TAKOMA PARK, MD (May 13)—Washington Adventist University associate professor and director of its Homeland Security program, presented at the international conference on "Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Sustainable Reconstruction" on May 8-9, 2014, hosted by the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters at University of Massachusetts Boston. Her presentation entitled, "Developing Faith-Based Partnerships: A Model for Building Disaster-Resilient Communities," was attended by more than 200 conference participants from five continents including academics, FEMA, American Red Cross, architects, planners, engineers, and policymakers.
"The horrific Boston marathon bombing and the resulting manhunt that shut down the cities of Boston and Watertown demonstrate that building disaster resilient communities is an integral part of emergency management," said Dr. Herma Percy. "Yet public and private emergency management partnerships designed to help communities rebound after attacks and disasters often are missing essential components to make efforts more effective. A key to efficiently assist communities in disaster recovery is to build a more effective partnership with the local faith community," said Percy.
The two day conference brought together some of the world's top experts in disaster planning and response to examine best practices and share lessons learned to reduce the socio-economic impact of various forms of disasters on communities.
"Unfortunately, natural disasters will be more frequent with climate change and increasing urbanization. We need to consider the solutions necessary to avoid, mitigate, and recover from these disasters that disproportionally affect vulnerable populations," said Dr. Herma Percy in her challenge to practitioners. "All of this speaks to our core mission and academic program at WAU and the leadership role we play in faith-based partnerships to address the most daunting challenges of our times."
Percy represented Washington Adventist University amongst scholars from Harvard University, Northeastern University, Roger Williams University, University of Maryland University College, University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia Southern University, Auburn University, Arizona State University, California Polytechnic State University, Drury University, Howard University and other universities in the United States. International panelists from around the world, including China, Haiti, Iraq, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Canada, Chile, England, and Thailand, discussed risk reduction and response to natural disasters from floods to earthquakes and health-related disasters like malaria outbreaks.
The conference included 11 sessions with more than 90 panelists. Keynote speakers included leaders from the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction, and the British Consulate in New England and American Institute of Architects who spoke on "Disaster Risk Reduction."
Dr. Percy has been invited to speak at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute in June 2014.
Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, email@example.com
Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County's only four-year private college. Part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. A total of 1,050 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.