UK Happenings

Patterson School to Hold Virtual Fall Conference Featuring Lt. General Russel Honoré for Keynote Event

General Honoré
The week of events will kick off with retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré’s virtual keynote presentation Monday, Oct. 26, on Zoom. Photo courtesy of Keppler Speakers.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 23, 2020)  The Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky is set to present this year’s virtual fall conference “Preparing for the Unforeseeable: Black Swan Events” during the week of Oct. 26 through 30. 

Each year the Patterson School hosts a conference focusing on a specific region or theme in international relations and examines the issues related to that topic. 

“This year, considering the herculean challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the faculty have selected 'Preparing for the Unforeseeable' as our theme,” said Kathleen Montgomery, Patterson School interim director. “The black swan is an extremely rare event with severe impacts which cannot be predicted beforehand. COVID-19 is certainly one example of such an event but there have been many others. We can be certain that we will face still more in the future.”

The week will kick off with retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré’s virtual keynote presentation from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, on Zoom. Honoré served 37 years in the U.S. Army, including as the commanding officer of Joint Task Force Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. Much of his career was spent providing Department of Defense Support to Civil Authorities and Homeland Defense. 

Honoré became the commanding officer of U.S. First Army in Fort Gillem, Georgia, in 2004, where he coordinated the response to several hurricanes that struck the southeast. After Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August 2005, he was named commanding officer of Joint Task Force Katrina. In that position, he was responsible for coordinating the Department of Defense’s response with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Mississippi, Alabama and his native Louisiana. 

Honoré received wide acclaim for his leadership and management of the crisis and was nicknamed the “Category 5 General.” First Army received the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for its actions.

For more information on the keynote presentation and how to access the Zoom link email

The days following the keynote presentation will feature a panel discussion in each of the Patterson School’s core areas: Diplomacy, Security/Intelligence, International Organizations/Development and International Commerce. Each panel will feature experts in the field focusing on a specific issue relevant to the theme of preparing for the unforeseeable. 

The daily panel discussions featured this year are:

  • Diplomacy: “Diplomacy and Responding to COVID-19”; 
  • Commerce: “Globalization in the Age of Pandemic”;
  • Development: “The Impact of COVID-19 in the Developing World”;  and
  • Security: “Unknown Unknowns.”

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