Lecture targets disaster readiness


Professor Douglas Paton will deliver the final Professorial Lecture for 2016

Professor Douglas Paton will deliver the final Professorial Lecture for 2016

With the number of disasters predicted to increase in the next decade, next week’s Professorial Lecture will explore the need for disaster risk reduction strategies and question the cultural reasons surrounding preparedness locally and globally.

Professor Douglas Paton, a disaster expert who has worked internationally, will deliver the final Charles Darwin University Professorial Lecture for 2016 titled “Being Afraid Effectively: Cross cultural perspectives on disaster risk reduction” on 8 November.

“Recognition of the projected increase in the number of disasters over the coming decades has highlighted a need for disaster risk reduction strategies,” Professor Paton said.

“One component of such strategies is proactively developing the capacity of people and communities to be able to respond in planned and functional ways to disasters.”

Professor Paton said that despite the projected increase in incidents community preparedness remained low.

“Readiness levels remain low, even when people acknowledge their risk,” he said. “We have been looking at natural hazard events occurring in countries that can differ with regard to the socio-cultural context in which readiness activities are undertaken.”

During the lecture Professor Paton will discuss whether readiness theories could be used across cultures.

“Part of what we are looking at is whether a universal theory can be developed and implemented as part of disaster risk reduction strategies,” he said.

A Professor at CDU’s School of Psychology, he is also a Senior Research Fellow with the Bandung Resilience Development Initiative in Indonesia, a Research Fellow at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research in New Zealand, a Technical Advisor on risk communication to the World Health Organization, and a member of Risk Interpretation and Actions sub-Committee of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

His research focuses on developing and testing all-hazards and cross-cultural theories of community-based disaster risk reduction around the world including New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Iran, Ethiopia and Portugal.

Professor Paton has published 21 books, 75 book chapters and 150 peer reviewed articles. He is the editor of the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters.

The lecture will be held on Tuesday, 8 November from 5:30pm to 7pm in the University Theatre, building Orange 3, Casuarina campus. All welcome, but bookings are essential: RSVP to E: cduevents@cdu.edu.au or T: 08 8946 6554.

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