The Post-Katrina Debacle: It Won't Be the Last Time

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Media Contact:Ron Ozio | | 215-852-8017
Media Contact:David Rapp | | 202-419-8535
Media Contact:Jack Cox | | 818-371-0060November 18, 2005

WASHINGTON - The U.S. is in for a repeat of the post-Katrina debacle unless there is a fundamental re-thinking of national policy dealing with all kinds of risky events.

Experts in risk, preparedness, rapid recovery, loss reduction and disaster management will gather here Dec. 1 to identify the future risks the country is most likely to face, the policy strategies for dealing with them and a governance system to make the strategies work.  (A full list of conference participants is at the bottom of this release.)

The National Symposium on Risk and Disasters will meet in the Cannon House Office Building Dec. 1.  The event is sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, Congressional Quarterly and The Communications Institute.

"We must objectively examine lessons that Hurricane Katrina teaches about our future," said Ronald Daniels, the provost of Penn.  "Katrina raised fundamental questions about how the nation can - and should - deal with the inevitable problems of economic risk and social responsibility."

"The nation will inevitably face more problems like Katrina," said Howard Kunreuther, co-director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at Penn's Wharton School, "such as hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, environmental problems and even a global flu pandemic."

"It is virtually certain that we will face at least one of these events - or perhaps a catastrophe we had never imagined," said Don Kettl, director of Penn's Fels Institute of Government.  "We must clarify and build the partnerships among the public, private and nonprofit sector and find the 'glue' to make these partnerships stick."

The symposium will address:

* How We Assess and Deal with Risk in American Society

* Confronting Catastrophes: How to Manage Risks

* Building for the Future: Strategies for the Gulf

* Governance: Sorting Out the Public and Private Roles in Managing Risk

The symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 in the

Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building.  It is free and open to policy makers, business people, members of the government and members of the news media.

Registration and other information are available by calling 626-796-4747 or at

Conference speakers and panelists:

* Matthew Adler, professor of law, University of Pennsylvania

* Baruch Fischhoff, professor of social and decision sciences and of engineering and public policy, Carnegie Mellon University

* Kenneth R. Foster, professor of bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania

* Robert Giegengack, professor of earth and environmental science, University of Pennsylvania

* Peter Gosselin, reporter, Los Angeles Times

* Scott Harrington, professor of health care systems, University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School

* Robert P. Hartwig, senior vice president and chief economist, Insurance Information Institute

* Andrew Hickman, vice president of research and analytics, Risk Management Solutions

* G. William Hoagland, director, budget and appropriations, Senate majority leader's office

* Doug Holtz-Eakin, director, Congressional Budget Office

* Jason Johnston, professor of law and director of the Program on Law and the Environment at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

* Don Kettl, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government and professor of political science

* Howard Kunreuther, professor and co-director pf the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School

* Todd LaPorte, professor of political science, University of California, Berkeley

* Daniel Mathews, staff director, House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management

* Charles Meade, senior physical scientist at the Rand Corporation

* Robert Meyer, professor and co-director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School

* Marc H. Morial, president of the National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans  

* David A. Moss, professor of business administration, Harvard University

* Richard Murray, chief claims strategist, Swiss Re

* Joanne M. Nigg, professor of sociology and former director of the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware

* Harvey G. Ryland, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Business and Home Safety

* Alex Sternhell, majority staff director, Senate Securities Subcommittee

* Brian Strom, professor of public health and preventive medicine, University of Pennsylvania

* Kathleen Tierney, professor of sociology and director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder

* Michael Trebilcock, visiting professor of law at Yale University and professor of law at the University of Toronto  

* Detlof von Winterfeldt, professor and director of the Institute for Civic Enterprise at the University of Southern California