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Outbreak? Pandemic Risk and Risk Management in the 21st Century

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Date: 14 March 2006
Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, London School of Economics & Political Science
Chair: Professor Bridget Hutter

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required.  For further information, please contact Stephanie Harris s.e.harris@lse.ac.uk| or telephone 020 7849 4635.


  • Professor Peter Baldwin (History, UCLA; author of Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830-1930 and Disease and Democracy: The Industrialized World Faces AIDS)
  • Professor Thomas Abraham (Director of Public Health Media Project, University of Hong Kong; author of Twenty-first Century Plague: The Story of SARS)
  • Professor John Oxford (Scientific Director, Retroscreen Virology Ltd; Barts; Centre for Infectious Disease, London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry).
  • David Frediani (Executive Director of MMC International, a unit of  Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC)).

Bubonic Plague, Cholera, Spanish Flu, SARS, HIV, Avian Flu. Pandemics - past, present and future? The catastrophic threats presented by pandemic scenarios periodically attract the prediction that it is "...not a matter of if, but when" society will confront yet another catastrophe. There is a distinct air of inevitability to pandemic risk. Is now the time to ask some hard questions?

The debate is to provide a public forum for open and forward-looking discussion of the pandemic risks and contingencies that modern societies and governments face.  This represents a unique setting for discussion of the contemporary significance and nature of risk management and regulatory practices.


Peter Baldwin is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of Disease and Democracy: the industrialized world faces AIDS (University of California Press, 2005), Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830-1930 (Cambridge, 1999), and The Politics of Social Solidarity: class bases of the European welfare state, 1875-1975 (Cambridge, 1990).

Professor Thomas Abraham is director of Public Health Media Project, University of Hong Kong. He is a former editor of the South China Morning Post (SCMP). Prior to joining the SCMP, he spent 13 years as a foreign correspondent based in Sri Lanka, the United Nations Office in Geneva, and London for one of India's leading newspapers, The Hindu. Thomas Abraham has worked for the United Nations in Geneva and been a regular commentator on South Asian issues for BBC World Service Television. He is the author of Twenty-first Century Plague: the story of SARS (Hong Kong University Press, 2004).

Professor John Oxford is professor of virology at St Bartholomew's and the Royal London Hospital, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, and also the scientific director of Retroscreen Virology Ltd. He has co-authored two standard texts: Influenza, the Viruses and the Disease with Sir Charles Stuart-Harris and GC Schild and most recently Human Virology, a Text for Students of Medicine, Dentistry and Microbiology published by Oxford University Press. Professor Oxford has also published 250 scientific papers. His research interest is the pathogenicity of influenza, in particular the 1918 Spanish Influenza strain. This research has been featured on Science TV programmes recently in the UK, USA, Germany and Holland.

Mr David Frediani is executive director of MMC International, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC).  During his 25 years with the company, he has held numerous positions in management, client service, industry practices and business development.  MMC is a global professional services firm with annual revenues exceeding $12 billion. It is the parent company of Marsh, the world's leading risk and insurance services firm; Guy Carpenter, the world's leading risk and reinsurance specialist; Kroll, the world's leading risk consulting company; Mercer, a major global provider of human resource and specialty consulting services; and Putnam Investments, one of the largest investment management companies in the United States.