Atmospheric, geologic, and anthropogenic hazards, demographic and socio-economic conditions of cities, and the built environment contribute to the vulnerabilities of cities and pose challenges to governance. This keynote presentation intends to set the stage for identifying these hazards and vulnerabilities for different cities of the world during the following conference sessions addressing the natural and anthropogenic hazards, multi-hazard scenarios, robustness and progressive collapse of structures, and vulnerability assessments. The two lectures on seismic hazard assessment are intended for university students and researchers with sufficient backgrounds in physics, mathematics, and computer literacy. The open sessions are reserved for the presentations of special topics associated with the theme of the day, whereas the working groups intend to gather those individuals who want to pursue their common interests more effectively. The panel discussion at the end of the day should address the current assessment and future directions relevant to the theme of the day. The keynote speaker addressing these issues will possess a broad knowledge of the theme and challenge the congress participants to identify common grounds for use by city planners and governing authorities.