Kravis Leadership Institute to Sponsor Seminar on Managing Global Scale Disasters

The management of potential global disasters, including dangers to the earth from potential impact with large asteroids and comets, will be the focus of discussion by scholars from around the country during an April 12th workshop, Managing Global Scale Disasters.

The seminar is chaired by Dr. Harvey Wichman, director of CMC’s Aerospace Psychology Laboratory, and sponsored by the Kravis Leadership Institute. Held in conjunction with the 82nd annual convention of the Western Psychological Association, the event brings together a wide range of scientific and public policy experts to examine the psychological and sociological implications of potential disasters of a global scope. The workshop will take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Irvine Hyatt Regency.

Scheduled presenters are Clark Chapman, a scientist with the Office of Space Studies at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, who will discuss The Threat to Earth from Asteroids and Comets, and Possible Countermeasures; Albert Harrison, a social psychologist with the University of California, Davis, discussing Life and Death Issues in Minimizing and Managing Casualties; Geoffrey Sommer, a researcher with the RAND Corp., Santa Monica, CA, on Organizing for Effective Global Action; and Lee Clarke, a professor with the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University, who will discuss Managing Major Post-traumatic Societal Disruptions.

Wichman, who recently was awarded the Kravis Leadership Institute summer research grant, will present closing remarks. He also will assist with publishing results of the workshop.

Though the effects of September 11 on disaster preparedness will be discussed, the seminar’s primary focus will be broader, Wichman said, likening it to preparation for “triage of a global character.”

According to Wichman, little has been written about global-scale disasters since the early Cold War period, when the threat of nuclear war was believed to be high. The seminar’s goal, Wichman said, is to “raise consciousness among the social science communities about the significance of these potential natural disasters, and to take leadership in preparing the public for, and coping with, such global scale events.”