Jo da Silva to deliver 9th Brunel International Lecture series

15 May 2012

Jo da Silva, Director of Arup’s International Development team, has been chosen as the lecturer for the ICE’s 9th Brunel International Lecture series.

Jo’s lecture, 'Shifting Agendas: response to resilience - the role of the engineer in disaster risk reduction', launches on 21 May at the Institution of Civil Engineers and calls for a new approach to disasters that prioritises creating resilient communities which are able to respond and adapt to changing circumstances and unexpected catastrophes.

In 2010, 300 million people were affected by disasters, and according to recent studies, the number of people living in cities that are vulnerable to earthquakes and cyclones will reach 1.5 billion by 2050.

Jo’s lecture challenges the traditional definition of civil engineering as ‘the art of directing the great sources of power in Nature for the use and convenience of mankind’. Engineers have a vital role to play in responding to disasters, from the provision of clean water, sanitation, shelter, and the transport infrastructure needed to facilitate delivery of food and medical supplies, to ensuring that we build back better, creating sustainable and resilient communities. Jo argues that it is time for civil engineers to recognise the fundamental role they have to play in reducing the vulnerability of mankind. For more information and dates for the 2013 tour visit

"It is an honour to have been invited to deliver the 9th Brunel Lecture. I welcome this opportunity to share my perspective on the changing landscape of natural disasters and what this might mean for engineers in the future."

- Jo da Silva

Jo is the first woman to give this prestigious lecture, and is the third person from Arup to deliver the Brunel Lecture, following in the footsteps of David Singleton and Peter Head.


  • Jo da Silva

    Jo da Silva will present the 9th Brunel International Lecture series