Russians on innocent civilians that have outraged the free world. I give special thanks to Ukrainians working to preserve their institutions, including higher education ones and cultural ones. By writing and speaking out, we are part of the resistance. Of course, financial support is also essential and lobbying legislators and decision-makers to provide the Ukrainian people and its leadership with what they need in the war to preserve democracy for Europe and beyond.

The Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, where I teach, has summarized some of the highlights of the interviews that I have had the honor to participate in with the article, "Isenberg Professor Shares Expertise on War on Ukraine," posted on the school's website. 

My latest OpEd on the war against Ukraine and the call for a Marshall Plan and humanitarian aid was published in the Chicago Sun Times on April 5, 2022.

In addition, we have organized a group of faculty at UMass Amherst in a Task Force on Displaced Scholars from Ukraine, and have written a memo to the administration. We heard back today. There will be more meetings and additional momentum on this very critical endeavor. 

Words matter as well as actions. Even the President of Ukraine Zelenskyy recognizes the power of words and social media to inform, energize, and elicit change. Speak out and write and amplify the voices of those in Ukraine; not doing so, will prolong and exacerbate the horrors and the suffering and the destruction. Now is not the time to be silent.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Congratulations to Mojtaba Salarpour on His Successful PhD Dissertation Defense!

In an academic's life, one of the many joys is seeing one's students achieve milestones.

Today was a very special day, since Mojtaba Salarpour,  my PhD student in Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, successfully defended his doctoral dissertation, with the title: "Essays on Supply Chain Economic Networks for Disaster Management Inspired by the Covid-19 Pandemic." The abstract of his dissertation can be viewed here. Mojtaba is my 23rd PhD student. I am grateful to the committee members: Professor Priyak Arora of the Isenberg School and Professors Hari Balasubramanian and Chaitra Gopalappa of the College of Engineering at UMass Amherst. 

When I arrived for the defense today, Mojtaba had assembled all sorts of treats and refreshments and we managed a quick photo before the committee members and others arrived.

Mojtaba's PhD dissertation research has already yielded several journal articles and a book chapter.








Mojtaba served for two years as the President of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter (1 1/2 of those in the pandemic). Under his leadership, the chapter received two national awards from INFORMS because of its activities. Below is a photo taken at the Phoenix National INFORMS Meeting in 2021, at which the Chapter was honored with its latest award.

Mojtaba also taught required two different courses at the Isenberg School and has experience teaching in both face to face and in online formats. He clearly, is the "full academic package" with talents in research and scholarship, teaching, as well as service.

I am delighted that he will be joining the faculty of Texas A&M Commerce as an Assistant Professor, in the tenure track, in the Fall.

It is wonderful to see the academic family tree growing with the list of my PhD students, whose dissertation committees I chaired listed here.

And, my academic genealogy, in terms of those "who came before me" is featured below with incredible scientists such as Maxwell, Newton, and Galileo!


My students and I are clearly "standing on the shoulders of giants." 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Massachusetts and the United States Must Support Ukrainian Students and Scholars

This blogpost is co-authored with Dr. Ladimer S. Nagurney. Since the latest war on Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, we, as many others around the globe, have been preoccupied with the unprovoked, unjustified invasion of this democratic, sovereign nation, with atrocities being committed by the Russian invaders that continue to escalate and to create horrific pain, suffering, death, destruction, environmental impacts, as well as supply chain disruptions.

We are both educators and are lucky to live in the state of Massachusetts with renowned higher education institutions that serve as a magnet for students and scholars from around the globe. Colleges and universities are the bedrock of democratic societies and now Ukrainian institutions of higher education are at grave risk because of the unprovoked aggression by Putin and his war on beautiful Ukraine and its people.
One of the major successes during the three decades of Ukrainian independence has been the development of a robust system of higher education. There are now several universities in Ukraine that, in terms of instruction and research, can compete on the world stage. In addition to domestic students, these institutions attract students from the developing and developed countries alike. The war on Ukraine presents immense challenges for Ukrainian universities. Because of the war, classes across Ukraine have been canceled; some, amazingly, have been moved to online formats, and some of the students, faculty, and staff have scattered, seeking locations of greater safety. Many of the able-bodied males, from ages 18-60, have joined the military or the territorial defense forces. Even females are assisting in the valiant fight for freedom of their nation.
The first author of this post is the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors (BOD) of the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE)  in Ukraine, a leading business school, and also serves on its International Academic Board (IAB), providing with fellow board members from universities such as the University of Chicago, Yale, Duke, UC Berkeley, SUNY Stony Brook, University of British Columbia in Canada, University of Houston, and Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, guidance on curricula, research and scholarship and the teaching of faculty, as well as inputs into strategic plans. These are  voluntary roles. She serves on the BOD with a former US Ambassador to Ukraine (John Herbst) and on the IAB with Roger Myerson, a Nobel laureate in Economics, who is the Chair of the IAB. Since the Russian forces entered Ukraine on February 24, 2022, in significant numbers, without provocation, the BOD and IAB members have been holding many emergency meetings with the school administrators, some of which remain in the Kyiv area  to manage the school and its assets during this war. 
The courage of the students, staff, faculty, and administration at KSE and other universities in Ukraine is awe-inspiring. Students are working the supply lines from western Ukraine eastward, at risk to their lives,  to ensure food, water, and medicines and other supplies.  The KSE Foundation, in turn, is raising funds for humanitarian relief. The KSE administration is tracking the status of its students and faculty to see whether everyone is accounted for as many of them now engage in the battle for their country.  Our emergency meetings can get terrifying, since lights may be shut off in places where my colleagues in Ukraine are joining us virtually so as not to provide identification for targeting. And, when the sirens wail, they have to run for shelter.
Although some of the formal classes have stopped, education, nevertheless, continues through the hosting of webinars through KSE, and open to the public, of leading international thought leaders (David Petraeus, Paul Krugman, Michael McFaul, Nicholas Christakis, Nassim Taleb, to name a few) and of panels of KSE faculty, including the KSE President Tymofyi Mylovanov, VP Tymofii Brik, Director of the KSE Institute Nataliia Shapoval, and Vice President of Economic Education Oleg Nivievskyi, informing the public of  the impacts of the war. Having such educational events provides the KSE community (and us) with a "sense of normalcy." We do not know how long such events can continue given the escalation of the war and the great uncertainty plus risks.
It is important to emphasize that students educated at Ukrainian universities have assumed positions in the government, at various consulting companies, high tech companies, and many businesses.  The President of KSE Mylovanov is a former Minister of Trade of Ukraine and is also a Professot at the University of Pittsburgh.
There are many institutions of higher learning in Ukraine that need our support now. While numerous faculty senates and professional organizations in the United States have issued statements of solidarity with Ukraine and have condemned the war,  these are only the first steps. A second step, which is also very important symbolically, is to have universities issue Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with universities in Ukraine. We are pleased that the University of Massachusetts Amherst entered into an MOA with KSE on March 14, 2022. This  agreement provides also very important psychological support and can be leveraged for additional funds to support individual students, researchers, and faculty from Ukraine, for short-term stays, for example.  In addition, options of reserving room in online classes for students in Ukraine, as well as those displaced by the war, can yield immense benefits. We are grateful to Kalpen Trivdei of the UMass Amherst International Programs Office for championing this MOA. One can also donate to foundations of Ukrainian universities, some of which are based in the US.

KSE, for example, is not only raising funds for humanitarian relief, but, in addition, is using its expertise and connections with government authorities to provide delivery of needed supplies in an effective, efficient manner even under conditions of extraordinary complexity and challenges.
Universities in Ukraine also need funding to pay their employees. We do not know the end-game for this war at this time but it is essential that higher education in Ukraine be supported in all manner possible, now, in the short-term as well as in the long-term.

Certain high tech companies are starting to enhance data preservation of Ukrainian universities. 

There is even a promising initiative in the works for a Ukrainian Global University with the Kyiv School of Economics and the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv leading the charge.
We hope that the US government and our well-endowed foundations can step up. The democracy of the free world is at stake. Massachusetts can lead in the efforts!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Congratulations to the Supernetwork Team at the Isenberg School of Management for a Great Year!

As we begin the New 2022 Year, it is time to take stock and to reflect on the year that has passed.

2021 was a remarkable year in many respects, not the least of which was that it marked the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.  As the Center Director, I feel it to be important to share with you reflections on this extraordinary year, and to highlight some of the accomplishments of ours at the Virtual Center for Supernetworks.

In 2021, the book, "Dynamics of Disasters - Impact, Risk, Resilience, and Solutions," that I co-edited with Professors  Ilias S. Kotsireas and  Panos M. Pardalos, and Dr.  Arsenios Tsokas was published by Springer. In it, you will find many fascinating contributions, all peer-reviewed, including co-authored work by Center Associates Professor Patrizia Daniele of the University of Catania in Italy and Professor Tina Wakolbinger on the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria. My paper - the very first on incorporating labor into supply chain networks, which was done in the context of perishable food supply chains, also appears therein. And, in July 2021, we, again, co-organized another Dynamics of Disasters conference, which this year, because of the pandemic, although based in Athens, Greece,  nevertheless, virtual. The conference included four plenary speakers and we were delighted to hear from all of them, including Center Associate Dr. Stavros Siokos of Astarte Capital, which he co-founded in London. Center Associates were very active at this conference and included presentations of work by Center Associates Professor Patrizia Daniele,  Professor Tina Wakolbinger, Professor Deniz Besik of the University of Richmond, Professor Pritha Dutta of Pace University, Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney of the University of Hartford,  and Isenberg Doctoral Student Center Associate Mojtaba Salarpour. Mojtaba successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in March 2021.
On June 7, 2021, I was deeply honored with the receipt of the 2020 Harold Larnder Prize from the Canadian Operational Research Society.  I delivered my talk, "Novel Supply Chain Network Models Inspired by the COVID-19 Pandemic: From Optimization to Game Theory," virtually and, remarkably, the prize certificate was delivered through express courier services around the same time!  The video of my prize lecture can be viewed here. I am only the second female in its 35 year history to receive this prize - the first one was Dr. Ailsa Land, who, sadly, died in 2021. I was honored to be a panelist to recognize her receipt of the Beale Medal, which I blogged about.
In the pandemic, our expertise on supply chains and various network systems continued to be sought after. Since part of the Center's focus is public outreach, in addition to our mission of research and education, we responded to numerous media interview requests from the print media, radio shows, as well as TV news programs, and podcasts.  Print media coverage can be viewed here. For various TV and radio interviews plus podcasts, see here,
Center Associates presented at the EURO Conference as well as the INFORMS Conference, which was in hybrid format, with Professor Deniz Besik presenting at this Anaheim conference in person as well as Center Associate Professor Sara Saberi of WPI and Mojtaba Salarpour. I had the honor and pleasure of giving a tutorial at the INFORMS conference, which was recorded - "Game Theory and the COVID-19 Pandemic," which is also an INFORMS publication in its tutorial series. I thank Professors John Carlsson and Doug Shier for their great assistance and support.
In addition, to other conference presentations, we took part in an interesting conclave in India and a workshop in  Nepal, demonstrating the reach of the research that we do.  Of particular focus this year, was researching various supply chain disruptions in the pandemic, continuing work on food supply chains, modeling various trade measures in the pandemic, expanding on disasters and game theory, and  including labor into various supply chain networks in a series of papers,  as well as constructing models of human migration and associated policies, and even building a model of convalescent plasma donations! I was deeply honored that my paper, "Supply Chain Game Theory Network Modeling Under Labor Constraints: Applications to the Covid-19 Pandemic," that was published in the European Journal of Operational Research, receive a 2021 Editor's Choice Award.

I am also very grateful to Isenberg Dean Anne P. Massey and to the UMass President Marty Meehan for appointing me  the Eugene M. Isenberg Chair in Integrative Studies in April 2021.  I am very appreciative of having held the John F. Smith Memorial Professorship of Operations Management from 1998 until that point and especially thank my wonderful benefactor - Jack Smith, the former CEO and Chairman of the Board of General Motors and a UMass Amherst alumnus. 

Center Associates achieved additional accolades. Professor Deniz Besik submitted a letter with testimony to Congress on food insecurity in the pandemic. Professor Pritha Dutta was interviewed by FOX on supply chain disruptions in the pandemic, and Professor Sara Saberi received a major NSF grant to help Massachusetts manufacturing prepare for future crises.

In addition, it was a great year - despite the pandemic - for the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, which I have served as the Faulty Advisor of since 2004. We hosted several panels as well as Dr. Mauricio Resende of Amazon and Dr. Robin Lougee, formerly of IBM in our Speaker Series! The chapter was recognized by INFORMS with the Cum Laude Award at the Annual Meeting in Anaheim. Mojtaba Salarpour, continued to serve as the Chapter President until September 2021, completing two years of exceptional service.

Plus, it was uplifting to be the invited Faculty Speaker at the UMass Amherst Chancellor's Donor Breakfast in November. The title of my presentation was: "From Supernetworks to Supply Chain in the Pandemic."

We continued to write OpEds, several of which were published in The Conversation, including my article on the shipping container, that appeared on September 21, 2021, and, to-date, has over 315,000 reads!

And, to show the research that we are engaged in, below I highlight some of our recent publications:

Supply Chain Networks, Wages, and Labor Productivity: Insights from Lagrange Analysis and Computations
Anna Nagurney, to appear in Journal of Global Optimization.

A Multiperiod Supply Chain Network Optimization Model with Investments in Labor Productivity Enhancements in an Era of COVID-19 and Climate Change
Anna Nagurney, accepted for publication in Operations Research Forum.

Optimization of Investments in Labor Productivity in Supply Chain Networks
Anna Nagurney, accepted for publication in International Transactions in Operational Research.

Wage-Dependent Labor and Supply Chain Networks in the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
Anna Nagurney, in press in Analysis, Geometry, Nonlinear Optimization and Applications, P.M. Pardalos and T. M. Rassias, Editors World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, October 2021.

Game Theory and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Anna Nagurney, in INFORMS TutORials in Operations Research, October 2021. Also presented at the INFORMS 2021 Annual Meeting.

Modeling of Covid-19 Trade Measures on Essential Products: A Multiproduct, Multicountry Spatial Price Equilibrium Framework
Anna Nagurney, Mojtaba Salarpour, and June Dong, International Transactions in Operational Research 29(1), 2022, pp 226-258.

A Multiclass, Multiproduct Covid-19 Convalescent Plasma Donor Equilibrium Model
Anna Nagurney and Pritha Dutta, Operations Research Forum 2, 31 (2021) Open Access on SpringerLink

Spatial Price Equilibrium, Perishable Products, and Trade Policies in the Covid-19 Pandemic
Anna Nagurney, Montes Taurus Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics 4(3), 2022, 9-24.

A Multicountry, Multicommodity Stochastic Game Theory Network Model of Competition for Medical Supplies Inspired by the Covid-19 Pandemic
Mojtaba Salarpour and Anna Nagurney, International Journal of Production Economics 235: (2021), 108074.

Optimization of Supply Chain Networks with Inclusion of Labor: Applications to COVID-19 Pandemic Disruptions
Anna Nagurney, International Journal of Production Economics 235: (2021) 108080.

Perishable Food Supply Chain Networks with Labor in the Covid-19 Pandemic
Anna Nagurney, Dynamics of Disasters - Impact, Risk, Resilience, and Solutions, I.S. Kotsireas, A. Nagurney, P.M. Pardalos, and A. Tsokas, Editors, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, 2021, pp 173-193.

Capacitated Human Migration Networks and Subsidization
Anna Nagurney, Patrizia Daniele, and Giorgia Cappello, Dynamics of Disasters - Impact, Risk, Resilience, and Solutions, I.S. Kotsireas, A. Nagurney, P.M. Pardalos, and A. Tsokas, Editors, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, 2021, pp 195-217.

Preface to Dynamics of Disasters Impact, Risk, Resilience, and Solutions, Ilias S. Kotsireas, Anna Nagurney, Panos M. Pardalos and Arsenios Tsokas, Editors, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, 2021, pp v-xii.

International Human Migration Networks Under Regulations
Anna Nagurney and Patrizia Daniele, European Journal of Operational Research 291(3): (2021), pp 894-905.

Networks in Economics and Finance in Networks and Beyond: A Half Century Retrospective
Anna Nagurney, written for the Special 50th Anniversary Issue of Networks, Networks 77(1): (2021), pp 50-65.