Founded by The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Center facilitates research and interdisciplinary exchanges between Southern Miss faculty and students, as well as policy makers at the community and regional level and both non-governmental and private volunteer organizations. It serves as a clearinghouse for grants and external funding related to policy and resilience studies for Southern Miss Gulf Coast operations and as a catalyst for community outreach and education programs. CPR seeks research that applies to neighboring communities like Gulfport, Mississippi—Mississippi’s second largest city which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The year 2009 was transformative for both the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI) and its local affiliate on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast undertook a year-long project designed to capture the resilience lessons in the post-Hurricane Katrina environment, while utilizing the knowledge gained from the integration of academic research and community stakeholder involvement. With the transition of CARRI from an initiative to a national institute focused on building and disseminating the language of resilience, Southern Miss continues to adapt its agenda based on emergent knowledge, presenting a fresh perspective on local and regional resilience challenges.

In addition to its role in the broader CARRI effort and serving as a resource to promote resilience in the region, the Center will host an annual conference and sponsor the publication of the journal Global Horizons (a biannual publication). The first annual conference, Ghosts of Katrina, was held June 5-6, 2009. Participants included 40 academic and community panelists.