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Gretchen Kalonji


Gretchen Kalonji currently serves as the Dean of the Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction (IDMR), located at Sichuan University in Chengdu, and operated in collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.   She brings to this work the experience of having served almost four years as the Assistant Director–General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO, where she had responsibility for several large scale international and intergovernmental science programs and placed a strong emphasis on developing collaborations on disaster risk reduction across UNESCO’s areas of competence.  Prior to joining UNESCO, Kalonji held several high-level academic positions, including as Director of International Strategy Development for the 10-campus University of California system (from 2005 – 2010), as Kyocera Professor of Materials Science at the University of Washington (from 1990 – 2005), and as Associate and Assistant Professor of Materials Science at MIT (from 1982 – 1990), where she earned her BSc degree in 1982 and her PhD in 1982.  At IDMR she is focusing on building new interdisciplinary project-based models of integrating research and education on the theme of “Integrated Disaster Sciences and Emergency Management”, as well as on large-scale international alliances focusing on disaster sciences and sustainable development.