Global Resilience and Security

Professor Stephen Flynn


Speaker: Professor Stephen Flynn, Director, Global Resilience Institute, Northeastern University

Date: 21 February 2017 (Tuesday)

Time: 12:00-1:30pm

Venue: Room 301, Runme Shaw Building

Chair: Professor Liaquat Hossain, Head, Division of Information and Technology Studies, Faculty of Education, HKU




Resilience is a widely used, but not always well understood term. Simply stated, resilience is the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions, and to withstand and recover rapidly from any disruptive event. Bolstering resilience at multiple levels is critical to ensuring that societies not only cope with periodic disruptions to critical functions, but learn and make changes that best position them to prosper in the face of global turbulence. Build greater resilience is indispensable to assuring U.S. security and economic competitiveness. At the individual level, resilience involves identifying and nurturing the capacity to cope with the myriad stresses that life inevitably brings. At the societal level, resilienceinvolves identifying and nurturing the capacity for federal agencies, metro-regions, communities, and private sector organizations to mitigate, nimbly respond to, recover from, and build back better and smarter when man-made and naturally disasters occur. A core imperative is developing the ability to understand and manage increasingly interconnected systems with their associated interdependencies and risk of cascading failures when placed under stress. Safeguarding societal well-being and prosperity in the face of growing threats and turbulence depends on our individual and collective efforts to enhance resilience. However, both experience and data suggest that meeting this critical imperative will require simultaneously overcoming five major barriers: (1) there is a very limited capacity for managing the risk of cascading failures associated with complex interdependent systems at multiple levels; (2) there are inadequately designs for embedding resilience into systems, networks, and infrastructure; (3) there are pervasive economic disincentives for investing inresilience; (4) there is a lack of adequate governance frameworks and policy guidance to foster resilience; and (5) there are too few interdisciplinary training and education programs to support the development and implementation of more comprehensive capabilities for advancing resilience.

Focus of this workshop:

The central objective of this workshop is to identify potential partners for global resilience and security project, which forms part of MacArthur Foundation funded project on nuclear nonproliferation within the global supply system. Our aim is to recalibrate maritime transportation and cargo security requirements to make them more capable of enhancing the security and resilience of the global supply system while at the same time ensuring that they are cost-effective and sustainable. To accomplish this objective, this project has been engaging key national and international government and industry leaders with the specific goal of developing recommendations for the incoming U.S. Administration that will inform its approach to global supply system security and resilience. The effort will include significant outreach during the first 100 days to new senior cabinet-level and federal agency appointees and the leadership of the 115th Congress.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Stephen Flynn is Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University with faculty affiliations in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. At Northeastern, he is also the Founding Director of the Global Resilience Institute where he leads a university-wide research enterprise to inform and advance societal resilience in the face of growing man-made and naturally-occurring turbulence. He is also Co-Director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security.