November Biodefense Policy Seminar: Dr. Kathleen Vogel

November Seminar Title: Project BACHUS: Forecasting Bioweapons Threats with Experiment and Demonstration

Speaker
: Kathleen Vogel
Date: Thursday, November 21, 2013, 7:20PM
Location: Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall,  GMU Fairfax Campus

20110912_Fall Scholars 2011Dr. Vogel will describe a 1990s bioweapons threat assessment that involved setting up a mock bioweapons production facility as an “experiment”. The talk will discuss the difference between a scientific experiment and scientific demonstration and why it is important to interrogate what things are labeled as “experiments” and the implications that has for bioweapons assessments. Kathleen Vogel is an associate professor at Cornell, with a joint appointment in the Department of Science and Technology Studies and the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Vogel holds a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Princeton University. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty, Vogel was appointed as a William C. Foster Fellow in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Proliferation Threat Reduction in the Bureau of Nonproliferation. Vogel has also spent time as a visiting scholar at the Cooperative Monitoring Center, Sandia National Laboratories and the Center for Nonprolif­eration Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies. Her research focuses on studying the social and technical dimensions of bioweapons threats and the production of knowledge in intelligence assessments on WMD issues.

Video: Dr. Paul Walker’s talk on Chemical Weapons Destruction

For those of you unable to attend our October Biodefense Policy Seminar last week, Dr. Paul Walker gave a very interesting and timely presentation on the challenges of chemical weapons destruction, both in Syria and globally. See the first part of his presentation below, and then head over to our YouTube channel to watch the rest. His slides are also included below.

Dr. Walker’s Slides: October Biodefense Policy Seminar_Dr. Paul Walker

October Seminar Speaker Paul Walker Wins Swedish Rights Prize

Dr. Paul Walker, International Director of the Environmental Security and Sustainability (ESS) Program for Green Cross International (GCI), and our October Biodefense Policy Seminar Speaker, was awarded the Swedish Right Livelihood Award on Thursday for his lifelong work eliminating chemical weapons.

The award was founded by Swedish philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, following refusal by the Nobel Foundation to honor efforts in international and environmental development.

Speaking about selecting Dr. Walker, Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation Ole von Uexxkul said, “Chemical weapons are easy to manufacture but very difficult to get rid of. Walker has 20 years of experience in how to eliminate them both politically and technically…It is his knowledge that is needed right now in Syria.”

Walker expressed delight at receiving the award, emphasizing the extreme urgency to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons and potential positive impact on the region. “Israel and Egypt, being neighbors of Syria, really feel pressure now to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. They don’t need the option of chemical weapons and should join the rest of the world,” he said.

Walker will be formally presented with the award at a ceremony in the Swedish parliament later this year.

GMU Biodefense will host Dr. Walker on October 16th at 7:20 PM. Join us for an extremely timely discussion on Syria and elimination of chemical weapons. For more information, please see here.

To find out more about the Right Livelihood Award, visit their website here.

(Image: Stockholm Environmental Institute)

Biodefense Policy Seminar Tonight!

Our first Biodefense Policy Seminar of Fall 2013 is tonight! Join us this evening as Dr. Daniel Dodgen discusses the importance of including special populations in biodefense & public health planning. As always, Seminars are free and open to the public – stop by!

September Seminar“The ABCs of Including Special Populations in Biodefense and Public Health Preparedness”
Speaker: Dr. Daniel Dodgen
DateTuesday, September 17th, 2013 at 7:20 PM
Where
: Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall, GMU Fairfax Campus

daniel_dodgenDr. Dodgen is the Director for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). His office is tasked with ensuring that HHS is developing policies and capabilities for emergency planning, response, and recovery activities that integrate at-risk individuals (including children), behavioral health, and community resilience. Dr. Dodgen also served as the Executive Director of the White House directed national advisory group on disaster mental health, and played a coordinating role in the federal response to Hurricanes Sandy, Gustav, Ike, and Dean; the H1N1 epidemic, the BP oil spill, the Sandy Hook school shooting, and other natural and manmade disasters.

For more information about our Fall lineup, please visit our Events page.

Fall 2013 Biodefense Policy Seminar Line Up

The Biodefense Policy Seminars are monthly talks focused on biodefense and biosecurity broadly conceived. Free and open to the public, they feature leading figures within the academic, security, industry, and policy fields. Launched in the Spring of this year, the Seminars have been a tremendous success. Our Fall lineup features leaders from across the government and academic sectors, including Dr. Daniel Dogden at ASPR, Dr. Paul Walker of Green Cross, and Dr. Kathleen Vogel.

Fall 2013 Biodefense Policy Seminars

September Seminar“The ABCs of Including Special Populations in Biodefense and Public Health Preparedness”
Speaker: Dr. Daniel Dodgen
DateTuesday, September 17th, 2013 at 7:20 PM
Where
: Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall, GMU Fairfax Campus

daniel_dodgenJoin us as Dr. Daniel Dodgen discusses the importance of including special populations in Biodefense & Public Health planning. Dr. Dodgen is the Director for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). His office is tasked with ensuring that HHS is developing policies and capabilities for emergency planning, response, and recovery activities that integrate at-risk individuals (including children), behavioral health, and community resilience. Dr. Dodgen also served as the Executive Director of the White House directed national advisory group on disaster mental health, and played a coordinating role in the federal response to Hurricanes Sandy, Gustav, Ike, and Dean; the H1N1 epidemic, the BP oil spill, the Sandy Hook school shooting, and other natural and manmade disasters.

October Seminar Title: “Syria and Chemical Weapons: Building a World Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction”
Speaker: Dr. Paul Walker
Date: October 16, 2013 at 7:20PM
Location: Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall, GMU Fairfax Campus

Paul-Walker_imagePaul Walker will join us to discuss Syrian proliferation concerns. Dr. Walker is the International Director of the Environmental Security and Sustainability (ESS) Program for Green Cross International (GCI) and manages the Washington DC office for GCI and its US national affiliate, Global Green USA. The ESS Program is an international effort to facilitate and advocate the safe and environmentally sound demilitarization, nonproliferation, and remediation of nuclear, chemical, biological, and conventional weapons stockpiles.  Walker has worked, spoken, and published widely in the related areas of international security, threat reduction, non-proliferation, weapons demilitarization, and environmental security for over three decades and took part in the first on-site inspection by US officials of the Russian chemical weapons stockpile at Shchuch’ye in the Kurgan Oblast in 1994. Since that time he has worked closely with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), US and Russian officials, the US Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, the G-8 Global Partnership, and other multilateral regimes to help foster cooperative, timely, and safe elimination of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and related systems. He has helped to permanently eliminate over 50,000 tons of chemical weapons and millions of munitions in six countries to date. Dr. Walker was also recently awarded the 2013 Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the alternate Nobel Peace Prize. To read more about the award and Dr. Walker’s work, visit their website here.

November Seminar Title: Project BACHUS: Forecasting Bioweapons Threats with Experiment and Demonstration
Speaker: Kathleen Vogel
Date: November 21, 2013, 7:20PM
Location: Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall,  GMU Fairfax Campus

20110912_Fall Scholars 2011Dr. Vogel will describe a 1990s bioweapons threat assessment that involved setting up a mock bioweapons production facility as an “experiment”. The talk will discuss the difference between a scientific experiment and scientific demonstration and why it is important to interrogate what things are labeled as “experiments” and the implications that has for bioweapons assessments. Kathleen Vogel is an associate professor at Cornell, with a joint appointment in the Department of Science and Technology Studies and the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Vogel holds a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Princeton University. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty, Vogel was appointed as a William C. Foster Fellow in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Proliferation Threat Reduction in the Bureau of Nonproliferation. Vogel has also spent time as a visiting scholar at the Cooperative Monitoring Center, Sandia National Laboratories and the Center for Nonprolif­eration Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies. Her research focuses on studying the social and technical dimensions of bioweapons threats and the production of knowledge in intelligence assessments on WMD issues.

May Biodefense Policy Seminar

Dan-Gerstein (1)May Seminar: National Security and Arms Control in the Age of Biotechnology
Speaker
: Dr. Daniel M Gerstein
When: 7:20PM, Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Where: Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall, George Mason University

The Biodefense Policy Seminars are  the D.C. area’s premiere speaker series focused on biodefense and biosecurity issues. The monthly seminars – free and open to the public – feature leading figures within the academic, security, industry, and policy fields of biodefense. Past speakers have included Dr. Charles Bailey, Executive Director at the National Biodefense Center and Dr. Alexander Garza, former Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Homeland Security.

Dr. Daniel M. Gerstein has served as the Deputy Under Secretary for Science & Technology in the
Department of Homeland Security since August 2011. He is also an Adjunct Professor at American University in Washington, DC at the School of International Service (SIS) where he teaches graduate level courses on biological warfare and the evolution of military thought. Dr. Gerstein has extensive experience in the security and defense sectors in a variety of positions while serving as a Senior Executive Service (SES) government civilian, in uniform, and in industry. Before joining DHS, he served as the Principal Director for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy). He has served on four different continents participating in homeland security and counterterrorism, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and combat in addition to serving for over a decade in the Pentagon in various high level staff assignments.

Biodefense Policy Seminar: “Health Threats in a Security World”

Alexander Garza, MD, MPH, FACEPApril Seminar: ”Health Threats in a Security World”
Speaker: Dr. Alexander Garza
When: 7:20PM, Thursday April 18th, 2013
Where: Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall, George Mason University

The Biodefense Policy Seminar is  the D.C. area’s premiere speaker series focused on biodefense and biosecurity issues. The monthly seminars – free and open to the public – feature leading figures within the academic, security, industry, and policy fields of biodefense.

About the Speaker: Dr. Alexander Garza is the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Homeland Security. He manages the Department’s medical and health security matters, oversees the health aspects of contingency planning for all chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards, and leads a coordinated effort to ensure that the Department is prepared to respond to biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. Prior to joining the Department in August 2009, Dr. Garza spent 13 years as a practicing physician and medical educator.

Refreshments will be available!