University of Pittsburgh
August 20, 2007

University of Pittsburgh and Kobe University to Host Symposium on Disaster Risk-Reduction and Response

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh and Kobe University, Japan, will host the Kobe-Pitt Symposium on Disaster Risk-Reduction and Response Sept. 6-7 in the Schenley Room, Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

The symposium will foster discussion and collaboration on issues relating to major disasters and disaster management. Participants will work to develop an international program for continuing research and education exchange, with a focus on cities that have experienced major disasters and have developed innovative ways of reducing and managing risk.

The event is sponsored by Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), Asian Studies Center, Center for National Preparedness, and European Union Center of Excellence and Kobe University's Research Center for Urban Safety and Security, which was established after the 1995 Japanese Hanshin Earthquake.

Louise Comfort, GSPIA professor of public and urban affairs, played a major role in the organization of the symposium. Comfort is the director of Pitt's Interactive, Intelligent Spatial Information System, which was established in response to hazards in the Pittsburgh metropolitan region, intended to be expanded nationally. Comfort has authored many articles on natural disasters, including "Vulnerability Assessment for Flooding in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Region," funded by local Pittsburgh foundations.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Sept. 6.

For more information, contact Comfort at 412-648-7606 or, or Joyce Valiquette at 412-624-6614 or