Keynote Speakers



Prof. Eric J. Strauss
Michigan State University, USA

Dr. Eric Strauss is Professor Emeritus of Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University. He received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and his PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining Michigan State, he taught at the University of Kansas where he was the Chair of the Graduate Program in Urban Planning and Indiana University. While at Michigan State University, he was a former director of the URP program. In the School of Planning, Design and Construction. He also was a Visiting Professor at universities in South Korea, Ireland, and Germany. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Panama and to Romania. He was named the “Outstanding Site Visitor” by the Planning Accreditation Board for 2022. He is the current President of the Advisory Academic Council on Signage Research and Education (AACSRE). Dr. Strauss had more than 40 years of experience in planning practice in both the public and private sector. He was a planner for federal and state governments, a city and county planning director, a city attorney, and a consultant to more than 50 organizations, both public and private, on a wide variety of planning related issues. Strauss prepared many comprehensive plans and land use regulations at all levels of detail for many communities.
His current research interests include measuring the impact of climate action plans adopted by local governments and universities as well as policies for sustainability. He has published articles in the fields of renewable energy, climate change and climate refugees.


Speech title "Understanding the Roles of Universities to Respond Climate Change Adaptation in the US: A Review of Internationalization"


Abstract-Climate adaptation involves adopting methods that adjust to the impacts of climate change and exploiting any possible opportunities. In this sense, it doesn't use the same content or the same strategies as climate change mitigation.

The focus of climate adaptation is more on transforming societies and economies by creating new green socio-economic tools. These tools are not to be confused with mitigation strategies. Mitigation strategies aim to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to slow or stop climate change. Before having a sufficient system for mitigation, communities need to be aware of the changing climate, which relates to adaptation. Climate change adaptation is a critical complement to mitigation; both are required to address the causes and consequences of climate change. At this point, this study discusses the roles of universities in climate change adaptation to educate communities where they are.

Universities can change the global community differently through societal impacts, institutional structures, and knowledge delivery. They have a critical role in preparing society to adapt to the impacts of climate disruption by providing research and education around adaptation strategies and science. The UN Agenda 2030 and UNESCO's Education for Sustainable Development initiative have highlighted universities' pivotal role in building a more sustainable society and achieving the well-known Sustainable Development Goals. This study focuses on United States of America (US) colleges or universities to analyze the roles and capacities to respond to climate change. US universities have a very high ability to transform individuals and local communities by three prominent forms of internationalization for climate change: (a) student and staff mobility, (b) transnational education, and (c) the integration of global perspectives into the curriculum. Internationalism is a significant factor in creating global societal awareness about climate change and sustainability. Universities and colleges can contribute to and advance global climate change policy through their research, teaching, community engagement, and public awareness. In addition to integrating climate change into their operations, teaching, outreach, and research, among other areas, their initiatives at the local level have a fundamental impact on the context in which they are embedded.

According to the ED 2021 CAP Plan, the United States experienced a record-breaking 22 natural disasters, each resulting in at least $1 billion in damages, including a record seven linked to landfalling hurricanes or tropical storms in 2020. These extreme weather events experienced across the United States have shown that climate change is affecting communities, school districts, and higher education institutions. There are 4,360 degree-granting institutions in the United States, known as colleges or universities. These may be public or private universities, research universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, or for-profit colleges based on NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics) data for 2020-2021.

The universities have opened a wide range of research opportunities, teaching programs, and funding opportunities related to climate change. Areas of focus include climate impacts on food systems, transportation, hydrology, renewable energy technology and policy, migration and security studies, and governance, among many others. In addition, higher education institutions can also address localized climate impacts and strategies. It allows us to better engage with communities. We can also produce climate adaptation tools, services, and knowledge that can be shared, or provide points of engagement with policy and business. 

In this study, we first prefer to analyze universities' transformative role to understand how they can impact global society. In this context, Internationalism in higher education will be discussed regarding UN climate-related policies, strategies, and tools because the climate crisis will also require some form of international coordination. US universities are internationalizing in many ways, including recruitment of students from around the world, international mobility of domestic students, an international workforce, curricular diversity, research collaborations, global research focus, and global research impact, among many others (De Wit & Altbach, 2021). Second, we will analyze the following transformative factors: Research programs, teaching, public service society, campus operations and infrastructure, institutional structure, policy documents, innovative approaches, climate change education profile, transdisciplinary curricula, and initiatives and networks.

Considering the limitations of the research and the discussions, we highlight some research questions (RQ) as follows: 

- RQ1. What are the institutional factors behind the development of university climate change policies?

- RQ2. What are the motivations for developing climate change policies, and how do these policies relate to the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

- RQ3. How do they influence communities institutionally?

-RQ4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of developing a university climate action plan or similar tool to support the UN Sustainable Goals? Is it important for sustainability performance?

Thus, the study discusses climate-related policies by analyzing educational tools at US colleges and universities



Prof. Vincenzo Belgiorno
University of Salerno, Italy

Full professor of Sanitary Environmental Engineering at University of Salerno since 2005, from July 2018 for 5 years he took over the responsibility as Director of the Campania Water Authority, the largest in Italy. For a three-year period from 2015 he held the role of Advisor to the President of the Campania Region with the task of developing regulatory and administrative proposals for the protection of the environment. He was a consultant to the Italian Parliamentary Commission of inquiry into the waste cycle. He has carried out professional and consultancy activities in many different sectors relating to environmental protection and remediation and he has been responsible for dozens of applied research agreements and environmental services for public bodies and private companies. He is the author or co-author of approximately 400 publications in the sectors of environmental engineering in national and international journals and conference proceedings and associate editor of Desalination and Water Treatment and Global Nest. He is co-owner of 7 applied research patents in the environmental protection sector and over 11,000 citations in international publications with a Hirsch index of 57 (GoogleScholar).



Prof. Eric van Hullebusch
Université Paris Cité, France

Prof. Eric D. van Hullebusch received his PhD (Aquatic Chemistry and Microbiology) from Université de Limoges (France) in 2002. From November 2002 until October 2004 he was a Marie Curie Postdoctoral fellow at Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands) where his research focused on the optimization of anaerobic granular sludge reactors by studying the speciation, bioavailability and dosing strategies of trace metals. In 2005, he was appointed as associate professor in biogeochemistry of engineered ecosystems at Université Paris-Est (France). In 2012, Eric van Hullebusch obtained his Habilitation qualification in Environmental Sciences from Université Paris-Est (France). The title of his Habilitation thesis is “Biofilms in the environment: from anaerobic wastewater treatment to material bioweathering”. From September 2016 until August 2018, he worked at IHE Delft as chair professor in Environmental Science and Technology and head of the Pollution Prevention and Resource Recovery chair group. In September 2018, he joined Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (France) as full professor in Biogeochemistry of engineered ecosystems.