Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Very Excited About the IFORS Conference in Santiago (Where It Is Winter) and the Dynamics of Disasters Conference in Athens (Where It Is Summer)

Academics are quite good at conferencing and also in optimizing when it comes to packing, etc. Nevertheless, packing for essentially back to back conferences on different continents and seasons can be a challenge especially if the plan is to only have a single carryon as luggage.

In 2006, I spoke at successive conferences in Cyprus (Limassol), Iceland (Reykjavik), and then in Italy (Erice). Family members joined me in Iceland and brought some warm clothing since the temperature, while we were there and it was officially summer, never rose about 48 degrees F. Some reflections on packing for the stream of conferences.

Soon I will be flying to Athens, Greece for the Dynamics of Disasters conference that I co-organized, and then, via Madrid, to the IFORS Conference in Santiago, Chile.

I am thrilled to be delivering a keynote talk, entitled, "Agricultural Supply Chain Networks: From Trade to Resilience and How OR Can Help," at the IFORS Conference.

My keynote will highlight some of our research over the past decade on agricultural supply chain networks including recent work with collaborators in Ukraine. Information on this conference can be found here. I am very honored to be on the list of plenary and keynote speakers.

Also, at the IFORS conference, I'll be taking part in the "Meet the ITOR Editors" panel, which was organized by the outstanding Editor of the International Transactions in Operational Research (ITOR) journal Celso C. Ribeiro! Joining us on the panel is the previous President of IFORS Grazia Speranza and Mario Guajardo. ITOR recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with a special issue. I was delighted to have my tutorial paper on ``Fragile Networks," co-authored with Qiang "Patrick" Qiang included in this special issue. The tutorial paper was based on a tutorial that I gave at the ALIO INFORMS conference in Buenos Aires.

I am very much looking forward to seeing conferees from many continents at this IFORS conference, including my former Isenberg School of Management PhD student, Dmytro Matsypura, who will travel from Australia. He is Chair of the Business Analytics Department at the University of Sydney. The President of IFORS is now Janny Leung and she is traveling from Macao!

And, prior to the IFORS conference, I will be experiencing the warmth of a Mediterranean summer at the Dynamics of Disasters Conference. We have an outstanding lineup of plenary speakers and I thank them all for accepting our invitations. This is the 6th Dynamics of Disasters Conference! It was such a pleasure to work with Ilias S. Kotsireas, Panos M. Pardalos, and Chrys Vogiatzis on this conference.

My presentation at this conference will be on joint work with my PhD student Dana Hassani and colleagues in Ukraine at the Kyiv School of Economics: Oleg Nivievskyi and Pavlo Martyshev.

There is clearly and agricultural theme to my presentations at both these international conferences. In fact, at the Dynamics of Disasters one, we also a special Acknowledgment and Dedication.

Back to packing for the conferences with my new suitcase purchased after I wore out my favorite one!

Safe travels to all those heading to conferences!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Thrilled and Honored to be Working with Colleagues in Ukraine

With Russia's war on Ukraine ongoing and resulting in tremendous suffering and loss of lives as well as destruction, one must do what one can to support Ukrainians and those fighting for their freedom and democracy.

As a daughter of Ukrainian WWII refugees, whose first language is Ukrainian, and, as an educator, the partnership between the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) is forging outstanding connections across the miles during this very challenging period in history. The partnership is now supporting 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine, 9 of whom are placed with Isenberg School of Management faculty. 

I am thrilled and deeply honored to be working now with colleagues in Ukraine. I would like to specifically thank the Isenberg School Dean Anne P. Massey and the Director of the International Programs Office and Vice Provost for Global Affairs at UMass Amherst Kalpen Trivedi for their outstanding support in making this partnership a reality and having it flourish since its inception over a year ago! Kudos also to Provost Emeritus John McCarthy for his support and to all the members of the Task Force who worked on forging this partnership. Special thanks to the KSE Rector Tymofiy Brik for his great work in making this partnership happen and also for visiting us in person on May 3!

Below is a photo taken with Rector Brik and Provost Emeritus McCarthy after dinner on May 3.

Some of the research with colleagues in Ukraine is also engaging a PhD student of mine - Dana Hassani. At the forthcoming Dynamics of Disasters conference, which will take place July 3-6, 2023,  in Athens, Greece (and which I am also co-organizing), I will present our latest work, "Multicommodity International Agricultural Trade Network Equilibrium: Competition for Limited Production and Transportation Capacity Under Disaster Scenarios with Implications for Food Security," co-authored with Dana and with KSE colleagues Professor Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev.

Information on this conference is available here

This work builds on our paper, "Exchange Rates and Multicommodity International Trade: Insights from Spatial Price Equilibrium Modeling with Policy Instruments via Variational Inequalities," which was recently published in the Journal of Global Optimization. That paper was presented at the PanOptic Conference in honor of Professor Panos M. Pardalos held March 9 and 10 in Gainesville, Florida.

We heard yesterday the good news that the above paper has been accepted for presentation at the INFORMS conference in Phoenix and Dana Hassani will present it.

And, with Professor Elena Besedina of KSE, I have co-authored a paper, "A Multicommodity Spatial Price Equilibrium Model with Non-Tariff Measures for Agri-Food International Trade."

In addition, Professor Myroslava Kushnir of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv more recently joined our program and we are excited to be collaborating now with her on various supply chains of relevance in Ukraine in wartime.

Below, I have posted a group photo from the May 3 symposium at UMass Amherst which featured the Virtual Scholars from the Isenberg School and also those from the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass Amherst.

In the photo from l-r are: Professors Muzzo Uysal, Lauren McCarthy, Rector Brik, yours truly, Professors Ina Ganguli, Alicia Johnson, Vice Provost Kalpen Trivedi, and Professor Bogdan Prokopovych. More information about the Virtual Scholars and their Faculty Hosts at the Isenberg School can be found on this link.

This partnership has worked towards reducing brain drain from Ukraine, enhancing research as well as friendships, and has also provided important financial and emotional support. More such partnerships are needed to support higher education in Ukraine, now and during the recovery and reconstruction. 

A press release by UMass Amherst on the partnership is available here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

A Conference that Ended in a Standing Ovation, Thanks to WPI!

How often have you experienced a standing ovation at the end of a conference?

I must admit that I had, for the first time, such an experience on June 2, 2023, at the outstanding Innovations in Immigration Analytics Conference at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts. Kudos to the conference organizers: Dr. Geri Dimas (who will be an Assistant Professor at Bryant University, starting this Fall), and WPI Professors Andrew Trapp and Daniel Reichman.

The program, which can be viewed here, brought together faculty, practitioners, as well as students, who are very much engaged in issues of migration and immigration.

The format, consisting of individual presentations, lightning talks, as well as a panel, was excellent, and with coffee breaks and a delicious buffet lunch provided. And there were no registration fees!

The conference opened up with remarks by the WPI Provost Winston "Wole" Soboyejo, who set the stage for the importance of the issues and challenges that we discussed at the conference including: refugee resettlement, dynamic migrant flows and operational responses, matching refugees to employment opportunities, strategic border resource deployment challenges, and even the modeling of US immigration courts using discrete-event simulation.

My presentation was entitled, "Refugee Migration Networks with Regulations," and it has been posted on the Supernetwork Center site at the Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst

The presentation was based on a paper published in the Springer Nature Journal of Global Optimization and was co-authored by Professor Patrizia Daniele of the University of Catania and Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney of the University of Hartford. 

I also spoke in my presentation on recent work on investing in immigration to alleviate labor shortages in supply chains and coalition formation among countries to address migrant issues. The former topic is a chapter in my latest book, "Labor and Supply Chain Networks," with info on the book here.

The latter topic was explored in a recently published paper that I co-authored with Professors Passacantando and Raciti and is available open access!

It was terrific to meet conferees with the passion and focus to address one of the greatest challenges of our time with 103 million people around the world having been forced to leave their homes. I was deeply touched to hear, time and time again, Ukraine mentioned at this conference and the impacts of Russia's war on it, including by Dean Debora Jackson of the WPI Business School in her brilliant closing remarks. Research matters and making it accessible to organizations, nonprofits, and governments can create positive change and truly benefit humanity. 

Below, I have posted a collage of photos from the conference. 

Many thanks to the organizers: Dr. Geri Dimas and Professors Andrew Trapp and Daniel Reichman for bringing us together in such a warm and engaging event. Much work remains to be done but, together, we can accomplish much good and we will.

And for those who are interested in additional work of ours on human migration networks, a topic that we have been researching for several decades, have a look at my post.