Summer School in Urban Studies and Disaster ManagementCritical Skills for Critical Periods

A Pilot Module

Duke University and the Kyiv School of Economics

July 25-28, 2022


This 4-day intensive program draws from specialists across Duke University to provide insights on the nature, spread, and consequences of violent conflict – of immediate relevance to Ukraine following the Russian invasion that began on February 24, 2022. Participants will gain exposure to a range of topics that will provide both immediate knowledge, and also encourage them to consider areas of practical and academic future study.


Topic areas:

  1. Economics and Conflict 
  2. Neuroimaging Data of Impact of PTSD and Long-Term Stress 
  3. Clinical Approaches to Mitigating Trauma 
  4. Environmental Sciences 



Please, fill the form before Friday, July 18, 17:00 EEST (Kyiv time)


Design and logistics:

  • Hour-long or 75-minute presentations with participant engagement encouraged
  • All presentations will be in English
  • Duke University will provide a certificate of course completion.  The preliminary plan is to provide a certificate to any participant that has been present for 75% of the seminar (i.e. 13 of 18 presentations).
  • Each presenter will have slides/power point that will be available at the time of the presentation on Zoom. 
  • No testing is included, given our desire to provide both intellectual stimulation and reduce overall anxiety and stress.
  • However, each participant will be invited to submit either
    • A “student voices” blog related to Topic 4 (with the possibility of posting on New Security Beat)
    • A “research proposal outline” related to Topic 1 (content may be in English, Russian, or Ukrainian)
  • Please note that all zoom participants will have to submit that registration form to Duke University in order to have access to the sessions 
  • All participation requires password access, which is included in the zoom application process.
  • Conditional on individual faculty approval, slides will be made available to successful participants.



Monday July 25  

16:30 – 17:45 – Intro to satellite night light data (Sultan Muratov, Kaichao Chang & Dr. Charles Becker)   

18:00 – 19:15 – Modeling the emergence, spread, and consequences of conflict (Peter Devine, Dr. Charles Becker) 

19:30 – 20:45 – Using topographic, social, and economic data to predict the onset of war (Peter Devine, Dr. Charles Becker)  

21:00 – 22:15 – Clinical Lead:  Duke Palliative Care (Dr. Anthony Galanos) 

22:30 – 23:45 – Consequences of the 2014 Donbas invasion using district level, yearly luminosity data (Riad Kanj, Dr. Charles Becker)   


Tuesday July 26 

16:00 – 17:30 – Chronic illness in austere conditions (Dr. Diana McNeill) 

17:45 – 19:00 – Intro to landsat and search (eg, Google searches) data (Daisy Xiaoou Zhan)  

20:00 – 21:00 – Neuroimaging Data of Impact of PTSD and Long-Term Stress (Dr. Edna Andrews) 

21:00 – 22:15 – Traumatic brain injury in zones of conflict (Dr. Gerald Grant) 


Wednesday July 27 

16:00 – 17:00 – The Grief Wheel: New Approaches to Working with Grieving People (Dr. Jehanne Gheith)

17:30 – 18:45 – Creating “synthetic regions” for comparative purposes using data from the Bosnian civil war (Stephanie Dodd, Dr. Charles Becker) 

19:00 – 20:15 – Consequences of the 2014 Donbas invasion at the local level and using high frequency data (Riad Kanj, Dr. Charles Becker)   

20:30 – 21:45 – Baseline example: economic activity in a threatened area – Nagorno-Karabakh (Chad Kalil)   

22:00 – 23:15 – Use of propensity score matching to assess economic outcomes (Sultan Muratov, Dr. Charles Becker)   


Thursday July 28 

16:00 – 17:15 – Environmental Sciences ( Dr. Erika Weinthal and Dr. Avner Vengosh)

18:00 – 19:15 – The Bio-Psycho-Social Model of Drug Addiction (Dr. Nicole Schramm-Sapyta) 

19:30 – 20:30 – title TBA (Dr. Joel Meyer)

20.45 – 22.00 – consultation with Dr. Erika Weinthal and Carl Bruch about international environmental law, conflict and peacebuilding; Q&A session.

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About instructors:


1. Economics and Conflict topics 

(Charles Becker, Kaichao Chang, Peter Devine, Stephanie Dodd, Chad KalilRiad Kanj , Sultan Muratov, and Daisy Xiaoou Zhan)


  • • Charles Becker (BA, Grinnell; PhD Princeton) joined the Duke faculty in 2003, where he directed the American Economic Association’s Summer Program and Minority Scholarship Program (2003-2007). He currently directs the MS program in Economics and Computation run jointly by the Departments of Computer Science and Economics. Becker previously taught at CU-Denver, Vanderbilt, and CU-Boulder. In 2007, he was recognized as a lifetime member of the American Economic Association (AEA) for service to the profession; in 2019 he received the AEA’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession’s mentorship award. He received Duke’s equity, inclusion and diversity award in 2008 and graduate faculty mentoring award in 2014.  He has worked in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine almost continuously since 1998. Becker has served on the Kyiv School of Economics’ International Academic Board from 2005 – present.


  • • Kaichao Chang (BA, University of Colorado at Denver and China Agricultural University; MS, Duke University in progress) is a graduate student in Economics and Computation, and has been active in satellite night light research; he also has been a teaching assistant for Prof Becker in Soviet/post-Soviet economic history.


  • • Peter Devine (BA, Notre Dame; MA, Duke University; PhD in progress, George Washington University) will complete his PhD this summer and plans to enter the academic job market. After completing his MS from Duke, he served in the US Navy as an F-18 fighter pilot and later, an instructor in Economics at the US Naval Academy. His research focus includes game theory/political economy and empirical analysis of the spread of war. Uniquely, he has translated military history of the Bosnian civil war into a manageable data set to  analyze the spread of war.


  • • Stephanie Dodd (BS, Duke University; MS in progress, Duke University), currently a rising second year student in the joint Computer Science – Economics MS program, also has been working on the spread and consequences of war. Her award-winning thesis builds on Devine’s work and incorporates satellite night-light data to assess the economic consequences of civil war.


  • • Chad Kalil (BS, University of North Carolina; MS, Duke University) is a recent graduate of the joint Computer Science – Economics MS program. His research includes work on the economic consequences of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno Karabakh conflict, with analysis again based on satellite night light data.


  • • Riad Kanj (BS, Duke University), from Donetsk, Ukraine, is a recent high honors graduate in Economics from Duke University who is currently working with Boston Consulting Group. A native speaker of both Ukrainian and Russian, his thesis focused on an analysis of the economic consequences of the Russian-sponsored invasion of the Donbas in 2014, again using satellite night-light data.


  • • Sultan Muratov (BA in Mathematics, Nazarbayev University; MA in Economics, Duke University) is a research associate working for Prof Charles Becker (who begrudgingly shares him with Prof Emma Zang of Yale University). Sultan has generated a unique regional consistent satellite night-light data set for each of Kazakhstan’s roughly 200 raions from the breakup of the USSR starting in 1992 until the present day. He and Becker are using those data to assess the long-run effects of exposure to ionizing radiation in the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Polygon.


  • • Daisy Xiaoou Zhan (BA in Mathematics, Haverford College; MS in Economics and Computation, Duke University) specializes in environmental economics, and in using both satellite luminosity and landsat data to explore topics such as the emergence of “ghost cities” in China. She is embarking on a PhD in Business at the University of Wisconsin, specializing on real estate an environmental economics.  


2. Neuroimaging Data of Impact of PTSD and Long-Term Stress

(Dr. Edna Andrews, PhD, Dr. Andrew Michael, PhD, Dr. Andrew Spector, PhD, Dr. Gerald Grant, MD)

3. Clinical Approaches to Mitigating Trauma

(Prof. Anthony Galanos, Md. , Prof. Jehanne Gheith , Prof. Diana McNeill, Md.)


  • • Dr. Antony Galanos is Professor of Medicine, Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society, Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Health System Palliative Care. Dr. Galanos is a clinician and researcher with a focus on end of life care. His work improves the hospital setting for persons with life-limiting illness.


  • • Dr. Diana McNeill is Professor of Medicine, Associate Dean, Duke AHEAD, Duke Academy for Health Professions Education and Academic Development, Duke University Medical Center. Dr. McNeill will be presenting on managing patients who struggle with financial, domicile, and food insecurity, as well as managing diabetes in international regions with minimal refrigeration, medication access, and understanding of the disease.


  • • Dr. Edna Andrews is the Nancy & Jeffrey Marcus Distinguished Professor at Duke University, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and the Duke University Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Chair of Linguistics.  Dr. Andrews will share recent findings from neuroimaging and behavioral data on understanding PTSD and outcomes of long-term stress.


  • • Dr. Gerald Grant is the head of Neurosurgery in the Duke University School of Medicine (DUHS).  He is an internationally renowned surgeon and researcher across many pathologies, including work to improve the quality of life and survival of children and young adults with brain tumors, team lead of a group focusing on advanced imaging techniques in epilepsy and Chiari malformations which will transform our ability to diagnose and treat these conditions, and many years of work on decreasing the risk of concussion, which stems from prior military experience, including close collaborations with bioengineering on a novel helmet technology.His presentation will focus on traumatic brain injury acquired in war zones and will present information on specific cases and outcomes.


  • • Dr. Jehanne Gheith is Professor and Chair of  Slavic and Eurasian Studies, Co-Director, Health Humanities Lab, Transitions in Aging, Illness, Wellness.  Dr. Gheith will be presenting on the latest approaches to working with grieving individuals and communities and therapeutic outcomes.


  • • Dr. Nicole Schramm-Sapyta is the Associate Director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and Associate Professor. Dr.Schramm-Sapyta has done extensive work on drug addiction in adolescence and has shown that adolescence is one factor in determining vulnerability.  Her research shows that adolescents are less susceptible to the negative (use-limiting) effects of drugs of abuse, such as hangover, but more susceptible to the rewarding effects (such as the “high”), while being the most vulnerable adolescents if underlying psychopathology, such as anxiety and depression, is present. 


4. Environmental Science

(Prof Erika Weinthal, Prof. Avner Vengosh and Prof. Joel Meyer)


  • • Dr. Erika Weinthal is Professor of Environmental Policy and Public Policy at Duke University. Current areas of Dr. Weinthal’s research include global environmental politics and governance, environmental conflict and peacebuilding, the political economy of the resource curse, and climate change adaptation. Dr. Weinthal’s research spans multiple geographic regions, including the Soviet successor states, the Middle East, South Asia, East Africa, and North America. Dr. Weinthal is author of State Making and Environmental Cooperation: Linking Domestic Politics and International Politics in Central Asia (MIT Press 2002), which received the 2003 Chadwick Alger Prize and the 2003 Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize.


  • • Dr. Avner Vengosh is a Distinguished Professor of Environmental Quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. His current research includes global changes of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water resources due to human intervention and contamination, salinization of water resources in the Middle East and Northern Africa, naturally occurring contaminants (arsenic, fluoride, boron) and radioactivity in water resources, the impact of coal combustion residues on the environment, and the impact of gas drilling and hydro-fracking on the quality of shallow groundwater. In 2019, 2020 and 2021 he was recognized as one of the Web of Science Highly Cited Researchers.


  • • Dr. Joel Meyer is Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown and Sons Associate Professor of Molecular Environmental Toxicology, Duke University. He is also a Director of Graduate Studies, University Program in Environmental Health. Dr. Meyer studies the effects of toxic agents and stressors on human and wildlife health. He is particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms by which environmental agents cause DNA damage, the molecular processes that organisms employ to protect prevent and repair DNA damage, and genetic differences that may lead to increased or decreased sensitivity to DNA damage. Mitochondrial DNA damage and repair, as well as mitochondrial function in general, are a particular focus.


  • • Carl Bruch  is the Director of International Programs at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and the founding President of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association (EnPAx). His work focuses on environmental peacebuilding, environmental governance, adaptation, and environmental emergencies.