Plenary Speakers


Founder and President, Beirut Marathon Association, Beirut, Lebanon

May El Khalil is the Founder and President of the Beirut Marathon Association. The Beirut Marathon Association oversees the annual Beirut International Marathon, which has been held every autumn since 2003 and was accredited by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) in 2009. In 2015, the race and social movement attracted over 38,000 runners from 104 countries. After suffering a near-fatal accident that placed her in a coma, Mrs. El Khalil founded the marathon to help mend divisions in Lebanon.  She wanted to shift the focus from that which divides the Lebanese people, and bring them together to celebrate that which they have in common—their love for exercise and their relationships with friends and family. Mrs. El Khalil has been recognized for her work nationally and internationally; she has received the AIPS Power of Sport Award in Lausanne, and the Laureus sports for Good award in 2011. Mrs. El Khalil spoke at the TED global conference in Edinburgh Scotland in 2013.  There she shared the Beirut Marathon Association’s story with an international audience, and she explained that she founded the largest running event in the Middle East as an instrument of peace through sports. The assertion she made in her talk was that “peacemaking was not a sprint, but a marathon”, meaning that this kind of endeavor was a long race that requires commitment, endurance, and optimal belief in the ultimate goal. For May this optimum goal is peace and prosperity for her country, as she still runs her figurative Marathon towards that goal. 


Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences, United Nations Educational, Scientific amd Cultural Organization UNESCO, Paris France

Flavia Schlegel took up her duties as Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences at UNESCO on 1 October 2014. In 2008, appointed as Director of Swissnex China and Vice-Consul General based in Shanghai, she was responsible for overseeing the establishment of Swissnex in China, a transdisciplinary institute for Science, Technology, Innovation and Culture. She also served as the Science Counselor for the United States and Canada with the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington D.C. and as Vice-Director and Member of the Executive Board of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. She is the holder of a Medical Doctorate and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development.


Research Engineer, Community Resilience Program, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Stephen Cauffman is a research engineer with the Community Resilience Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The program is developing science-based tools to measure resilience at the community-scale and guidance on planning and implementing measures to improve resilience. The Community Resilience Program ( produced the Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems and the Community Resilience Economic Decision Support Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems. The Program has also established the Community Resilience Panel, composed of a broad group of stakeholders to identify and address gaps in knowledge, guidance, and standards to enhance community resilience. The program is supported by the NIST-funded Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning, a ten-institution team led by Colorado State University ( Mr. Cauffman previously served as the program manager for the World Trade Center Investigation, led NIST’s study of the performance of structures following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and was a member of the team that studied the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys Practice Facility. He has served as leader of the Structures Group and as Deputy Chief and Acting Chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division.

Nour-Eddine BOUTAYEB

Wali Secretary General, Ministry of the Interior, Rabat, Morocco

Born in 1957, M. Nour-Eddine Boutayeb currently serves as Wali-Secretary General at the Ministry of the Interior of the Kingdom of Morocco. He is a graduated engineer from the Ecole Centrale (1979), the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (1981), and holds an MBA from the Ecole Nationale des Points et Chaussées (2001).   M. Boutayeb started his career as a works engineer for the Mohammedia  Port at the Ministry of Equipment in Morocco (1981-1982), and as a project engineer for Coyne and Bellier in Paris (1982-1983). He also worked for the Société Maghrébine d’Ingénieurie (INGEMA), for which he served as Deputy Director General (1988-2003) and Managing Director General for one of its subsidiary Creative Technologies SA (2000-2003).   M. Boutayeb joined the Ministry of the Interior in 2003, as Director for Rural Affairs. He was named by HM. King Mohammed VI Wali - General Director for Local Authorities in 2006, and Wali – Secretary General of the Ministry of the Interior in 2010.   M. Boutayeb is also a Supervisory Board member for several institutions, such as Crédit Agricole of Morocco Bank, Marchica Med Port Authority, Nador West Port Authority.

Esther BAUR

Director, Global Partnerships, Swiss Re, Zurich, Switzerland

Esther Baur is a Senior Client Manager for the EMEA region in Swiss Re’s Global Partnership team. The group focuses on building and deepening relationships with the public sector, governments, and NGOs to develop innovative insurance solutions which help society create effective responses to major risks, such as natural catastrophes, agriculture production, infrastructure financing and longevity risk. From 2007 to 2011, she was a director in Communications, leading the Issue Management & Messages team responsible for steering the corporate position and creating communication strategies on key global topics, such as natural disasters, climate change, and food security, advising business leaders on stakeholder relations and global platforms, and producing numerous publications.

Prior to that, she led the Issue Management team at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue and organized various stakeholder conferences. From 2001 to 2005, she was a Senior Strategy Manager in the Group’s Strategy Development department. Esther Baur joined Swiss Re’s Economic Research & Consulting department in 1992, where she held various positions in Zurich, New York, and Latin America.

Esther holds a degree in Economics from University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance, and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend.

Tarzisius CAVIEZEL

Mayor of the City of Davos, Switzerland

In 1982, Tarzisius Caviezel founded the company Elektro Caviezel AG in Davos which today is part of the Burkhalter Group. From 1997 to 2007 he was the CEO of the Burkhalter Group and stayed in the Group’s management board until 2012. From 2007 to 2011 Tarzisius Caviezel represented the Canton of Grisons in the Swiss National Council as National Councillor. Besides this, he worked as an independent businessman. He chaired the management board of the Hockey Club Davos for eight years and is in the board of directors of the Swiss railway company RhB since 2010. Since January 2013, he is the governing mayor of Davos.


Director of the JRC Directorate E: Space, Security and Migration, European Commission, Ispra, Italy

Dan Chirondojan is Director of the Knowledge Production Directorate for Space, Security and Migration in the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, its in-house scientific service. The mission of the Directorate is to focus on aspects regarding emergency preparedness, disaster risk management, cyber security, data protection, space infrastructures as well as study of migration. Prior to that, for five years he was Director of the Ispra Site Management in JRC, being responsible for the management of infrastructure and services for the site of Ispra, Italy (the third largest site of the Commission). Before joining the European Commission, he spent 17 years in the private telecommunications sector in Romania, being in charge with operations and development of the infrastructure associated with the radio and fixed networks, business continuity planning, security risk assessment and crisis management. Between 1997 and 2001, he held various positions in the Romanian public administration in the area of ICT regulations, regional implementation of Government policies and civil protection. Mr. Chirondojan holds a degree as Engineer in Electronics and Telecommunications, at Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania and an MBA in "Economies in Transition and Managing Global Companies", at Vienna University of Economics and Business - WU Wien, Austria.


Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Ispra, Italy 

Brian Doherty is responsible for the technical development of the Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC) of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. He is also responsible for the development of the Early Alerting and Reporting Platform (EAR) of the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI), a collaboration of the G7 health ministries, the European Commission and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to monitor open source information related to global health threats and to assess the riskS associated with detected incidents. He also leads the team developing the EIOS system, shortly to commence development as a partnership between the JRC and World Health Organisation (WHO). Brian has a degree in engineering from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and a Master Degree in Optical Data Recording from the University of Keele.


Chief Compliance Officer, Hilti Corporation, Schaan, Liechtenstein

As Chief Compliance Officer of the Hilti Corporation in Liechtenstein, Gernot Dresch is since 2011 responsible for the global Compliance Management System. He worked from 2003 to 2011 in legal functions in the E.ON Group in Germany with focus on compliance, antitrust and energy law.


Director Resilience, National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security, Ministry of Security and Justice, The Hague, Netherlands

Paul Gelton was born in 1964 in the Netherlands in the city of Schiedam, near Rotterdam. After finishing High School in 1982, Paul joined the Royal Netherlands Navy. He followed the Naval Officers Curriculum at the Royal Naval Institute in Den Helder. He was appointed naval officer in 1985 and served as deck officer on board frigates and minesweepers for two years. In 1988 he followed the air-navigator course at Naval Air Station Valkenburg. In the following six years he served as tactical coordinator and aircraft commander on board the maritime patrol aircraft P3C Orions at 320(NL) Squadron. In this period he served in several military missions in former Yugoslavia and the Middle East and led numerous search and rescue operations. Since 1993 he holds a MSc-degree in management engineering at Eindhoven University (specialized in maintenance management). In 1995 he started a civil career as Head of the Maritime Meteorological Services at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. For three years he was responsible for maritime safety information, such as storm surge and flood warnings. He changed position in 1998 to Head of Engineering within the Ministry of Traffic and Water Management. There he was responsible for the safe design of regional highways In 2003 he took position as Head of the Policy Department of the Netherland Shipping Inspectorate, where he was appointed Director-Chief Inspector Marine and Fisheries in 2005. In this position he was responsible for the safety of the Dutch merchant and fishery fleet. Within the same ministry in 2009 he was appointed Director Rail and Road Transport at the Inspectorate for Transport and Environment. For over three years he was responsible for supervision on safety of the national rail network and the safety of commercial road transport including taxi-services. Since 2012 Paul Gelton serves as Director Resilience at the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Safety (NCTV) in the Ministry of Security and Justice. Paul is married and has two sons.


Head, Sendai Framework Monitoring Unit, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Geneva, Switzerland

Marc Gordon is the Head of the Sendai Framework Monitoring Unit in the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). He coordinates the biennial review by States of progress in implementing the Sendai Framework, as well as the technical inputs of the Secretariat to both the intergovernmental work of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Expert Working Group on Indicators and Terminology relating to Disaster Risk Reduction (OEIWG), and the Inter-agency Expert Group on SDGs Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). He is a contributing author to the Global Assessment Report for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), manages and coordinates UNISDR relations with the OECD, the G20 and G7, and chairs the Working Group on Metrics and Indicators for Insurance and Resilience of the Insurance Development Forum (IDF).

From 2006 – 2012 he established and led the UNISDR Donor and Business Partnerships Unit. Prior to this, he was the Manager of the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Programme (DIPECHO) - South East Asia of the European Commission, operating out of Bangkok. From 1997-2003, he served in various capacities from Country Director to Emergency Officer, with both the United Nations & the International Non-Governmental sector in conflict, complex emergencies, political and chronic crises. Relevant field experience includes Cambodia, DR Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Rep. Guinea, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, E. Timor and VietNam.

Having spent the early part of his career developing multi-disciplinary intervention strategies to respond to the needs of vulnerable populations in fragile states and other situations of instability, since 2003 he has been working to proactively build the resilience of societies, systems and individuals to shocks (current and future), through a better understanding and management of disaster risk. He has extensive experience in supporting and navigating political agenda, and has an extensive track record in building partnerships, whether with community members, public institutions at all levels, or global policy change agents, business and industry. He completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies in business and water resources management, and has written and presented on public investment and international policy for risk management.

Pascal HANS

Senior Manager, Business Integrity & Corporate Compliance , Ernst & Young Ltd, Zurich, Switzerland

a. Pascal Hans is currently working as a Senior Manager in EY´s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services, Corporate Compliance Services Team (FIDS). Pascal is based in Zürich and focuses on advising and auditing compliance management programs for international corporations. He has worked on projects in more than 20 countries and one of his focus areas is in auditing compliance management programs designed for the risk areas anti-corruption and anti-trust. Prior to joining EY in Zürich he was based at EY in Düsseldorf and Stuttgart (Germany).


General Manager, Tohoku Branch, Wellthy Corporation, Sendai, Japan

Joined Development Bank of Japan Inc.(DBJ) in 1989, Mr. Tadao Hasue worked for supporting regional development in Japan by not only financing to development projects but also planning and research for industrial or urban development issues. He has particularly focused on public-private partnership projects. He experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 when he worked at his office in Sendai city. He co-wrote the research and proposal report “Directions in Region-wide Recovery in Tohoku from the Great East Japan Earthquake” with his junior colleague Ms.Kumi Onuma in 2013, and made efforts to the establishment of “Tohoku Alliance” in 2014 when he was the Deputy General Manager of the Tohoku branch of DBJ. The alliance is a platform for collaboration of multi-stakeholders such as local governments, universities, private sector companies, international organizations concerned to disaster prevention or recovery. He became the General Manager of the Tohoku branch of the Wellthy Corporation which is one of the members of the Tohoku Alliance in 2015. He has continuously engaged in the activities with diverse entities to support the pre-disaster preparations, post-disaster recovery and revitalization of multi-sectors in the Tohoku region.

Christian HAUSER

Professor, Business Economics and International Management, Swiss Institute for Entrepreneurship (SIFE), University of Applied Sciences HTW, Chur, Switzerland

Dr Christian Hauser is Professor of Business Economics and International Management at the Swiss Institute for Entrepreneurship (SIFE) at the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur. He studied Latin American Studies at the Universities of Cologne/Germany, Lisbon/Portugal, and Fortaleza/Brazil. He is co-founder and member of the advisory board of the junior enterprise Connosco, Cologne, and co-founder and co-organizer of the Cologne Latin America Symposium (CLAS). In 2006, he earned his doctorate in economics on foreign trade promotion schemes at the Faculty of Management, Economics, and Social Studies at the University of Cologne. During his doctoral study, he worked at the Centre for the Portuguese Speaking World at the University of Cologne. In 2006, he joined the Institute for SME Research (IfM) Bonn as a postdoctoral research associate. Since July 2007, he has been working at the SIFE on topics including international entrepreneurship, SME and private sector development, corporate responsibility and business integrity. Dr Hauser is a member of the topical platform Ethics of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW). He is a member of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Working Group on Anti-Corruption and head of the first PRME Business Integrity Action Center in Europe. PRME is the academic branch of the United Nations Global Compact (GC).

Takuya ITO

Consultants, Pacific Consultants Co., Ltd. and Co-Researcher, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

Mr. Ito is currently working at International Research Institute of Disaster Statistics (IRIDeS), Tohoku University as a co-researcher and involved in the Global Centre for Disaster Statistics, a joint program with UNDP plus, involved in organizing an international forum on DRR in Sendai planned to be organized in 2017. He is a assigned researcher from Pacific Consultants Co.,Ltd, a development consultant firm in Japan. His profession is in DRR infrastructure and planning and was involved in the recovery project in Tacloban city, Philippines after the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

Yukimoto ITO

Vice Mayor, Sendai City, Sendai, Japan

Mr. Yukimoto Ito became the vice mayor of the City of Sendai in April 2010. He has engaged in economic, environmental and international exchange policies, and the project for utilization of National Strategic Special Zones. He also served as a general director of Sendai Committee for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai on March 2011. Prior to his current post, he was a general manager, Tohoku Branch, Development Bank of Japan. He has over 30 years business experiences at the Development Bank of Japan. He served in a variety of posts, including general manager of Business Restructuring Department and general manager of Information & Telecommunications department


Counsellor, Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate, OECD, Paris, France

Mr. Jacobzone co-ordinates the OECD activities on Public Governance and Risk at the OECD, including a leading role in coordinating the High Level Risk Forum (HLRF), which led the ground-breaking OECD Principles on the Governance of Critical Risks in 2014. The High Level Risk Forum conducts a range of thematic and country based activities, through peer reviews, analytical work and indicators, in coordination with other international organisations. Mr. Jacobzone also co-ordinated the OECD 2015 Public Governance Ministerial Meeting held in Helsinki. He previously worked on strategic agility in the public sector, regulatory policy and reviews, and the governance of sectoral regulators. Mr. Jacobzone has previous experience in health policy, welfare, public finance and social affairs matters and began his carrier at the French Treasury.


Co-founder and Chairman, Global Climate Forum, and Professor, Potsdam University, Potsdam, Germany

Carlo C. Jaeger is an economist working on global systems, in particular on the role of financial markets in addressing – or exacerbating – the problem of climate change. He is co-founder and chairman of the Global Climate Forum, Professor at Potsdam University, Germany and the Beijing Normal University (BNU), China, where he has been appointed as an outstanding foreign expert to the Chinese government. Jaeger’s current research is focused on problems of global coordination, especially in view of sustainable development.


Philip D. and Eleanor G. Winn Professor for Children and Youth at Risk, University of Denver, USA

Professor Jeff Jenson is the Philip D. and Eleanor G. Winn Professor for Children and Youth at Risk. His research focuses on the application of a public health approach to preventing child and adolescent health and behavior problems and on the evaluation of preventive interventions aimed at promoting positive youth development. Jenson has published seven books and more than 100 articles and chapters on topics of prevention and child and adolescent development. His research has appeared in leading journals, such as Prevention Science and the Journal of Adolescent Health. His 2014 book (with K. Bender), Preventing child and adolescent problem behavior: Evidence-based strategies in schools, families, and communities (Oxford University Press) is a comprehensive review of empirical evidence pertaining to the efficacy of preventive interventions for children and youth. Jenson’s book (with M. Fraser), Social policy for children and families: A risk and resilience perspective, reviews current and promising public policies focused on social and health problems ranging from child abuse and disabilities to mental health and poverty. Widely adopted, Social policy for children and families received the 2008 Best Edited Book Award from the Society for Research on Adolescence. Jenson is the recipient of the Aaron Rosen Award from the Society for Social Work and Research and the Distinguished Scholar and University Lecturer awards from the University of Denver. He is a former editor-in-chief of the journal Social Work Research and, in 2016, was named editor of the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research. Jenson is a former board member of the Society for Social Work and Research and is currently treasurer of the Society for Prevention Research. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and the Society for Social Work and Research.

Susan P. KEMP

Charles O. Cressey Endowed Professor, University of Washington School of Social Work, Seattle, USA

Susan P. Kemp PhD is Charles O. Cressey Endowed Professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work. Her scholarly interests focus on place and environment as foci of social work practice, community-based and community-engaged services, public child welfare, and social work history. Her current work centers on questions related to urban environments, marginalized populations, and spatial justice, including social work’s early history of urban environmental activism. She is co-author of Person-Environment Practice: The Social Ecology of Interpersonal Helping (Kemp, Whittaker & Tracy: Aldine de Gruyter, 1997), and co-editor of The Paradox of Urban Space: Inequality and Transformation in Marginalized Communities (Sutton and Kemp: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and Communities, Neighborhoods, and Health: Expanding the Boundaries of Place (Burton, Kemp, Leung, Matthews and Takeuchi: Springer, 2011). A founding Steering Committee member of Urban@UW, a transdisciplinary hub for urban research and practice, she also co-leads the UW Cities Collaboratory, a research and teaching laboratory for the study of multiple dimensions of cities and urban processes.


Head of Neurology and Neurorehabilitation, Rehabilitation Centre Valens and member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Switzerland

Jürg Kesselring was elected to the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 2011. He is Chairman of the Board of the ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled. Member of the Recruitment and Remuneration Commission. Member of the Florence Nightingale Medal Commission.Jürg Kesselring was born in 1951. He is head of the Department of Neurology & Neurorehabilitation at Valens Rehabilitation Centre in Switzerland, as well as Professor of Clinical Neurology and Neurorehabilitation at Bern University Hospital, lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), President of the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Society, former Chairman of the International Medical and Scientific Board of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) and Chairman of the World Health Organization Working Group on Multiple Sclerosis. He was Former ICRC medical delegate to Lebanon, Pakistan and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Thomas R. LOSTER

Chairman Munich Re Foundation, Munich, Germany

Thomas R. Loster, a geographer, was a member of the Geoscience Research Group at Munich Reinsurance Company, Munich, the world’s leading reinsurance company, for 16 years. He was in charge of research relating to weather perils, climate change and climate policy. His responsibilities also included the statistical analyses of worldwide natural catastrophes and trend analyses. Mr. Loster was appointed chairman of the Munich Re Foundation in July 2004. The Foundation addresses major global challenges, environmental and climate change, water as a resource and risk factor, population growth and disaster prevention and is committed to helping people exposed to risk situations. True to its motto “From Knowledge To Action,” the Foundation aims to prepare people to deal with risks and to  minimise them. The GRF and UNISDR Munich Re Foundation award a huge prize, the RISK Award, for projects improving risk prevention.

Barbara MAURER

Legal Advisor, International Investment and Multinational Enterprises Division, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Bern, Switzerland

Barbara Maurer is a Legal Advisor at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), International Investment and Multinational Enterprises Division. She is also a member of the Swiss delegation to the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions. Prior to this current position, she worked as Legal Advisor at the Political Division, International Affairs, at the Federal Office of Transport in Switzerland. She has also worked in various capacities with the UN in Madagascar and Haiti. She studied law at the Universities of Zurich and Lausanne and holds Master degrees in European Law and in Human Rights from the University Carlos III in Madrid.


Legal Advisor, Somedia Publishing AG, Chur, Switzerland

Rene Mehrmann started his journalistic career at local Radio Station «Radio Gonzen» in Buchs/Switzerland back in the Ninties. After a 3-year-stint in the US as a freelance correspondent for several Swiss and German Radio Stations and Swiss Newspapers he returned to Switzerland in 2000 to take over the post as Deputy-Editor-in-Chief of Swiss Newspaper «Die Südostschweiz». Since the beginning of 2016 he is Project Manager Media at Somedia Publishing Ltd, in Chur/Switzerland, the company publishing «Die Südostschweiz». In his new role he is responsible for the development and implementation of the integrated Newsroom.

Konrad P. MEYER

Board Member, Transparency International Switzerland and Counsel Blum&Grob Attorneys at Law, Zurich, Switzerland

Trainee and law clerk with the District Couert of Uster (1982-1987); Substitute judge with the District Court of Uster (1985-1987); Associate with a business law firm in Zurich (1987-1988); Human ressources manager Nixdorf Computer AG, Switzerland (1988); General Counsel Nixdorf Computer AG, Switzerland (1988-1990); General Counsel and Member of the Executive board Siemens Nixdorf AG, Switzerland (1990-1993); General Counsel Legal & Compliance and Member of the Executive Board Siemens Schweiz AG (1994-2006); Lecturer University of Lausanne UNIL (LL.M. Program) (2007- ); General Counsel Legal & Compliance Siemens Southwest Europe and member of the Executive Board (2007-2015); Partner with Meyer Waffenschmidt & Associates GmbH, Busniness Consultants (2015- ); Lecturer University of Zurich (LL.M. Program) (2015- ); Group General Counsel Panolin Group, Switzerland (2015- )


Chief Resilience Officer of the City of Rotterdam, Netherlands

Arnoud Molenaar is the Chief Resilience Officer of the City of Rotterdam. After attending the University of Utrecht, graduating in Physical Geography, he started his career with several ambitious trainee posts and jobs in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands. As deputy head of the Rotterdam Water Management Department he was responsible for Rotterdam’s urban water management and the Waterplan2. In 2008 he was appointed Manager of the ambitious Rotterdam Climate Proof program. In this context he initiated the international Connecting Delta Cities network as part of the C40, became regional coordinator within the Dutch research program Knowledge for Climate and was responsible for the design and implementation of the Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy. He successfully led the City of Rotterdam towards a leading position on innovative urban water management and climate adaptation, which resulted in 2013 in a European Peer City status. Arnoud is first editor of the third Connecting Delta Cities book Resilient Cities and Climate Adaptation Strategies which was launched early 2014, he also was member of the Steering Committee of the international conference Deltas in times of Climate Change 2014. In September 2014 he has been appointed as Chief Resilient Officer at the City of Rotterdam supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Most recently the Rotterdam Center for resilient Delta Cities was launched under his leadership. May 2016 Arnoud launched Rotterdam’s first Resilience Strategy. June 2016 he was appointed as knowledge ambassador for the City of Rotterdam.


Departement Entrepreneurial Management, University of Constance, Germany

Ruth Nieffer studied Sociology, History, Art and Media Science at the University of Constance. She is holding a master degree in Sociology (M.A.). While working for several Non-profit organizations she completed a training program in Vocational and Adult Education (Swiss Federation for Adult Learning). She also finished a Master of Advanced Studies Program in Business Psychology at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Northeastern Switzerland. Ruth Nieffer works as a project leader and researcher at the Swiss Institute for Entrepreneurship (SIFE) at the University of Applied Sciences Eastern Switzerland at Chur. Her research interest focuses in Business Integrity, Corruption in SME and Anti-Corruption/Compliance-Training. She teaches basics in Psychology and Communication and the module Ethics in the bachelor degree program in Business Administration.


Executive Director of Research, Japan Center for Area Development Research, Tokyo, Japan

Dr Nishikawa joined Japanese Government service in 1982 and has held various positions in the Japanese Government, UN, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and International Organizations, such as Senior Disaster Relief Coordination Officer at UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, where he coordinated international assistance to numerous disaster stricken countries. He was the Executive Director of the Asian Disaster Reduction Center, Director at the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan. At the wake of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, he coordinated the Japanese Government technical assistance to the affected countries. He hosted and coordinated the 2005 UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction. He initiated the long term regional recovery planning for Tohoku after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. He was a member of the Advisory Group to the UN SRSG for DRR on the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Global Platform. From 2013 to 2015, he served as Vice-president, Japan Water Agency. He is active in numerous JICA technical assistance programs for DRR, and is presently the chair of the JICA Technical Support Committee for the Reconstruction in Nepal.

Yuichi ONO

Assistant Director and Professor, International and Regional Cooperation Office Disaster Information Management and Public Collaboration Division International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

Yuichi completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Utsunomiya University, Japan. He received a Ph.D. in Geography at Kent State University in 2001. He conducted research on tornado disaster risk reduction in the U.S.A., Japan, and Bangladesh. During 2002-03, he worked for the World Meteorological Organization and contributed to developing a disaster risk reduction programme and emergency response mechanism when hydrometeorological disasters occur in the WMO’s member countries. During 2003-09, he worked for the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. He contributed to organize the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan in 2005. He assisted developing the International Early Warning Programme and helped manage the ISDR Scientific and Technical Committee as well. Following the Sumatra Tsunami in 2004, he helped develop the Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System. During 2009-12, he worked for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP in Bangkok) as Chief of the Disaster Risk Reduction Section, providing a regional platform for cooperation and policy-making for disaster risk reduction, with particular attention to developing countries and vulnerable groups. ESCAP has an intergovernmental process in disaster risk reduction with its 62 member countries. He proposed to develop disaster statistics in the Asia and Pacific region based on official sources. In November, 2012, he became a professor of the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University, located in Sendai, Japan. His main role is to promote scientific and technical research outcomes of the IRIDeS and bring them to international policy making processes. He currently acts as an Assistant Director of the IRIDeS, a chair of the Multi-Hazard Program of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, and a Director of the Global Centre for Disaster Statistics, which is a joint programme with UNDP.


Head, Security Technology Assessment Unit,European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra

Georg Peter, born in 1959 in Frankfurt, Germany, holds a degree as Mechanical Engineer and a Ph.D. in nuclear safety. He joined the European Commission in 1989 as research engineer in the Joint Research Center in Ispra analysing accident scenarios in nuclear power plants and in hydrocarbon facilities by developing and applying complex computer simulation models. After having been responsible for the Safety & Security Unit of the JRC Ispra site, he was appointed as Head of the Security Technology Assessment Unit in the Institute of the Protection and Security of the Citizen, dealing with the protection of critical infrastructures in Europe, advanced radio signal processing, hazards in chemical industry and quantum technology.


First Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Resources of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Sulton Rahimov is First Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Resources of Tajikistan. He has an education as hydraulic engineer and jurist. He started his professional career as an engineer in the Nurek HPP, the world's highest dam project. Sulton Rahimov was a former Chairman of the Executive Committee of IFAS involved in disaster risk reduction in Central Asia and is well familiar with the water, energy and environment problems of this region. Being the Head of the Ecology and Emergency Department at the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan he has gained great experience and expertise in the area of disaster risk reduction planning and policies. In his present assignment, as Deputy Minister of Land Reclamation and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan, he is mainly engaged in flood management issues. In 2007 Sulton Rahimov was a member of the International Steering Committee of the 1st Asia-Pacific Water Summit (December 3-4, 2007, Beppu, Japan) and since May 2010 he is a member of the Advisory Panel of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on water issues.


American Humane Endowed Chair, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, USA

Professor Andreas Rechkemmer is the American Humane Endowed Chair at the Graduate School of Social Work. Prior to his appointment at the University of Denver, Dr. Rechkemmer held senior positions with the United Nations, including that of Executive Director of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change at the United Nations University. He also served as Chief Science and Policy Advisor of the Global Risk Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His previous academic appointments and affiliations include the University of Cologne, Free University of Berlin, Beijing Normal University, Colorado State University and the United Nations University. Rechkemmer's research interests include global sustainable development and social-ecological justice; holistic and interdisciplinary perspectives on resilience, including human individuals and communities, as well as ecosystems and the broader environment; the emerging "One Health" paradigm connecting the health and well-being of humans with that of animals and the environment; and the interface of sustainability, social development and human security. He was principal investigator of various funded projects and managed grants from major science fun-ders, including the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Research Council of Norway and the Federal Government of Germany. Rechkemmer has authored, co-authored and edited several books as well as numerous articles and chapters. He is the editor of UNEO – Towards an International Environment Organization (2005) and serves as the chief editor of the United Nations and Global Change book series. He was awarded the Scheffel Prize for excellence in writing in 1985.

Nikhil SETH

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Director, UNITAR, Geneva, Switzerland

On 8 June 2015, Mr. Nikhil Seth was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as UN Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. Before assuming the post of the UNITAR Executive Director, Nikhil Seth was the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. In this role he served as head of the Rio+20 secretariat and of the secretariat for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, spearheading the preparations for these conferences in Rio, Brazil, and Apia, Samoa. He was also closely engaged in coordinating and advancing their follow-up. Mr. Seth’s Division was also responsible for supporting the intergovernmental negotiations for the post-2015 development agenda, which was adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 in September 2015.

Peijun SHI

Professor, Executive Vice-President, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

Professor Peijun Shi is executive vice-president of Beijing Normal University. He is a member of the Expert Committee under the National Disaster Reduction Committee, housed in Ministry of Civil Affairs of China and also a member of OECD’s High Level Advisory Board on Financial Management of Large‐Scale Catastrophes. He has taken charge with more than 40 national or ministerial programs successively, published nearly 200 papers, 15 monographs, and obtained national and ministerial awards for more than 20 times. Recently, he is undertaking a National Key Technologies R&D Program – Key technologies and demonstration of integrated risk governance, and four other programs. He ever gave scientific & technological information lectures and consultations to leader of State Council three times, and offer consultation for central and local governments. His research productions were widely adopted for the decision-making of central and local governments. His research focuses on natural disaster theories and risk management.


Founder and Director, Center for Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness (DEEP Center), University of Miami School of Medicine - ‎University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, USA

James M. Shultz MS, PhD is Director, Center for Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness (DEEP Center) and Senior Fellow, Comprehensive Drug Research Center, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida. He is Professor, Master of Public Health Program, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. Dr. Shultz is Editor-in-Chief for the peer-reviewed journal Disaster Health and the Oxford Handbook of Complex Disaster Risks and Resilience. He is directing global mental health programs internationally with vulnerable populations. He directs a variety of disaster behavioral health training programs and has presented throughout the United States, Canada, and worldwide. He is conducting research and publishing on the themes of disaster behavioral health, and complex disaster risks and resilience. Dr. Shultz received his MS in Health Behavior Research and his PhD in Behavioral Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota.

Charles W. STEGER

President emeritus of Virginia Tech and executive director of the university’s Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience (GFURR), Blacksburg, USA

Under Dr. Steger’s leadership, Virginia Tech charted a course to be among the nation’s premier research universities. He is a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects and received the 2004 Compass Award from the New Century Technology Council. Among numerous other awards, he received the 2009 Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, District III, and the 2010 Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Dr. Steger is a proud alumnus of Virginia Tech, where he studied architecture and earned his Ph.D. in engineering. As executive director of the Global Forum, he continues to lead Virginia Tech and partner organizations in developing an expanded knowledge base on infrastructural resilience.

Shinichi TAKEDA

Head, Disaster Prevention/Education Section, Kahoku Shimpo Publishing Co., Sendai, Japan

Mr. Takeda is the Head of the Disaster Prevention/Education Section of the Kahoku Shimpo Publishing Co. a local press based in Sendai, providing 520,000 copies every day, mainly to the Tohoku Region. Disaster Prevention/Education Section is a unique section which was newly organized this year, to focus on disaster education as a local newspaper. After the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, although the company itself was heavily affected, they kept on publishing the newspaper and provided information to the people affected by the disaster. Mr. Takeda was the director of the news department when the disaster happened, and lead the reporting from the affected areas. He was then continuously involved in reporting the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami as an editorial leader. The experience of losing nearly 200,000 people in the Tohoku Region urged him to enhance the activities of disaster education carried out by a local press. Reflecting on the wide and shallow education before the disaster, he has started a workshop called “Musubi-jyuku” to conduct a more narrow and deep education in communities.


General Director, Seine Grands Lacs, Paris, France

Regis THEPOT, born in 1953, has a 30 years’ experience in water and river management. He holds qualification in civil engineering, superior studies in urban and land use planning, as in applied geology. In 2009 he took up the position of general director of the public Seine river organization (in charge of flood prevention and of low water support in the Paris area). He was before at the head of Etablissement Public Loire (public river organization gathering communities and local authorities at the basin scale) during 12 years. In the 80’s he was much involved in the conflicts about dam construction on the Loire and was one the actors of Plan Loire (an integrated river master plan for the Loire). He was also at the initiative and general delegate, between 1995 and 2004 and 2011 and 2012, of the French organization « AFEPTB » whose goal is to facilitate exchange of knowledge and experience between public authorities in charge of river basins all around the country.


Deputy-Mayor, City of Davos, Davos, Switzerland

Simi Valaer was elected as deputy-mayor to the government of the City of Davos in 2013. Before he was part of the parliament of Davos.

Gary WEI

Deputy Managing Director, Swiss Reinsurance Ltd., Beijing, China

Gary Wei, based in Beijing, is Deputy Managing Director at Swiss Reinsurance Company. He is responsible for Swiss Re Group’s public sector risk business in the China region, including research, design, launch, promotion, and transaction of financial and fiscal risk insurance business in connection with natural disasters. The aim is to provide society and the economy with scientific, systematic and effective financing mechanisms for dealing with disasters. Wei Gang has previously worked for transnational insurance companies, reinsurance companies, insurance brokerage companies, and universities in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney. He has been engaged in management, technological and academic work and specialises in risk hedging mechanisms, including catastrophe insurance, risk modelling, actuarial issues, capital market risk transfer tools, dynamic financial analysis models, and mergers and acquisitions of insurance companies.

James Herbert WILLIAMS

Professor and Distinguished Emil M. Sunley Endowed Chair and Dean Emeritus, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, USA

James Herbert Williams, PhD., is Professor and Distinguished Emil M. Sunley Endowed Chair and Dean Emeritus at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. He previously served as Dean and Milton Morris Endowed Chair at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. He holds his MSW from Smith College, MPA from the University of Colorado and PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Washington. James Herbert’s research, publications, training, and community services focus on human security and economic sustainability, health promotion and disease prevention, behavioral health disparities and health equity, global practice and sustainable development, adolescent violence and substance use, mental health services for African American children in urban schools, disproportionate minority confinement of African American youth in the juvenile justice system, school safety and violence prevention, and community strategies for positive youth development.  His scholarship has been published in several prominent health and social science journals.    Dr. Williams has 30 plus years of experience as both a practitioner and scholar/educator.  He is Editor-in-Chief for Social Work Research.  He has served as a member of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Board of Directors as a member-at-large, Vice-President, President-Elect and is currently the President.  He served as President of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD) and co-chaired the NADD task force on health disparities. He is a member of the Grand Challenges Executive Committee.

Qian YE

Executive Director, Integrated Risk Governance Project IRGP, Beijing, China

Dr Ye’s research background includes an expertise in social-economic impacts of climate changes and disaster risk governance. As the executive director of the Integrated Risk Governance Project, sponsored by Future Earth/ICSU and UNISDR, he has engaged extensively with the scientific research community, government policy makers, business sectors, educators and general public around the world on the disaster risk reduction and green development, supervising two current doctoral projects in co-benefit of reducing disaster risks and building resilient society. He has been awarded over $3 million USD in competitive research funding and has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers in the area of climate change and disaster risk governance. He is the coordinator of Global University Consortium for Integrated Risk Governance, an international education network.