Global Response to Humanitarian Logistics Conference 2009

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More than 180 participants converged on the Georgia Tech Conference Center on February 19th and 20th, all with the common goal of enhancing humanitarian logistics. Stewart School of ISyE Professors Ozlem Ergun, Pinar Keskinocak, and Julie Swann organized the 2009 Humanitarian Logistics Conference that addressed pressing challenges in humanitarian relief and development, and inspired new ideas and practices towards positive change.

Participants came from across the globe representing a variety of organizations interested in disaster relief including academia, NGO's, UN, government, private organizations, and military. The conference opened dialog among the various humanitarian efforts and contributed towards new collaborations and synergies across many different organizations represented by the attendees.

The conference consisted of several keynote and panel speakers on disaster preparedness and response, long-term development and humanitarian aid, and intra- and inter-organizational collaboration in disaster planning and long term humanitarian aid. Amer Daoudi of the World Food Programme issued these words of wisdom to the attendees, "we cannot continue business as usual. We have to change; we have to adapt."

Day 2 of the conference consisted of two workshops: managing performance in humanitarian logistics, and pre-planning and response to large-scale domestic events.

Given the complexity of the problems faced and the lives at stake, the Humanitarian Logistics Conference 2009 articulated the opportunities and challenges in preparing and responding to disasters or addressing long term problems, both from a humanitarian and a corporate/economic perspective; it identified important research issues, creating academic awareness for the research opportunities and establishing priorities for non-government organizations (NGOs), corporations, and the government in terms of their strategies, policies, and investments.

Daoudi of the World Food Programme summarized the underlying theme of the conference, "today the humanitarian communities are talking to each other. We are getting better at complementing rather than competing, and there are areas where we ask other agencies to go on our behalf and vice versa. That is working. Are we there yet? No. But at least we've started."

To learn more about the Conference presentations and workshops, visit:

To learn more about ISyE's work in humanitarian logistics, visit:


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    Barbara Christopher
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    Fletcher Moore
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