From April 13 – 15 2021, the Perry Center brought together more than fifty participants from 17 countries for the Spanish-language virtual seminar “Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief.” The academic seminar was opened by the Perry Center Director LTG (ret) Frederick Rudesheim and facilitated by a team of Perry Center professors including Walter Earle, William Godnick, Pat Paterson and Fabiana Perera. The first day of the seminar took on the task of examining the economic costs of natural disasters and the influence of climate change with contributions by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Day 2 was dedicated to assessing the civilian and military capabilities required for effective humanitarian assistance and disaster relief including a presentation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The final day focused on the mechanisms for international cooperation in the Western Hemisphere with a special presentation by the team responsible for such actions at the US Southern Command.
The seminar concluded with group exercises where participants were asked to analyze the challenges and required actions for responses to different types of disasters in combination with complicating factors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing remarks were provided by Major General Erik Rodríguez Aparicio of the Colombian Army who currently occupies the role of Director of Exercises and Coalition Affairs at US Southern Command.