Since the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), universities have provided research and education through the University Centers of Excellence (COE) program, aiming to make the nation safer and more secure.

In the two decades since 9/11, universities have contributed to critical needs identified in the 9/11 Commission Report, in particular:

•   “The most important failure was one of imagination. … It is therefore crucial to find a way of routinizing, even bureaucratizing, the exercise of imagination.” 

•   “Homeland security assistance should be based strictly on an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities.”

About the Symposium

Organized by CREATE, the first DHS supported university COE, the 9/11 Symposium reflects on the lessons learned from university research on 9/11, terrorism and other homeland security threats, and anticipates how universities can contribute to future efforts to enhance homeland security.

Speakers — homeland security experts drawn from nine universities and DHS — will present key findings in a panel format.  Attendees are invited to submit questions to panelists to promote the type of discussion needed to imagine future threats and to objectively assess the nation’s risks and vulnerabilities along with the interventions that can make our nation safer.

The symposium will be accessible through Webex.   Panels will be moderated by CREATE’s director, Randolph Hall.  Attendees must register in advance by September 10 to obtain a link to attend the symposium.


Agenda (All times are Pacific)

9:30-10:00 am   University Centers: Creation, Goals and Future


Mel Bernstein, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Global Resilience Institute, Northeastern   Bio

Jennifer Foley, Deputy Director, Office of University Programs, DHS Science and Technology Directorate

Detlof von Winterfeldt, Director Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow, CREATE, USC   Bio


10:00-10:20 am   Lessons Learned from 9/11

Adam Rose, Director Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow, CREATE, USC   Bio


10:20-10:50 am   Emerging Biological Threats


Pitu Mirchandani, Chief Scientist, CAOE, ASU   Bio

Juergen Richt, Director, CEEZAD, Kansas State   Bio

Heather Simmons, Director, IIAD, Texas A&M   Bio


10:50-11:20 am   Detecting Threatening Behavior


Carey Rappaport, Deputy Director, ALERT, Northeastern   Bio

Ioannis Kakadiaris, Principal Investigator, BTI, University of Houston   Bio

Boleslaw Szymanski, Principal Investigator, CINA, GMU   Bio


11:20-11:50 am   The Evolution of Terrorist Threat


Eli Berman, Senior Research Fellow, CREATE, UCSD   Bio

William Braniff, Director, START, UMD   Bio

Erroll Southers, Associate Director of International Programs, CREATE, USC   Bio


11:50 am-noon   Summary and Wrap-up

Randolph Hall, Director, CREATE, USC   Bio


Click here to register. Registration is required by Sept. 10 to attend the event.



As the Department of Homeland Security’s first University Center of Excellence, CREATE serves our nation through creation of advanced models and tools for the evaluation of the risks, costs and consequences of threats to human livelihood and through assessment of strategies to mitigate risks and respond to emergencies.  CREATE’s approach is integrated, holistic and impartial, providing independent assessment of hazards, both malevolent and unintentional, including terrorism, accidents, and naturally occurring events.

Event Details

  • Zili Zhou
  • Zakariya Syed
  • Qiming Zhang

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