This spring the Global Resilience Institute (GRI) and the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs at Northeastern University (NU) will host nearly two dozen U.S. Department of State-sponsored Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows for a four-day workshop on climate and energy resilience and equity, with funding from the Institute of International Education (IIE).
A Fulbright Exchange activity, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and awarded to international professionals based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service. Created to foster a mutual exchange of knowledge and understanding, the program funds young and mid-career professionals for ten months of non-degree academic study in the U.S., helping to establish relationships between U.S. citizens and their counterparts from around the world.
The group of Fellows attending GRI’s March 25-28 workshop, “Energy Resilience: Equity and Inclusive Action in an Increasingly Turbulent World,” hail from 17 different countries.
The structure and agenda of the workshop draws on the unique capacity within GRI, the world’s first university-wide enterprise with the mission to inform and advance designs for embedding resilience into systems, networks, and infrastructure at multiple levels, and to identify and promote economic incentives and governance for implementing resilience initiatives around the world. Building on a university-wide initiative to advance resilience education, faculty from GRI and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs will provide workshop participants with practical insights on the complexities of energy and climate resilience.
In addition to sessions from the lead facilitators, the workshop will involve guest lectures from distinguished researchers and practitioners affiliated with the Institute, including representatives from industry, government, communities, and non-governmental organizations. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from experts on a wide range of resilience themes and issues including energy justice, socio-economic inequities, engineering, infrastructure and more. Throughout the four-day workshop Fellows will make local site visits in and around the city of Boston for additional experiential learning sessions.
GRI Director for Strategic Research Partnerships Dr. Jennie Stephens, an internationally-recognized expert on energy transformation, gender in energy and climate resilience, will lead the workshop alongside GRI Founding Director Dr. Stephen Flynn.
“Hosting this group of international mid-career professionals here at Northeastern is an exciting opportunity for us to expand the global impact of our resilience education initiative,” said Dr. Stephens. “As communities and organizations around the world grapple with vulnerabilities related to energy and climate, Northeastern is uniquely positioned to provide transdisciplinary research-based training on energy and climate resilience.”
Dr. Stephens, author of Smart Grid (R)Evolution: Electric Power Struggles and Director of Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, has taught courses and workshops on the topics of climate and energy resilience for 13 years. She brings a unique transdisciplinary experience that integrates innovations in social science with science and engineering to promote social justice, reducing inequalities and redistributing power – (electric, economic and political).
During their time on the NU campus, workshop participants will be encouraged to connect their own professional experience and regional context to the complexities of climate resilience and energy justice. The program will explicitly address issues of gender and under-represented minorities and seeks to inspire actions that will enhance opportunities of all people within a Fellow’s homeland or region.
With 2018 ringing in as the fourth costliest year on record for natural disasters according to reinsurance company Swiss Re, the workshop topic is timely and critical.
“We can’t stop extreme weather events and other natural disasters from happening,” said Dr. Flynn. “Though we live in turbulent times, the global community can manage these challenges if we seize the opportunity to ‘bake in’ resilience, into our communities, systems, and societies. Our goal must be to develop and sustain a universal culture of preparedness that positions all of us to better withstand, respond to, recover from, and adapt to shocks and disturbances. Importantly, this workshop will focus on recognizing and addressing the inequities, injustices and disparities which undermine resilience within and among societies. We want the Fellows to leave this workshop with the knowledge and confidence to devise and implement strategies that will advance energy and climate resilience within their native countries.”
ABOUT THE GLOBAL RESILIENCE INSTITUTE
In 2016, the Board of Trustees at Northeastern University approved the launch of the Global Resilience Institute (GRI) as a major initiative to support the university’s 2025 strategic plan. Today GRI has over 20 full-time staff; 100 faculty affiliates from all 9 of Northeastern’s colleges; and 26 eminent practitioners who serve as distinguished senior and corporate fellows. In March 2018, the institute launched the Global Resilience Research Network (GRRN) with the participation of 20 universities and research institutes from 14 countries around the world. This collaborative research and educational community shares a common commitment to work in close partnership with industry and public entities in developing and deploying practical tools, applications, and skills that bolster the resilience of individuals, communities, critical systems and networks, and societies.
ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY AND URBAN AFFAIRS
The Northeastern School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs prepares leaders to address complex problems, serve communities and build a just, sustainable, more resilient world. We do this by integrating academic rigor, experiential learning, research and deep collaboration with local, regional, national, and international partners.