Category Archives: Event

World Humanitarian Day: Civilians Are Not A Target

 

August 18, 2017, New York – On World Humanitarian Day, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs stands with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the broader humanitarian community to denounce attacks against civilians and health and humanitarians workers in conflict – a rising and disastrous trend around the world.

According to the UN, “Over the past 20 years, 4,132 aid workers have been attacked. In 2016, 91 aid workers were killed, 88 were injured and 73 were kidnapped in the line of duty. The majority of these attacks took place in five countries: South Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia.

Attacks against aid workers are deplorable and represent clear violations of international humanitarian law. In addition to endangering aid workers, these attacks threaten humanitarian operations and the lives of millions of people who rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival.”

Join us in calling on world leaders to protect civilians and those offering lifesaving assistance by joining the #NotATarget campaign. You can show your support by engaging in the conversation on social media, signing the World Humanitarian Day Petition, and reading the toolkit to learn more.

 

 

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Asylum Seekers Find Refuge in NYC Grassroots Organizations

 

New York City, May 8, 2017 In his home of Nigeria, Audu Kadiri was a relentless humanitarian: a human rights and healthcare advocate working on behalf of HIV/AIDS patients. But when he began to stand up against draconian laws criminalizing access to healthcare for the LGBTI community he faced opposition and eventually threats to his life.

Today he is in exile in New York City, waiting for his asylum interview that would allow him to fully start his life over. As a community activist at African Communities Together, he has not stopped in his pursuit of justice.

Last month, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) and the Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development hosted Audu at a Fordham University event entitled, Seeking Refuge in New York City. He was joined by Ellie Alter, Associate Director of Refugee and Immigrant Fund (RiF); Sydney Kornegay, Director of RDJ Shelter for asylum seekers; and Ahmed Awney, a Libyan architect, filmmaker, and asylum seeker.

Asylum seekers enter the country with a visa, such as a student or tourist visa. They apply for asylum upon arrival to seek protection from persecution, because of their religion, sexuality, political affiliation, or other reasons.

In other countries this process is commonly known as “Refugee Status Determination” in which an asylum seeker applies for refugee status, affording them sanctuary in their first country of arrival. The very lucky few, roughly one percent, are resettled to another country. The United States has had a long-tradition of resettling refugees after a long vetting process. Resettled refugees receive assistance from governmental agencies for access to housing, job placement, and documentation, which is not the case for asylum seekers.  

According to RiF, approximately 40,000 people applied for asylum in New York City in 2016 while 215 refugees were resettled in the city from abroad.   

“Resettled refugees are immediately assigned an organization, one of nine NGOs contracted by the US government, to support them from the day they get here with the basic needs that anyone should receive coming into the US as a refugee. In contrast, “when an asylum seeker gets here they are really facing a long road of a lack of support. There are not a ton of resources out there that we can lead them to, unfortunately…RiF was founded to fill this void of initial support,” explained Ellie.

Because asylum seekers arrive to a host country immediately after fleeing, they are often ill-prepared for the challenges ahead. In the United States, they have no legal right to work until they complete an arduous and lengthy application process. A shortage of attorneys who take asylum cases forces many to apply with little to no legal guidance, lowering their chances of securing protection. Furthermore, this application process causes many to live in what feels like perpetual limbo for asylum seekers who are also far from their families and support systems.

Many, therefore, rely on grassroots organizations like RiF and RDG Shelter to provide food, shelter and legal guidance. Organizations like these also offer physical and psychological space for community and acceptance in a foreign country.

When communities open their doors to asylum seekers, they participate in humanitarian action in their own backyards. Volunteers in New York dedicate their time to teaching English, cooking meals, organizing fundraisers, representing them in court, and donating food. Most importantly, they offer companionship, which the panelists agreed is a rewarding commitment.

“Just show up, show your face…that means a lot to a grassroots organization like ours,” said Ellie.

In today’s political climate, many asylum seekers waiting for their interviews fear they may not be successful in their pursuit of protection as they initially hoped.

“They are leaving it all behind, it is not easy. You are leaving all you have, all you have worked for to come to a new life,” said Audu.

In order to protect asylum seekers and other immigrants in the United States, Audu advocates that refugees and asylum seekers must be “shown respect instead of being looked at like a liability or a pest….and viewed as a human first, one who simply needs assistance.”

To learn more, watch the event on Facebook Live.

Rosalyn Kutsch, IIHA Student Outreach Intern

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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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Fordham and the IIHA to host event with the Javeriana School of Government and Public Ethics in Colombia

Desarrollo para una Paz Estable y Duradera en Colombia

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 | 4:30 PM

Location: E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center | 12th Floor | Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus | 113 West 60th Street | New York, NY 10023

This event, organized by Fordham University and Javeriana School of Government and Public Ethics, will feature national and international academics and officials of the Colombian government. Speakers will include Adriana LaRotta, Senior Director of Media Relations at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Brendan Cahill, Executive Director of the IIHA, and Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Ph.D., Director of Fordham’s Latin American and Latino Studies Institute. Please Note: This event will be conducted in Spanish.

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Upcoming Briefings at the United Nations

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Attention Fordham University Students! Over the next few months, Fordham University will be organizing a series of UN DPI NGO Briefings at the United Nations. Attending students will be met at the United Nations by Fordham’s NGO youth representatives and escorted to the briefings. All briefings will run from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM.

You must be a current Fordham undergraduate student in order to register! 

October 27th: “One-on-One Conversation with Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information” Please RSVP here.

November 3rd“Special Session: Meet the DPI/NGO youth representatives Steering Committee + Youth led Briefing: 1+4=16 Targeting Poverty and Education for Peace” Please RSVP here.

November 10th: “NGO Partners and Resources: Educational Institutions at the Forefront” Please RSVP here.

November 17th: “Sustainable Cities and Communities” (SDG#11) Please RSVP here.

December 1st: “World AIDS Day” (Organized on the occasion of World AIDS Day) Please RSVP here.

December 8th: “Communications Workshop: Effective Campaigning for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals” (Organized in partnership with the NGO/DPI Executive Committee) Please RSVP here.

December 15th: “Income Inequality: Looking at the World’s Wealth Distribution” (SDG#8) Please RSVP here.

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RIF to hold next Asylum Seekers Meeting at Fordham University

14716219_604188369767315_1823985820247805721_nEach month the IIHA supports RIF to host Saturday gatherings for asylum seekers to learn and share information about living in New York. Experts and former asylum seekers will address topics such as education, job preparation, resume building, green-industry opportunities and social services. Learn more!

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IIHA to Co-Host Screening of Frontline Doctors: Winter Migrant Crisis on 10/17

Fontline Doctors 10.17Join Fordham’s Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), and the UNICEF, No Lost Generation, and Arabic Clubs for a screening of Frontline Doctors: Winter Migrant Crisis with Alexander van Tulleken, M.D.! View the flyer to learn more!
Interested in reading more about Dr. van Tulleken’s experience in creating the documentary? Read his blog post! 
 

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World Mental Health Day 2016

MHCE 12Today is World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness and mobilize efforts in support of mental health and psychosocial issues around the world. The 2016 theme “Dignity in Mental Health-Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All” takes mental health out of the shadows so that people in general feel more confident in tackling the stigma, isolation and discrimination that continues to plague people with mental health conditions, their families and careers (World Federation for Mental Health).

The IIHA and CIHC are proud to recognize that our Mental Health in Complex Emergencies (MHCE) training course, organized in conjunction with UNHCR, HealthNet TPO, and International Medical Corps (IMC), takes place this week in Geneva, Switzerland. The course allows us to do our own part in continuing to train and educate humanitarian professionals who respond to the mental health and psychosocial needs of the most vulnerable in crises around the world.

Learn more about the MHCE course!
Learn about World Mental Health Day!
Take part in World Mental Health Day! 
Follow the Twitter Feed of World Mental Health Day!

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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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Alumni Update: Jana Lozanoska (IDHA 16)

Jana Lozanoska and Larry HollingworthJana Lozanoska (IDHA 16), Ph.D. Candidate at the UN Mandated University for Peace, stands with IIHA Humanitarian Programs Director, Larry Hollingworth, moments before presenting her paper, “Human Dignity as Core of Human Rights through Hanna Arendt Oeuvre” at the 2016 ACUNS Annual Meeting workshop panel on “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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