LSU Geographer to be Keynote Speaker at International Workshop in Colombia

10/25/2012 08:51 AM

BATON ROUGE – Craig Colten, Carl O. Sauer Professor in Geography, has been invited to participate in an international workshop on Disaster and Risk Management in Colombia. The event will take place in Bogotá on Nov. 22.


The workshop will feature a panel of experts who will discuss their country’s recent disaster experiences and establish a dialogue about best practices in risk management. The government of Colombia expects to lay the foundation for an international community of practice as a platform for continuing discussions on the systematic management of risk and disaster. It also hopes to establish cooperative agreements among the participating countries that will be developed in the course of the workshop.


Following severe flooding in 2010, Colombia officials sought to collaborate with experts from other countries that had endured similar disruptive events and discuss strategies to reduce future impacts. They turned to Colten, who is an authority of New Orleans and the impacts of Hurricane Katrina, along with representatives from Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and El Salvador.


Colten will report on the lessons learned in the aftermath of Hurricanes Betsy and Katrina – particularly the loss of resilience. Since 2005, he has been involved in several projects studying community resilience along the Gulf Coast and his keynote address will relate some of his findings from that research.


“This will be an extraordinary opportunity for me,” Colten said. “It is important that our experiences in Louisiana may help others improve their capabilities to rebound from hurricanes, floods, drought and other extreme events. My main message will be the need to sustain preparedness for the long haul between disruptive events, to perpetuate the social memory that enables us to cope with hazards.”


The workshop is being organized by the Office of the President, the Fund for Disaster Risk Management, the Presidential Agency for International Cooperation and the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management representing the country of Colombia.


For more information on the LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, visit For more on the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012