Keynote Speakers

Lenore Mandersonis Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology in the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental Science, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES), Providence RI, USA. She is known internationally for her work on inequality and social exclusion, the social context of infectious and chronic disease, gender, sexuality and caregiving; in the US, her work focuses on art/science intersections related to climate change and teaches on biodiversity and social innovation. She has played an active role in various professional associations, and is on several boards and advisory committees, including working consistently with TDR (Special Programme in Research and Training in Tropical Diseases) since 1988. She was awarded the Society of Medical Anthropology Career Achievement Award in 2016 in acknowledgement of her career-long contributions to theory and method.  and

Claire Horwell pic NEEDSClaire Horwell is an Associate Professor (Reader) in the Institute of Hazard, Risk & Resilience and the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University. She is the Director of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network ( and is the founding President-elect of the American Geophysical Union’s GeoHealth Section. She has worked on the health hazards of volcanic emissions for the past 20 years, focusing on the mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of volcanic ash which determine respiratory health hazard. In recent years, she has started working with communities on health protection from volcanic emissions and air pollution. She sits on the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and has advised the UK Cabinet Office, World Health Organization and goverments of New Zealand, Singapore and USA (State of Hawaii) on preparing for, and coping with, inhalation of volcanic emissions.

Vinh-Kim Nguyen 29102017Vinh-Kim Nguyen is a Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at The Graduate Institute, Geneva. He is a medical anthropologist  and physician who practices in acute care and humanitarian settings. His clinical work has focussed on HIV and infectious diseases; his teaching links global health and social theory and his research examines efforts to eradicate epidemics, particularly HIV, Ebola, and drug-resistant bacteria, in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Amir AghaKouchak thumbnail_IMG_Amir

Amir AghaKouchak is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on natural hazards and climate extremes and crosses the boundaries between hydrology, climatology, remote sensing. He is the recipient of the AGU’s 2017 Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award. Amir is the principal investigator of several research grants funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Website: