I attended the tsunami-themed Pacem in Maribus Conference in Thailand where I was slated to be one of the keynote speakers. Thailand is especially interested in tsunamis after its Andaman Coast was ravaged by a particularly devastating one in 2004, killing more than 8,000 people on the southern coast. Pacem in Maribus is Latin for Peace in the Ocean.  The organization is an international forum on sustainable governance of the oceans with experts from countries all around the world.

Visiting the University of Philippines in Manila I met Jolanta and Artessa for a breakfast meeting at a hotel lounge in Manila’s high-rise business district. They were the World Bank officials from D.C. — Artessa is a Filipino structural engineer who speaks with keen articulation and sense of strategic direction. I knew Jolanta from the Istanbul seismic risk-reduction project. It was considered to be one of the most successful programs organized by the World Bank and we had a small, but key, role in the project.