Featured Report: World Disasters Report 2015

Featured Article: Local partners undervalued in humanitarian work – International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“Other crises where local people have taken the lead include the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Nepal earthquakes this year, IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy wrote in a foreword to the annual report.”

Local responders are effective not just because they are there when a disaster hits, but because they know how things work and can identify the causes of problems, he added.

“They are uniquely placed to find solutions that reduce underlying risks because of their understanding of local contexts – of weather patterns, of community leaders, of vulnerabilities and of sources of strength,” he wrote.

“That expertise can be harnessed to make communities more resilient to future threats, ” he said.

For more information, check World Disasters Report 2015 (IFRC)

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Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: A Perspective from International Geneva

The importance of collaboration between different actors in an era of complex and interconnected challenges, where local problems increasingly have global dimensions and global solutions impact at the local level. The perspective of International Geneva looks at the SDG’s of this agenda.

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Humanitarian Newsletter: July 14, 2016

Read the latest IIHA Newsletter for an update on the 2016 Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) Annual Meeting at Fordham University in New York, news about the recent honors awarded to CIHC President and IIHA Founder Kevin M. Cahill, M.D., our World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) Round-up, and our monthly Humanitarian Innovation Corner. This edition also includes humanitarian news, events, and opportunities, and features the reunions, publications, articles, and accomplishments of our incredible alumni!

This will be the last IIHA Newsletter of the summer semester. The Newsletter will resume publication in September. For the latest news, events, and opportunities, follow our blog and our Facebook and Twitter platforms. Have a great summer!

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Humanitarian Innovation Corner – July 2016

Following on from the IIHA and HTH’s recent participation in HumTech2016 alongside representatives from OCHA, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Microsoft, and MIT Boston, IIHA Innovation was invited to another series of plenaries in high level events throughout the month of June.

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Representing the IIHA and HTH at the 2016 Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) Annual Meeting at Fordham University in New York, Giulio Coppi joined H.E. Oh Joon, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN and President of ECOSOC; Stephen Browne, Co-Director, Future UN Development System (FUNDS) Project; and Lesley Bourns, Policy Analysis and Innovation Section, OCHA, in the final plenary discussion about the Takeaways from the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS).

IIHA Innovation also accepted the opportunity to join the American Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in a session for the 48th International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) dedicated to humanitarian technology. Over the next few months, High Tech Humanitarians (HTH) will be implementing a series of activities and projects, and is currently gathering applications from groups of volunteers worldwide to help shape the Humanitarian Labs of the future on the HTH platform during a Summer of Open Design. Connect with gcoppi@fordham.edu if you want to know more!

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Fordham Hosts 2016 ACUNS Annual Meeting

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Brendan Cahill welcomes audience members to Fordham University

Last month, Fordham University had the honor of hosting the 2016 Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) Annual Meeting – an event that coincided with the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs’ (IIHA) 48th International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA). The ACUNS Annual Meeting, “Meeting the Challenges of Development and Dignity,” explored a myriad of topics across the spectrum of humanitarian affairs and international development, including justice, security, human rights, dignity, gender equality, education, international cooperation, conflict prevention and reconciliation. Throughout the conference, these themes were contextualized within the current global landscape, particularly given the early challenges faced in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the recent World Humanitarian Summit that brought together United Nations Member States, Heads of State and Governments, and representatives from civil society, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to chart the future course of humanitarian action.

The Annual Meeting was opened by ACUNS Chair Lorraine Elliott, IIHA Executive Director Brendan Cahill, and Fordham University Provost Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., who offered welcome remarks and an introduction to familiarize attendees with not only the work of ACUNS, but also the well suited location of Fordham University in New York – a University bolstered by its Jesuit mission and ultimate commitment to social justice.

Photo by Dana Maxson

Jan Eliasson (Photo by Dana Maxson)

UN Deputy Secretary General and former Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC) Board Member Jan Eliasson delivered the Keynote Address, “The United Nations in Today’s and Tomorrow’s Global Landscape.” In his address, Eliasson described his role as Deputy Secretary General: “to reduce the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be [which] won’t happen overnight.” Citing particular factors that can help the international community deal with today’s current challenges, Eliasson highlighted the evolving trend and essential need for women’s full empowerment and the advantageous power of youth. Eliasson emphasized that “rather than thinking what can we do for youth, we should also be asking the question, what can we do with youth.” In addition to the enormous potential of women’s empowerment and youth engagement, Eliasson addressed the importance of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as they provide the groundwork for horizontal development, especially in the crucial areas of knowledge, science, technology, health and sustainable energy. According to Eliasson, the word “together” may be the most important word in the world today. Nations must work together in order to achieve universal goals, such as conflict prevention and reconciliation. After all, “we are all developing countries,” Eliasson reminded the audience. He noted that it may not be easy in the short run, “but in the long run, closing up the world is much more dangerous than opening up the world.”

The following day, H.E. Ibrahim Gambari gave the John W. Holmes Lecture, “Security and Justice at a Crossroads: The Future of Global Governance.” Gambari began the lecture by describing the concept of “just security,” the fusion of global security and justice which “aims to forge a mutually supportive global system of accountable, fair, and effective governance and durable peace.” He stressed the importance of both security and justice “if humanity is not only to survive but to thrive with dignity.” With terrorism at an all-time high, battle deaths at a 25-year high, the number of refugees and displaced persons at a level not seen in 60 years, and the continuing presence of grave human rights violations and discrimination against women, children, and minorities, Gambari emphasized that “the world [has] approached a critical crossroads: both global security and justice face severe, in some areas unprecedented threats and challenges.” While acute crises and conflicts can often detract from long-term political culpability, Gambari believes the main foundational problem of security and justice today is rooted in the uncertain, weak, and corrupt governance at national, regional and global levels, which have time and again been “a gateway to insecurity and injustice.” In order to achieve global systemic change, UN Member States, global civil society and international civil servants must all work together, according to Gambari. Citing Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful maxim, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Gambari underlined the need for international cooperation in creating a just and secure world. Gambari is currently the co-chair for the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance, a joint project of The Hague Institute for Global Justice and the Stimson Center. He previously held positions as the Permanent Representative of Nigeria, and as Foreign Minister of Nigeria, respectively.

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Gonzalo Sánchez-Terán discusses education in emergencies and the SDGs

Throughout the meeting, IIHA and CIHC staff were frequent contributors. The plenary on “Education as the Engine of Development and Dignity” featured, among other panelists, Gonzalo Sánchez-Terán (IDHA 16), CIHC Deputy Humanitarian Programs Director. Sánchez-Téran spoke knowledgeably about the SDGs, drawing attention to the essential need for education in emergencies – what is and can be a life-saving intervention. Noting that the SDGs do not adequately target refugee or displaced children, Sánchez-Téran emphasized that until this gap is addressed, education for all will remain a goal rather than a realization. Throughout his presentation, Sánchez-Téran continued to stress that “we must place forcibly displaced children at the heart of the international development and humanitarian agenda.” According to Sánchez-Terán, “with children representing half of refugees worldwide, the refugee crisis is therefore, a children’s crisis.”

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IIHA alumna Jana Lozanoska presents her paper

The workshop panels were also home to familiar faces, such as Jana Lozanoska (IDHA 16), Ph.D. Candidate at the United Nations Mandated University for Peace, who presented her paper, “Human Dignity as Core of Human Rights through Hanna Arendt Oeuvre” at the workshop panel, “Human Dignity, Human Security and Social Reconciliation.” During her introduction, Jana credited the IIHA and her participation in the IDHA program with igniting her interest and passion in human security and human dignity.

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Brendan Cahill, Francis M. Deng, and Larry Hollingworth

The Annual Meeting continued on into the weekend, with Saturday marked by a book talk and signing of H.E. Francis M. Deng’s Bound by Conflict: Dilemmas of the Two Sudans, which was sponsored by Fordham University, Fordham University Press, and the IIHA. Deng is the Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Sudan to the United Nations and the former Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide. In discussing his book, Deng shared with the audience that “managing diversity constructively means promoting inclusivity, dignity and human rights for all.” Throughout his honest and thoughtfully constructed remarks about the two nations of Sudan and South Sudan, Deng emphasized that “until we find a solution to internal differences in each country, we will not find a solution to differences between two.”

The closing plenary discussed takeaways from the World Humanitarian Summit, and included the contributions of IIHA Humanitarian Innovation Fellow, Giulio Coppi, who participated as a panelist alongside Lesley Bourns of the Policy Analysis and Innovation Section, Policy Development and Studies Branch at UNOCHA and H.E. Oh Joon, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN and President of ECOSOC. The panel was moderated by Stephen Browne, Co-Director of Future UN Development System (FUNDS) Project at the CUNY Graduate Center.

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Melissa Labonte closes the 2016 ACUNS Annual Meeting

The 2016 ACUNS Annual Meeting came to a close with the eloquent remarks of Melissa Labonte, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, who reflected upon the key themes of dignity, solidarity, justice, and agency. Though the conference was in itself a great success, she encouraged further action from the audience: “I hope that each of you will continue the dialogue and forefront from this conference.” ACUNS Chair Lorraine Elliott also offered closing remarks, stating, “This has provided a valuable conversation on development and dignity with participants from over 30 countries.” She concluded by asking the audience, “Should we be hopeful in thinking forward? I very much think so.”

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Featured Humanitarian Open Tool: Martus

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Individuals and groups who protect human rights and civil liberties work in environments where resources are scarce and adversaries often have the upper hand. Martus is a free, open source, secure information collection and management tool that empowers these rights activists to be stronger in their fight against injustice and abuse.

The Martus Project is a Human Rights initiative of Benetech®, a leading Silicon Valley-based nonprofit technology company founded by Jim Fruchterman, a MacArthur Award-winning social entrepreneur and former rocket scientist. Benetech uses technology to address pressing social needs.

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CIHC President and IIHA Founder Lauded by Universities

1 Dr. Cahill 4.27The last few months have been filled with honors for Kevin M. Cahill, M.D., President of the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC) and founder of Fordham’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA). On the heels of Dr. Cahill’s 85th birthday in May, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) recognized Dr. Cahill with an Honorary Fellowship from the College. It was at the RCSI where the IIHA’s flagship course, the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA), was first offered by the CIHC. Since the inaugural course, the CIHC and IIHA have held 2 subsequent courses at the RCSI, and the RCSI has been one of the institutions cited on the Diploma for every course since.

2 Dr. Cahill 4.27Professor Declan Magee, President of the RCSI, in conferring the Honorary Fellowship on Dr. Cahill, noted that “this is indeed a very rare event: the last time such an honor was conferred outside of Ireland was when we presented the same award to Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1995. He noted that “Professor Cahill was the longest serving full Professor in the 230-year history of the RCSI, and had taught over 4,000 medical students during his 36-year tenure as Chairman of the Department of Tropical Medicine and International Health.” Dr. Cahill then served a subsequent 10 years as the Inaugural Professor of International Humanitarian Affairs.

Dr. Cahill’s most recent book, A Dream for Dublin, chronicles the inspiring story of how, against all odds, he founded the world-renowned Department of Tropical Medicine and International Health at the RCSI in Dublin for which he was honored. In a contribution, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, notes: “I have known Dr. Cahill for almost a lifetime. His ability to see a suffering world beyond borders is extraordinary, whether those are the intellectual borders that separate academic disciplines or the physical borders that separate the citizens of this planet from one another.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 4.32.17 PMLater in May, the Maharishi University, and the dozens of related schools in India, presented their highest honor, the Maharishi award for “Health and Humanitarianism” to Dr. Cahill in a ceremony in Fairfield, Iowa. The Fairfield Maharishi Award Ceremony occurs annually, the preceding recipient being the Prime Minister of Japan, as well as various Nobel Laureates. In the ceremony, the Maharishi University cited Dr. Cahill’s long record of work for peace, health and development.

Most recently, Dr. Cahill was awarded one of Fordham University’s highest honors, the President’s Medal, during the 48th International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) Graduation Ceremony on July 1st at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. The occasion of the IDHA Graduation Ceremony was personally selected by Dr. Cahill due to its significance both to himself personally and to his legacy at Fordham University. In presenting the award, Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, noted that since “Dr. Cahill had received an Honorary Doctorate from this university more than 25 years ago, we now award him the President’s Medal, the highest award given by the university, and only conferred 36 times in the 175-year history of Fordham.”

As an expert in tropical medicine, Dr. Cahill’s career has taken him to four continents and 65 countries, including Somalia, Egypt, Lebanon, Nicaragua and Sudan. With a deeply profound interest in humanitarian aid and the goal of advancing the methods and framework by which humanitarian workers operate, he founded the IIHA in 2001, in partnership with the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC). Dr. Cahill continues to serve as the President of the CIHC and as a University Professor through the IIHA at Fordham.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 4.36.03 PMFather McShane described Dr. Cahill as “a man who has never lost a passion for serving the poorest of the poor and the most marginalized in society throughout the world. He is, to me, a hero.” Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Cahill has published over 30 books, been a longtime UN adviser, served as a chair of New York State’s Health Planning Commission, and is on the faculty of three universities. Yet, Father McShane noted that Dr. Cahill did not deem himself worthy of receiving the President’s Medal. In large part due to Father McShane’s continued encouragement, Dr. Cahill finally agreed to accept the award, as long as it could be presented at the IDHA commencement. “He chose the ceremony that meant more to him in all the years and for the program whose work means more to him than anything else, besides his family,” explained Father McShane. “It speaks volumes that he chose to receive the medal here.” Furthermore, he praised Dr. Cahill and his program for embodying “all the principles on which the University was founded and to which it devotes itself every day.”

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IIHA Humanitarian Programs Director Interviewed by Fordham News

Spotlight on Humanitarian Aid Work

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CIHC President Kevin M. Cahill, M.D. receives President’s Medal from Fordham University!

Humanitarian Program’s Founder Receives President’s Medal

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IDHA Returns to NYC!

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IDHA 48 is off to a strong start in New York City! Last week, the IIHA welcomed 41 students hailing from 27 nations, representing 36 different organizations in 26 countries around the world. Tony Land, Ph.D. (IIHA Senior Fellow), Gonzalo SánchezTerán (IDHA 16, CIHC Deputy Humanitarian Programs Director), Mark Little (IDHA 27, IDHA Alumni Council), Angie Jackson (IDHA 27), and Al Panico (IDHA 30) return to their roles as IDHA tutors, and welcome Naomi Gikonyo (IDHA 29) to the IDHA NY tutor team. The course was opened by Larry Hollingworth, C.B.E. (IIHA Humanitarian Programs Director), Kevin M. Cahill, M.D. (CIHC President), and Brendan Cahill (IIHA Executive Director, IDHA 9) who provided welcomes and introductions to the IIHA and CIHC and offered words of wisdom, guidance, and encouragement to the IDHA 48 class.

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The first week began with leadership and team-building exercises facilitated by the dynamic Pamela Lupton-Bowers and included some team bonding and discussion outside of the classroom on a sight-seeing cruise around lower Manhattan. The week also featured lectures by the IDHA 48 tutors to set the scene of the humanitarian landscape; presentations on various aspects of law pertaining to humanitarian crises, human rights, and immigration delivered by Elisabeth Wickeri (Executive Director for the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School) and James Stillwaggon, Esq., (Counsel for Alvarez, Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira LLP); and lectures given by Peter Hansen (CIHC Board Member) and Darryl McLeod (Chair of the Economics Department at Fordham University).

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Now in the second week of the course, IDHA 48 students have delved into more technical aspects of the humanitarian field, thanks to various lectures and case studies given by the IDHA 48 tutors and visiting guest speakers. Over the next few days, students will attend some of the sessions of the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) being held at Fordham University. View a snapshot of the IDHA 48 class, read the full IDHA 48 update on our blog and check out some moments from the course on Instagram!

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