Newswise — HOUSTON, TX – The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) will gather a panel of thought leaders to discuss innovative ways to create resources needed to help communities prepare for, withstand, and recover from disasters, like Hurricane Harvey.

The panel discussion, which is open to the public, will take place Wednesday, September 12, from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Brown Auditorium (1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX, 77005).

“Significant resources, especially financial, will be essential to rebuilding our infrastructure after natural disasters like Harvey. We must ensure our communities develop more resilience,” says Dr. Gavin Dillingham, program director for HARC.  “Extreme weather events cannot be prevented, and climate science indicates historic events such as Hurricane Harvey will become more chronic and acute, so we must advance our knowledge about resilience,” he adds.

Panelists will focus on innovative strategies that combine public and private financing to help communities better absorb and rebound from disasters. They will also address how communities change conditions, strengthen systems, and tackle inequities, to become more resilient.

 “Since Hurricane Harvey, HARC has introduced an initiative called the Upper Texas Gulf Coast Community Adaptation & Resilience Alliance (CARA), which aims to build partnership in the region to strengthen communities’ resilience to future disasters,” says Lisa Gonzalez, president of HARC. “Figuring out how to pay for the creation of climate-resilient infrastructure, both traditional and nature-based, is a big part of that. By hosting this event and bringing in the nation’s top experts in the field, we will foster dialogue, creative ideas and new partnerships to put us all on a positive path moving forward.”

The public event will feature an interactive “fishbowl” discussion followed by a cocktail reception. Tickets available now and may be purchased online at Thanks to the support of the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation, educators and students receive complimentary admission.

Panelists include: Shannon Cunniff, Director, Coastal Resilience Jose Peralta – Director, AON Risk Solutions

Jamie Rubin – CEO, Meridiam North America Peter Schultz, PhD – Vice President, ICF Stacy Swann – CEO and Founding Partner, Climate Finance Advisors

Moderators include: Shalini Vajjhala, PhD – Founder & CEO, re:focus Partners Gavin Dillingham, PhD -- Program Director, Clean Energy Policy

About the Houston Advanced Research Center HARC is a nonprofit research hub providing independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers. Its research activities support the implementation of policies and technologies that promote sustainability based on scientific principles. HARC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization building a sustainable future in which people thrive and nature flourishes. For further information, contact HARC at (281) 364-6000 or visit You can also connect with us via Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Like or follow @HARCresearch.

About the People and Nature Speaker Series The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) is a nonprofit research hub that works with partners to find solutions to problems by balancing environmental protection, economic well-being, and social equity. HARC's People and Nature Speaker Series brings nationally recognized experts and the public together to talk openly from multiple viewpoints about issues facing our growing region. The primary goal of such a program is to stimulate discussion and understanding and inspire action and cooperation among our region’s leaders and community members. Thanks to the generous support of the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation, educators and students receive complimentary admission to 2018 Speaker Series events.

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