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2011 Disaster Volunteer Conference

OEM Hosts Disaster Volunteer Conference in Harlem

On Tuesday, May 24, the NYC Citizen Corps Council welcomed more than 200 volunteers to its fifth annual Disaster Volunteer Conference, Enhancing Cross-Cultural Communication, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

The conference celebrated New York City's diverse communities and brought together leaders from the volunteer, faith-based, immigrant, special needs, and academic communities to discuss challenges and how volunteers can play a role in enhancing cross-cultural communication before, during, and after a disaster.

NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Joe Bruno welcomed conference attendees and introduced the keynote speaker, Jonathan Purtle, Program Manager at the Drexel University School of Health, who spoke about Considering Complexity: Language, Culture, Trust and Preparedness.  

Herman Schaffer, Director of Community Outreach at NYC OEM, moderated a panel discussion on the importance of cross-cultural communication in emergency response and recovery, with panelists Commissioner Fatima Shama from the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Tia Dix, Autism Trainer, and Rev. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director of the Interfaith Center of New York.

Thank you to all the individuals and organizations that supported this year's Disaster Volunteer Conference and for the volunteers who attended. We look forward to seeing everyone at next year's Disaster Volunteer Conference. For additional information about the NYC Citizen Corps Council, visit

Check out photos from the event on Facebook