Penn Scientists Receive Department of Defense Funding for Antibiotic Countermeasure Development

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Rubin and Teh have been awarded a 5 year contract from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for developing antibiotics against Category A and B Biothreat bacterial agents. We include the official press release below:

The University of Pennsylvania announced today that it has been awarded a new 5 year contract for the Department of Defense Program, Transformational Medical Technologies (TMT) for the discovery and development of antibiotics against Category A and B biothreat bacterial agents. These are bacteria that pose a risk to national security because they (category A)

  • can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person;
  • result in high mortality rates and have the potential for major public health impact;
  • might cause public panic and social disruption; and
  • require special action for public health preparedness.

Or (Category B)

  • are moderately easy to disseminate;
  • result in moderate morbidity rates and low mortality rates; and
  • require specific enhancements of CDC's diagnostic capacity and enhanced disease surveillance.

The University of Pennsylvania may receive up to 17.8 million dollars in support of development efforts under this new Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) contract HDTRA1-10-C-0043.  The principal investigator on this contract is Dr. Harvey Rubin, Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response (ISTAR). For more information on ISTAR, visit

About the Defense Threat Reduction Agency
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) was founded in 1998 to integrate and focus the capabilities of the Department of Defense (DoD) that address the threat by weapons of mass destruction (WMD). DTRA’s mission is to safeguard the United States and its allies from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive WMDs by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat and mitigate its effects. DTRA combines DoD resources, expertise, and capabilities to ensure the United States remains ready and able to address present and future WMD threats. For more information on DTRA, visit

About Transformational Medical Technologies (TMT)
TMT was created by DoD to protect the Warfighter from emerging and genetically engineered biological threats by discovering and developing a wide range of medical countermeasures through enhanced medical research, development, and test and evaluation programs. The TMT Program Office is matrixed from the Joint Science and Technology Office—DTRA and Joint Program Executive Office—Chemical and Biological Defense with oversight from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. For more information on TMT, visit

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The ISTAR-NSF-NSA Workshop on the 'Mathematical Foundations of Open Systems'

ISTAR, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Security Agency (NSA) recently held an invitation-only workshop on the 'Mathematical Foundations of Open Systems'. This workshop hosted international experts in various fields including computer science, information science, mathematics, computational biology and others, and provided a platform for discussion of the current state of knowledge in open systems in order to chart a research path going forward.

Specifically, the workshop addressed the need for a logical/mathematical foundation for modeling the behavior of dynamic open systems that evolve over time through self-organization, regulation, and adaptation to changing environments and structures. Such a framework should provide a unified approach for obtaining an advanced understanding of natural systems, the ability to fix and modify them, and to design cyber physical systems (CPS) in principled ways using new notions of control and coordination.

We invite you to visit the workshop website for more information.

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Announcing the Biosecurity at BIO Conference - a PGS-ISTAR-BIO Collaboration
May 5-6, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois

It is our pleasure to announce that the recently concluded Biosecurity at BIO Conference was warmly received. The event was held on May 5-6, 2010 and co-located with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) 2010 International Convention (May 3-6 in Chicago, Illinois). The conference, which was organized by the Partnership for Global Security (PGS) and the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response in cooperation with BIO, represented a unique opportunity to address biosecurity issues at the BIO International Convention, which averages 15,000-17,000 attendees each year. We welcome you to our Events archive where you can learn more about the conference.

Agenda items included a General Session featuring Obama administration officials discussing its bioscience and biosecurity priorities. Additional panels focused on globalizing pubic health and biosurveillance, public-private partnerships for medical countermeasures, strategies to prevent biological threats, personnel reliability and infrastructure security, and the convergence of emerging technologies. Please peruse the conference agenda list below. Pictures from the 2-day event can also be viewed here.

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ISTAR Director Dr. Harvey Rubin to Present Keynote Address at the National Centre for Biosecurity's 3rd Annual Biosecurity Symposium

Dr. Harvey Rubin is one of the keynote speakers of the National Centre for Biosecurity's 3rd Annual Biosecurity Symposium that addresses the theme of 'Global Health Security'. The National Centre for Biosecurity is a joint center of two major universities in Australia - the Australian National University and the University of Sydney. The symposium will be held February 1-2, 2010 at the campus of the Australian National University in Canberra. Among the topics to be discussed are surveillance tools required for the 21st century, the ethics of infectious disease emergencies, and regulating biotechnology in an age of rapid development. Please view the symposium announcement or the symposium website for more detailed information.

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Announcing the Creation of the Public Emergency Portal Solution Website that is Dedicated to Public H1N1 Preparedness

In 2006, Ninth Wave Media developed the Public Emergency Portal Solution (PEPS) to meet a Dept. of Homeland Security Public Awareness objective. In partnership with Encyclopedia Britannica and with input from ISTAR, Ninth Wave Media also produces content bringing its editorial experience to PEPS. As an enhancement to the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania's (UWSEPA) Connect211 website, PEPS was first launched in Sept. 2009, and is aimed at enhancing public preparedness of H1N1. Please visit USPEPS for more information (for example where your nearest pharmacy is and where to get the flu shot, what the latest H1N1 advisories are, etc.)

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The National Academies of Sciences Sponsored a Meeting of Representative Scientists from the U.S., France and Iran to Promote Greater Understanding of Scientific Ethics

In early November 2009, the U.S. and French National Academy of Sciences convened a meeting in Provence, France of five high-level/representative scientists each from France and Iran, as well as eight from the U.S. The meeting served to promote greater understanding between the respective countries in terms of the goals, motivations and aspirations of scientific endeavor, and to seek greater engagement in matters relating to scientific ethics and codes of conduct. The participants included chair persons, directors and professors from universities in Tehran, Qom, Paris, as well as representative U.S. scientists from Georgia Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), University of Texas, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania (ISTAR Director Dr. Harvey Rubin). Together the participants issued a Statement of the Participants which detailed the common areas of understanding reached at the meeting.

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Highlighting the Global Biosecurity Bulletin, a Publication by Our Collaborator the Partnership for Global Security

We invite you to peruse the newest edition (June 2009) of the Global Biosecurity Bulletin, which details the latest news, developments, policy work and research surrounding the field of biosecurity and biologic threat reduction. The publication is a product of one of our collaborator - the Partnership for Global Security, led by Kenneth Luongo who is formerly a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy for Nonproliferation Policy and the Director of the Office of Arms Control and Nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of Energy. We also link here their publication webpage which lists past publications under the Biological Threat Reduction Project.

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ISTAR Director Dr. Harvey Rubin's Take on the H1N1 Outbreak - Interviews with NPR and ABC News

Dr. Harvey Rubin was recently interviewed on the H1N1 outbreak by National Public Radio (NPR) as well as ABC News (6abc of Philadelphia). We welcome you to listen in on the discussions.

NPR (May 4th 2009)
We get a reality check on the H1N1 flu. Why do health officials consider it an emergency, how is it likely to evolve, and what are your risks of contracting it? Our guests include SARAH BASS from Temple University and HARVEY RUBIN of the University of Pennsylvania. Listen to the mp3.

ABC News (May 1st 2009)

Dr. Rubin also participated in an H1N1 forum organized by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and, which took place in Philadelphia on May 4, 2009. and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia organized this forum as a platform on which officials in the Delaware Valley discussed local and state actions on the outbreak. Please click here for the program's official brochure.

The key participants of the H1N1 Forum organized by and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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ICSR April/May 2009 Update

We invite you to peruse ICSR's April/May 2009 Update which details the progress made by the center, especially the success of the policy report Countering Online Radicalisation - A Strategy for Action. The report can be downloaded free of charge at

ICSR will also soon launch a major research project on radicalisation and de-radicalisation in prisons – a pressing issue which many policymakers are currently struggling with.

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University of Pennsylvania to Host Symposium on Government and Business National Security Risks

The University of Pennsylvania proudly presents “Convergent National Security Risks to Government and Business: A Symposium” sponsored by Penn’s International Relations Program and Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response. The event will take place at the Inn at Penn, 3600 Sansom St., Philadelphia, on the Penn campus on Wednesday, April 15, 9 am – 4:30 pm. The keynote will be given by U.S. Rep. Joseph Sestak of Pennsylvania at 11:30 am–12:30 pm. Security/risk management professionals from the federal government, corporate sector, investment community, academia, law enforcement and emergency response agencies will be attending this important symposium. We hope you will attend the public sessions as well. Please visit our Events page for more information, and RSVP to our event organizer Jack Jarmon at 215-898-0452 or if you would like to attend.

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National Academy of Sciences Held Panel Discussion of the New National Academies Report 'Countering Biological Threats: Challenges for the Department of Defense's Nonproliferation Program beyond the Former Soviet Union'

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) invited the public and press to a panel discussion of the newly released report with select committee members of the report team. Appearing together with program director Glenn Schweitzer were Drs. Adel Mahmoud (committee chair, Princeton University), Claire Cornelius (US Army Veterinary Corps) and ISTAR director Harvey Rubin. The event was held on Friday, March 13th 2009, 10 – 11:30am in the NAS Members’ Room. The panel outlined the main conclusions of their report and expanded on a few crucial points, as well as fielded questions by the press.

Among the focus of the discussions was the need to view national security in light of the more modern concept of sustainable security - that security should be 'defined by the contours of a world gone global and shaped by our comman humanity' - this being able to mould the manner of our outreach to other countries. The panel also stressed that even though biosecurity is facing unprecedented challenges in terms of the ease with which dangerous pathogens can be obtained or produced, there are important 'toolboxes' that stakeholders can use to address issues of human resources, policy, and physical infrastructure in biosecurity. These include local needs assessment tools, surveillance and reporting tools, as well as education and responsibility tools. Indeed, there are numerous toolboxes formulated by various governments and NGOs to date, such as the Australia Group Toolbox on Export Controls, the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) Toolbox, the Interpol Toolbox for International Police Cooperation, and the WHO Toolbox for issues of international health regulations. Governments may also request assistance from the United Nations, based on the Security Council 1540 Toolbox, to help draft national legislation and regulations, implement regulations, administrative practices, and/or technical measures, provision of detection equipment and the training on the use thereof, as well as other relevant items. Other key points are as below, taken from the NAS broadcast page.

  • the Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) should engage in 10 countries outside FSU as US lead or as support for interagency effort.
  • BTRP should partner with USAID and World Bank as well as with DOS, CDC, USDA, and WHO.
  • DOD should streamline chain of command and strengthen coordination with GEIS and combatant commands.
  • Support of research is important, even in poor countries.
  • Comprehensive evaluation of transferability of TADR is needed.
  • Risk analyses and improved metrics should help measure reduction of biothreats.

We invite you to peruse the principal conclusions of the report in this 'Report In Brief' document released by the NAS, and purchase the full report here. University of Pennsylvania/ISTAR's website visitors will receive a 25% discount offer on orders of the prepublication edition or on pre-orders of the forthcoming final edition of the book when they use source code AGED09. Below are some pictures from the event.

ISTAR Director, Dr. Rubin, together with Drs. Glenn Schweitzer, Adel Mahmoud and Claire Cornelius
Dr. Glenn Schweitzer, the program director, starting off the event.
The committee members opened up the event with a brief introduction and summary of their report.
Dr. Adel Mahmoud answering a reporter's question on the experiences of the BTRP team in various countries.
Dr. Harvey Rubin articulating the need for development of key IT infrastructure in biosecurity.

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The United Kingdom House of Lords Select Committee on Intergovernmental Organisations Releases Its Debate Transcript on the Final Report 'Diseases Know No Frontiers'

The Final Report of the former Lords Select Committee on Intergovernmental Organisations, Diseases Know No Frontiers (HL Paper 143-I, released July 21, 2008) was debated in the House on 24 February 2009. The debate on the Report was very constructive and supportive. Baroness Thornton, in answering the debate, described the important contribution that the Committee's work had made. The link to the debate can be found online at here. We also link Dr. Rubin's testimony to the Committee which he presented on Jan. 8, 2008.

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Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies and Vice-Principal at King’s College London, has won the prestigious 2009 Lionel Gelber Prize for his book 'A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East.'

Dr. Lawrence Freedman

We are very pleased to announce that Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of Britain’s most distinguished historians and part of ICSR's Academic Leadership, has won the 2009 Lionel Gelber Prize for his book 'A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East', published by Doubleday Canada.

'If you were to select only one book to understand the turmoil and confusion of events in the Middle East over the past 30 years, this is a perfect choice,' said Noah Rubin, Chair of the Lionel Gelber Prize, in announcing the winner today. Rubin is grandnephew of Lionel Gelber, the Canadian scholar, author and diplomat renowned for his work in international relations.

Lawrence Freedman will accept the award in Toronto on Tuesday 31 March 2009 at 18.00 at the Munk Centre where he will deliver the annual Lionel Gelber Lecture.

Freedman’s book examines three decades of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, reaching back to the presidency of Jimmy Carter. 'A Choice of Enemies is an epic work of scholarship and analysis, covering a huge swath of U.S. foreign policy engagement in revelatory detail,' said Jury Chair George Russell. 'Lawrence Freedman depicts America's Middle East entanglements in lucid, magisterial prose as an absorbing mixture of accident, personality, idealistic intentions and realpolitik, mostly purposeful and sometimes gone awry. This book is an indispensable guide to the most strategically contested and volatile region in the world.'

Freedman has been professor of War Studies at King’s College in London since 1982. He is the official historian of the Falklands War and author of the prize-winning Kennedy’s Wars. Before joining King’s College he held research appointments at Nuffield College at Oxford and the Royal Institute for International Affairs. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1996.

On behalf of the ICSR consortium, ISTAR and it's associates, we would like to extend our congratulations to Dr. Freedman for this marvellous achievement. For the full Gelber press release, please click here.

Dr. Harvey Rubin and Dr. Lawrence Freedman at an event late last year

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National Academies Press publishes “Countering Biological Threats: Challenges for the Department of Defense’s Nonproliferation Program Beyond the Former Soviet Union

We are pleased to announce the publication of the above-mentioned report by the National Academies Press, which details the findings of the Committee on Prevention of Proliferation of Biological Weapons in States Beyond the Former Soviet Union (Office for Central Europe and Asia; National Research Council) of which Dr. Harvey Rubin is a member. The report offers a comprehensive look at the new biological capabilities of an increasing number of nations outside the former Soviet Union, their capacities to counter biological threats, and the recommendations for policy-makers tackling this strategic situation. University of Pennsylvania/ISTAR's website visitors will receive a special 25% discount offer on orders of the prepublication edition or on pre-orders of the forthcoming final edition of the book when they use source code AGED09. Please go to the report catalog page for orders.

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ISTAR Director Co-Authors Article on International Compact for Infectious Diseases in Current Science Journal

Dr. Harvey Rubin, together with Dr. C. Kameswara Rao (Foundation for Biotechnology Awareness and Education, Bangalore, India), authored the article entitled 'An enforceable international compact for
infectious diseases: strategies to operationalize new initiatives to strengthen global health
.' The article delved into the importance of international collaborations and communications in tackling infectious diseases. We hereby provide the link to the article at Current Science website.

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ICSR Releases New Report 'Countering Online Radicalisation'

We are pleased to inform you that ICSR’s latest policy report 'Countering Online Radicalisation' has now been released. The report is the result of the first systematic effort to bring together industry, experts and government on the issue of online radicalization, and sets out a truly innovative approach to this issue. Dr. Thomas Hegghammer of Harvard University described it as ‘essential reading for policymakers and analysts worldwide.' As part of the ICSR consortium, we are confident the report will be highly influential in shaping policy in this important area, and thus contribute to ICSR’s mission of addressing the challenge of radicalisation and political violence. Please visit ICSR's website for the report.

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ICSR-ISTAR Luncheon at Bellevue Hotel Restaurant, Philadelphia, Feb. 26, 2009

We were honored to have Henry Sweetbaum at a special ICSR-ISTAR luncheon which was held at the Bellevue Hotel in Center City Philadelphia. Henry was present with a gift of a replica of the statue of Ben Franklin that stands in front of Franklin Field at Penn to express appreciation for all that Henry has done for the ICSR consortium. In presenting the gift, Harvey Rubin quoted Franklin who is reported to have said that “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” and compared Henry’s involvement in ICSR and ISTAR as a true investment in knowledge.  

Henry then discussed the missions and activities of ISCR ( including the Atkins Fellow program where young leaders from Israel and the Arab world develop their ideas on how to further peace and understanding in the Middle East through research, debate and constructive dialogue in a neutral political environment, the soon to be released report on the use of the internet in countering radicalization and study on Radicalisation and De-Radicalisation in Prisons - Lessons from 12 Countries. We were fortunate to host these special guests who represent both the government and private sectors in Philadelphia: Pedro Ramos, David Morse, B.J. Graham-Rubin, Nora Eisenhower, Frank Luchak, John Coogan, Jerry Wind, Bob Giegengack, Steph Rosenfeld, Jonathan Saidel, Ken Trujillo, Michael Matza, and Gail Balph Gordon. For pictures of the event please click here.

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ISTAR Director's Opinion Piece on the "World at Risk" Report

ISTAR would like to bring to your attention a guest column by Dr. Harvey Rubin that appeared in the Dec 9 issue of the Daily Pennsylvanian, commenting on the recently released report "World at Risk" from the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. We would also like to provide the extended version of Dr. Rubin's piece, available here.

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New Scientist - Eleven Experts from Diverse Fields Advocate Priority Areas for the Next President of the United States

The New Scientist probed the minds of eleven prominent scientists from various fields, and highlights their thoughts as to what should be addressed in issues ranging from energy, healthcare and education, to innovation, medicine and defense. The scientists include Drs. Peter Agre, Ray Kurzweil, Marion Nestle, Matthew Chapman, Harvey Rubin, Eric Chivian, Jonathan Moreno, Chris Mooney, Paul Davies, Laura Grego and Sean Carroll. The article can be viewed here.

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ICSR Director Holds Seminar on 'Muslim Radicalization in Europe at Penn

We were pleased to host Dr. Peter Neumann, Director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), for a seminar presentation entitled 'Muslim Radicalisation in Europe' on October 17th, 2008 at the Penn Law School. In the session, Dr. Neumann delved into the historical aspects of Muslim immigration into Europe and examined the various immigrant groups as well as their unique characteristics concerning radicalization as well as interactions with their local communities. Dr. Neumann possesses tremendous experience and expertise in this area, and he has previously served at various committees and boards related to terrorism and security, and has authored several books including Britain's Long War (2003) which provided a comprehensive assessment of British strategy in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Below are some thumbnail pictures from the event (please click for enlarged photos):

ISTAR Director, Dr. Rubin, gives the welcome note and introduces Dr. Neumann
Dr. Neumann discusses the history of Muslim immigration into Europe.
He further delves into unique characteristics of various immigrant groups and mechanisms of radicalization.

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ICSR Future Action Series Presentation by Richard Barrett, Head of U.N. Al Qaeda Monitoring Unit

Aug. 21, 2008 - The International Center for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR, for which ISTAR is one of its founding organizations) recently held one of its Future Action Series Seminar at the Penn Club in New York. We had the pleasure of hosting guest speaker Richard Barrett, Coordinator of the United Nations' Al-Qaida/Taliban Monitoring Team, and he presented his views on the current status of Al Qaeda. Barrett outlined the conclusions of his paper 'Seven Years After 9/11: Al-Qaida's Strengths and Vulnerabilities,' published as part of the seminar series, presenting a nuanced evaluation of the organization's current ability to assert itself in the international arena. He concluded that Al-Qaida is severely weakened internationally since 2001 but increasingly assertive in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, offering several suggestions for further curtailing the organization's strength. The event is part of our efforts at engaging strategic threat issues academically and attracting representatives from diverse fields in their discussions. Barrett's report represents his personal views and is not necessarily shared by the United Nations.

Richard Barrett's paper is available for download or purchase at ICSR's website. For more information on upcoming events of the Future Action Series please visit ICSR's seminar infopage. We provide a link to the Reuters news coverage of the event.

Below are some thumbnail pictures from the event (please click for enlarged photos):

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First International Conference on Radicalization and Political Violence

Jan. 17, 2008 -- The International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) is a unique partnership between the University of Pennsylvania, King's College (London, England), the Regional Center on Conflict Prevention (Amman, Jordan), and the Interdisciplinary Center (Herzliya, Israel). ICSR's objective is to combine scholarly insight and political foresight in addressing the challenges and threats we face today from political and religious extremists. Interestingly, ICSR is the first collaboration between Arab and Israeli academic institutions.

ICSR held the First International Conference on Radicalization and Political Violence in London on 17-18 January 2008. Close to 100 senior policy makers, scholars, journalists and practitioners from five continents and more than 20 countries took part in the conference. Keynote speeches were given by:  Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, UK ; Senator Chuck Hagel, United States Senate; Vice-President Francisco Santos Calderon, Vice-President of Colombia; H.E. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Rt Hon Terry Davis, Secretary-General, Council of Europe. Panelists included: Frank Gardner, BBC; H.E. Sadig Al Mahdi, former Prime Minister of Sudan; Prof Olivier Roy, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris; H.E. Garret Fitzgerald, former Prime Minister of Ireland; Shiraz Maher, former member of Hizb-ut Tahrir; Peter Bergen, CNN; Abdullah Anas, former mujahid; Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6; H.E. Andres Pastrana, former President of Colombia; Dan Benjamin, Brookings Institution and former US National Security Council.

Dr. Harvey Rubin of ISTAR had the pleasure of serving as the Chairman of the summary session at the end of the conference where the reports of the working groups were presented. 

Below are some thumbnail pictures of the London Conference (please click for enlarged photos):

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ISTAR Director Presented Evidence on Infectious Diseases and Control to the UK House of Lords

Jan. 8, 2008 -- The Ad Hoc Committee on Intergovernmental Organisations (a Select Committee of the House of Lords, the Upper Chamber of the British Parliament) undertook an inquiry into the effectiveness of action carried out through intergovernmental organisations, of which the UK is a member, to control the global spread of communicable diseases. The present inquiry was focused on an in-depth examination of action through intergovernmental organisations to control the global spread infectious diseases generally and of Avian Influenza, HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis in particular. The Committee assessed the overall effectiveness of intergovernmental action in these fields and to explore the synergy with which the various bodies involved are operating. Our Director, Dr. Harvey Rubin, was invited to present current situations on infectious diseases and control, and delve into the utility of the International Compact for Infectious Diseases. Please feel free to peruse Dr. Rubin's testimony.

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A Partnership for Global Security: Penn Professor Among Six Experts to Outline Plan for Worldwide Biosecurity

Nov. 16, 2007 -- Dr. Harvey Rubin, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response, is among six internationally recognized experts who have authored a five-point roadmap for the global community to enhance worldwide biosecurity. The experts recommend that these five priorities be undertaken through immediate, action-oriented initiatives on an international scale.
The roadmap, “A Consensus Statement of Priority Actions for the Promotion of Global Biosecurity,” recommends greater international communication and cooperation to combat the rising threat of pandemic, epidemic and endemic infectious diseases which threaten personal, national and international security.  It is an outgrowth, in part, of Rubin and ISTAR’s work on a Global Compact for Infectious Disease, which began on the Penn campus a year ago.
“We know with great certainty that the deliberate spread of infectious diseases is one option for terrorists and is a major security concern,” said Rubin, professor of medicine, microbiology and computer science in addition to his role at ISTAR.  “However, non-deliberate spread is more likely and also constitutes a severe threat to security.  The global community is capable of resolving complex and sometimes overlooked international issues, as it has with the prohibition of land mines.  This must happen again with regard to biological threats.”
The priority actions include:
• The development of an international shared database on global biological holdings, research facilities and infectious disease patterns. 
• Improved education and elevated awareness among the scientific, academic and policy communities of the nature of biological threats.
• Greater interdisciplinary coordination and information sharing in support of the improvement of global biosecurity, including a yearly global convention on biosecurity featuring a broad cross section of life sciences stakeholders. 
• An open dialogue between the public and private sectors on the risks posed by the potential misapplication of biological materials, while emphasizing the need to protect the scientific and economic value created in the biotechnology and life sciences fields. 
• The promotion of globally accepted compliance standards and best practices with the integration of law enforcement to enhance the quality, rapidity and effectiveness of efforts to prevent and respond to biological dangers.
“Some of these actions are best undertaken by governments and some can be best implemented through international government organizations and non-governmental organizations,” Rubin said.  “However, these priority issues should be integrated through a mechanism that links them together and facilitates action toward their goals, for example, through a Global Compact or similar global initiative.”
The consensus statement is the result of an October international workshop organized by the Partnership for Global Security and the Landau Network-Centro Volta, two international, non-partisan groups of scientists and policy makers whose mission is greater global security in an age of weapons of mass destruction, biological weapons and terrorism.
The signers of this statement intend to distribute this document at the Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference to be held in December 2008.  Following the event, the signers will encourage governments, non-governmental experts and international governmental organizations to begin to act immediately on these priorities.
The statement’s authors are Rubin; Gerald Epstein and David Heyman, co-directors of the Biological Threat Reduction Forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.; Kenneth Luongo, executive director of the Partnership for Global Security; Maurizio Martellini, secretary general of the Landau Network-Centro Volta; and Barry Kellman, professor of law at DePaul University.  
The complete text of the “Consensus Statement of Priority Actions for the Promotion of Global Biosecurity" is available at
Results of the October international workshop organized by the Partnership for Global Security and the Landau Network-Centro Volta are available at

Media contact:  Jordan Reese at 215-573-6604 or

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