Category Archives: CIHC

Diplomacy Then and Now: Prevention is Always Better Than Treatment

The Boutros Boutros-Ghali Memorial Lecture

New York, March 21, 2017 – Aid workers and healthcare providers working amidst the ravages of war understand all to well the crucial importance of stopping conflict through diplomacy and negotiation before it starts or escalates.

Perhaps no one advocated for preventive diplomacy more ardently than founding member of the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC) and former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Yesterday, representatives of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and CIHC joined together to commemorate the life and noble efforts of Mr. Boutros-Ghali.

At the event, Kevin M. Cahill, M.D., President of the CIHC and University Professor and Director of Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), was part of a high-level panel together with H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative for UNOAC and Diplomat-in-Residence at the IIHA, Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz, Under-Secretary-General and Special Advisor on Africa, Tomas Christensen, Chef de Cabinet of and Ambassador Amr Aboulatta, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations.

“Almost in the role of a public health professional, he opened his talk by noting that in matters of peace and security, as in medicine, prevention is self-evidently better than cure. It saves lives and money and it forestalls suffering,” said Dr. Cahill of Mr. Boutrous-Ghalis’ powerful address at the 1995 UN Conference.

Dr. Cahill served as Mr. Boutros-Ghali’s physician and personal advisor for many years, including during his time as UN Secretary-General. Mr. Boutros-Ghali was also a founding member of the CIHC in 1992, which is now celebrating its 25th year.

His approach to preventive diplomacy was guided by four elements: fact-finding, confidence building, early warning and preventive deployment.

“He described preventive diplomacy as ‘action to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur’,” said Mr. Al-Nasser.

Mr. Boutros-Ghali’s landmark 1992 report, An Agenda for Peace, has become a guiding document for diplomats and UN representatives in their pursuit of sustainable social peace throughout the world..

“In our ever more dangerous world, in the throes of both inter- and intra-state conflicts, the need for a new approach in international relations, seems obvious. Preventive Diplomacy should deal with — and even direct — where a nation can move towards peace rather than replaying where it has been in endless wars. That surely was our intention in promoting this option, and neither Boutros nor I ever abandoned that dream,” concluded Dr. Cahill in his speech.

Twenty-five years later as the international community struggles to remedy and end dire conflicts and complex humanitarian crises in Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and beyond world leaders should be reminded of this call to action.

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CIHC Board Member Suggests Way Forward for International Response to Syrian Conflict

A European Union and Turkish flag fly outside a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, May 4, 2016. (Photo by Murad Sezer/ Reuters)

In a recent article for The Huffington Post, CIHC Board Member Lord David Owen emphasizes that Turkey has the potential to be a “crucial balancing factor in Syria by taking urgent humanitarian action with their troops and air power in relieving the siege of Aleppo,” as long as the world helps. Lord Owen also authored an article for the Guardian, “Peace in Syria is possible. Here’s how it can be achieved,” in which he echoes his claim that the “humanitarian imperative is for the region to act and the world to help.”

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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 80th 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. Read Dr. Cahill’s acceptance speech!

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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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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On Behalf of the CIHC: Thank You

Thank you for participating in the CIHC’s first-ever online appeal to our alumni and network in over 133 countries.

In connection with preparations for CIHC’s 25th anniversary in 2017, a key objective for our #GivingTuesday campaign was to obtain baseline information from which to move forward serving the humanitarian community. Although responses are still coming in, we are grateful for the interest and support received to date: 20% responded in some way and $182 was raised.

It has been an informative week and a fruitful beginning! All contributions (whether testimonials, surveys, donations, spreading the word…) are valuable ways to give back. Each helps CIHC raise awareness about (and support for!) all the good work international humanitarian professionals do in the world’s many complex emergencie
Giving back is not limited to one day. So, if you didn’t have a chance to do so on Tuesday, please take a few minutes to do so.
Thank you for your continued support!

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CIHC Welcomes New Member to the Team

PatriciaAragonesPhoto-1Patricia C. Aragonés recently joined the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC), partner organization of the IIHA, as a part-time consultant to assist the CIHC with its strategic initiatives and resource development. She has been part of the CIHC/IIHA family for many years, since graduating from IDHA 7 and HNTC 1. Patricia will be drawing on her 12+ years as a member of the executive team between 2002-14 of Fabretto Children’s Foundation to help CIHC establish a strategic fundraising and development plan. Fabretto, one of IIHA’s practicum partners, is dedicated to empowering youth and communities in Nicaragua through education and economic development and experienced a ten-fold increase in growth between 2002-14. Patricia also brings legal and private sector experience, having worked as a corporate attorney with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton and as a start-up business development advisor. Her keen interest in social justice and humanitarian law has led her to also collaborate on human rights and transitional justice projects in various countries and serve as an election monitor. Patricia is a graduate of Georgetown University, Columbia Law School and holds a certificate in not-for-profit management from Columbia Business School.

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