Tulane University is getting a $5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help universities in areas prone to disasters establish education and development programs.
Ky Luu is executive director of Tulane's Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy. He says New Orleans has experience dealing in natural disasters, such as hurricanes, and man-made ones, including the BP oil spill. That experience will be shared with centers in Thailand and another in east Africa.
"The grant itself will allow us to be able to lay the foundation here for a global network of resilient disaster leaders, whether they are responding to a drought in the horn of Africa or dealing with a conflict, perhaps in Afghanistan. But the key here is to be able to bring these local leaders together to allow them to exchange ideas and to be able to learn from each other."
Luu says the goal is to establish an international network of universities that can quickly respond to disasters with advice and well-prepared leaders. Tulane's program involves instructors in public health, law, architecture and business, along with public officials in charge of disaster relief.