Keynote Speakers

Lenore Manderson is  Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology in the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand. She was previously a professor at Queensland (1988-1998), Melbourne (1999-2005) and Monash (2006-13) universities in Australia. She is also Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental Science, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES), where her work focuses on the intersections of art and science in relation to climate change, and on biodiversity and social innovation. She is known internationally as a researcher, educator and through advisory work for her contributions to inequality and the social context of disease, particularly since 1988 with the Special Programme in Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR). She played a lead role in the Australian Academy of Science project, Australia 2050, on population, equity, climate change and sustainability. She is editor of the journal Medical Anthropology and editor of the book series Medical Anthropology: Health, Inequality and Social Justice with Rutgers University Press. In 2016, she was awarded the Society of Medical Anthropology Career Achievement Award in acknowledgment of her career-long contributions to theory and method. See  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: