The 9/11 Symposium

The 9/11 Symposium

September 15, 2021

Since the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), universities have provided research and education through the University Centers of Excellence (COE) program, aiming to make the nation safer and more secure.

In the two decades since 9/11, universities have contributed to critical needs identified in the 9/11 Commission Report, in particular:

•   “The most important failure was one of imagination. … It is therefore crucial to find a way of routinizing, even bureaucratizing, the exercise of imagination.” 

•   “Homeland security assistance should be based strictly on an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities.”

About the Symposium

Organized by CREATE, the first DHS-supported university COE, the 9/11 Symposium reflects on the lessons learned from university research on 9/11, terrorism and other homeland security threats, and anticipates how universities can contribute to future efforts to enhance homeland security.

Speakers — homeland security experts drawn from nine universities and DHS — present key findings in a panel format, moderated by CREATE director, Randolph Hall. 

Click here to view the presentation abstracts from the 9/11 Symposium

Click here to view a recording of the Symposium

Links to individual presentations can be found below following each panelist’s name and affiliation.


Panel 1: University Centers: Creation, Goals and Future


Mel Bernstein, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Global Resilience Institute, Northeastern   Bio

Detlof von Winterfeldt, Director Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow, CREATE, USC   Bio

Jennifer Foley, Deputy Director, Office of University Programs, DHS Science and Technology Directorate

Ms. Foley is the Deputy Director, Office of University Programs (OUP).  Through the Department of Homeland Security’s Centers of Excellence, OUP streamlines access to the expertise of the nation’s colleges and universities to address pressing homeland security needs. 

Panel 2: Lessons Learned from 9/11

Adam Rose, Director Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow, CREATE, USC  Presentation   Bio   

Panel 3: Emerging Biological Threats


Pitu Mirchandani, Chief Scientist, CAOE, ASU  Presentation   Bio

Juergen Richt, Director, CEEZAD, Kansas State  Presentation   Bio

Heather Simmons, Director, IIAD, Texas A&M  Presentation   Bio

Panel 4: Detecting Threatening Behavior


Carey Rappaport, Deputy Director, ALERT, Northeastern  Presentation   Bio

Ioannis Kakadiaris, Principal Investigator, BTI, University of Houston  Presentation   Bio

Boleslaw Szymanski, Principal Investigator, CINA, GMU  Presentation   Bio

Panel 5: The Evolution of Terrorist Threat


Eli Berman, Senior Research Fellow, CREATE, UCSD  Presentation   Bio

William Braniff, Director, START, UMD  Presentation   Bio

Erroll Southers, Associate Director of International Programs, CREATE, USC  Presentation   Bio

Summary and Wrap-up

Randolph Hall, Director, CREATE, USC   Bio


For more information on the 9/11 Symposium, contact Jen Sosenko at [email protected].


As the Department of Homeland Security’s first University Center of Excellence, CREATE serves our nation through creation of advanced models and tools for the evaluation of the risks, costs and consequences of threats to human livelihood and through assessment of strategies to mitigate risks and respond to emergencies.  CREATE’s approach is integrated, holistic and impartial, providing independent assessment of hazards, both malevolent and unintentional, including terrorism, accidents, and naturally occurring events.