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Natural Hazards Center 2018 Distinguished Lecture: Brian E. Tucker
April 13, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Dr. Brian E. Tucker: President and Founder, GeoHazards International
Reflections on Efforts to Reduce Disaster Risk in Poor Countries: Spanning the Kennedy and Trump Eras
GeoHazards International, a California-based nonprofit organization, was founded in 1991 in response to the large and rapidly growing natural hazards risk in developing countries compared to that in industrialized countries. Our mission is to stop death and suffering from earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural hazards in the world’s most vulnerable, underserved communities, by working before disasters strike. Our motivation was, in a sense, a response to Kennedy’s inaugural call: “To those peoples in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves….” Our approach emphasizes preparation, sustainability, local capacity, and advocacy.
Over the last quarter century, GeoHazards International has applied this approach successfully in scores of communities around the world. During this same period, other organizations have joined our efforts and, even, a new UN organization was created to reduce exposure to natural hazards.
Despite these diverse efforts, disaster losses are increasing in poor countries and the human and economic toll is projected to continue to rise. If the world’s poorest countries are to develop unimpeded by disasters – to the benefit of all countries – several difficult changes are necessary. Investments in disaster preparedness and mitigation must be increased. The task of reducing risk must be viewed not as just an engineering and scientific challenge but also as a sociological, political, and psychological one. Recent decisions must be reversed, and financial and intellectual resources of industrialized countries must be recommitted to help poor countries.
Biography – Dr. Brian E. Tucker
Brian Tucker received a B.A. in Physics from Pomona College, a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University. He headed the Geologic Hazards Programs of the California Geological Survey from 1982 to1991. In 1991, he founded GeoHazards International, a nonprofit organization working to reduce the risk of natural hazards in the world’s most vulnerable communities through preparedness, mitigation, and advocacy. In 2000, he was honored for his service to the people of Nepal by the King of Nepal, and, in 2002, was named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2007, he received the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation’s George Brown Award for International Science and Technology Cooperation and was elected a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. He was named one of UC San Diego’s 100 Influential Alumni and Pomona College’s Blaisdell Distinguished Alumni.