International Graduate Summer Course of 2012

This course was held during 30 May to 22 June 2012 at the EERC in Selfoss, Iceland. It followed the Summer course from 2011 on Natural Catastrophes emphasizing further the management aspects of natural disasters. The course was attended by students from seven countries, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Palestine, Switzerland and the United States. They had a wide variety of background experience: Civil Engineering, Information Technology Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Anthropology, European Applied Economics and Education Studies and most were pursuing a masters or doctoral degree at their respective universities.

Course Outline

The course was set in Árborg, in South Iceland in the wake of large scale earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, glacial bursts, and glacier retreat in South Iceland. The people and authorities in the region, and as was evident during the Eyjafjallajökull eruption and even in neighboring countries, need to learn to live with disaster risk and cope with disaster effects. This setting provides a perfect full-scale laboratory for studies of natural disasters and disaster management.

The course addressed all phases of the disaster cycle, examined local, national, and international aspects and discussed the many disciplines needed in disaster management projects. In fact, it is difficult to identify a discipline that is never affected by a disaster in some form or another. Therefore, disaster management projects require representatives with diverse backgrounds, both academic and practical. The philosophy behind this course was that all disciplines should have a common base on which to communicate, enabling them to effectively include different perspectives into disaster management projects. To mirror a multidisciplinary world this course caters to students with different backgrounds. The course also offered specialized projects for students interested in relating disaster management to the field of earthquake engineering.