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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Conference on Rebuilding Sustainable Communities

November 16 through November 19 marked the week of an international conference entitled “Rebuilding Sustainable Communities for Children and their Families After Disasters.” Held at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the conference brought together specialists from a variety of disciplines, ranging from health and education to community planning, under one common goal: To explore ways to reconstruct sustainable communities for the well being of children and families in the event of a disaster.

Over 100 participants from across the globe attended the conference. Speakers from several countries lit the panel, sharing their own experience and expertise for rebuilding sustainable communities.

Notable speakers included Rector of As-Syafi’iyah University Tutty Alawiyah, Professor of Sociology and American Studies at Yale University Kai T. Erikson, Director of the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the Department of Veterans Affairs Terence M. Keane, Professor of Education at Wheelock College Diane Levin, former Governor of Wisconsia and President and CEO of the Aidmatrix Foundation Scott McCallum, Chief of the USAID Africa Bureau Office of Sustainable Development Sarah E. Moten, and Director of Community Emergency Response in Harris County Judge Emmett’s office Mark Sloan.

Founded by its director, Dr. Adenrele Awotona, the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities After Disasters (CRSCAD) was created to offer academic opportunities to the realm of disaster response.

“Ultimately it is our goal to research, educate, and act to create sustainable communities for our children. Only then they can thrive,” said Awotona. “As our society becomes more global and as our ideology appreciates the need for change, CRSCAD seeks to bring broad appreciation to the need to advance societal capability to respond to the traumas of disasters. The need is strong and the time is ripe.”

As a result of the success of the conference, the CRSCAD has established several new partnerships that will add key elements and content to the future curriculum of the Graduate Program.

“Disaster response may seem to be a narrow field; but [on the contrary], this realm is as broad as the wisdom of the centuries that have evolved in, and applied to, societal functioning,” said Awotona. “In the case of disaster-caused trauma, the full panoply of society’s wisdom must be brought to bear in short order to restructure sustainable communities. What is learned from these successive traumas must, in turn, be made available for future disaster response and, in addition, to take anticipatory steps to abate damage from prospective disasters.”

CRSCAD is affiliated with the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies and FEMA, Region 1. Awotona and CRSCAD have already begun planning for the next conference in July 2010, ‘Rebuilding Sustainable Communities for Elders and People with Disabilities after Disasters.’

For more information on the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters, visit on the web at: http://www.rebuilding.umb.edu/