Category Archives: Message from the IIHA

Looking forward to 2017

Dear IIHA Community,

As we wrap up the first month of 2017, allow me to extend my warmest wishes to you for the year ahead. 2017 promises to be a year of great growth for the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs and I wanted to reach out to you, to review where we are going, and how we intend to deepen our engagement with our community.

After 16 years of continued growth and nomadic movement through four different offices at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus in New York City, the IIHA will move to the Rose Hill campus. By being closer to Fordham’s academic community, we hope we will be able to provide new opportunities for our students. We will be located in Canisius Hall where additional space will allow us to bring in more dedicated research fellows and host exhibitions, lectures, and other extra-curricular events. This is the first of many changes that 2017 will bring.

After five years, we are saying goodbye to Dr. Alexander van Tulleken who is moving on from the Senior Fellow position to concentrate on his medical, media and humanitarian work throughout the world. This is no small change. Under his academic guidance, the undergraduate program flourished, and his insight and multidisciplinary and praxis-based approach informed our transformative approach to education. I know the decision to leave his undergraduate teaching and advising role with the Institute was not an easy one, but we are confident he will continue to be an active contributor to the Institute.

We are actively seeking his replacement and are fortunate to have welcomed two new members to the team. Ms. Angela Wells will serve as our the new IIHA Communications Officer. Ms. Wells, who had been working with Jesuit Refugee Service in East Africa, will direct our social media, websites, and communications initiatives. She looks forward to working with and being a resource for all of you. Giulio Coppi has become the first Humanitarian Innovation Fellow at the Institute. Mr. Coppi is the founder of High Tech Humanitarians, a project for humanitarian innovators supported by the Institute.

He is one of four core team of contingent faculty and research fellows teaching our undergraduate courses this semester, including:

  • Pat Foley, an applied anthropologist with 20 years of experience in emergencies, recovery and development;
  • Giulio Coppi, an expert on the use of Open Source technology and community-based approaches to humanitarian response;
  • Laura Perez, an internationally recognized expert on the protection of children in situations of armed conflict; and
  • Rene Desiderio, a technical expert in emergency and humanitarian response operations as well as topics ranging from population and development to international migration and gender.

We are additionally endeavoring to launch a new Master’s in Humanitarian Studies program, based on our New York campus. Paperwork for this initiative has been submitted to the New York State Department of Education and we are awaiting their approval. This program will allow us to extend our training to recent undergraduates and young professionals seeking to make their next step in their humanitarian careers.

Our Master’s in International Humanitarian Action (MIHA) program and short courses for humanitarian workers will also continue to thrive with courses around the world. This year we will host three diploma (IDHA) courses in Nepal, New York and Vienna, as well as specialized short courses in Barcelona, Amman and Vienna. We are particularly excited for the summer IDHA in New York, as this will be the 50th diploma course to date. We are proud to have reached this milestone and will commemorate it with memorable activities.

As the year progresses forward, we hope to be an intellectual catalyst of discussion, collaboration and action toward a more socially just world. Our door and ears are open and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can better serve this community.

Warmest regards,

Brendan Cahill
Executive Director
Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
Program Chair, Humanitarian Studies

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Humanitarian Newsletter: October 26, 2016

Read the latest IIHA Humanitarian Newsletteriiha-with-website featuring a letter from Executive Director Brendan Cahill about the upcoming departure of Program Officer Kasia Laskowski from the IIHA team, news about Fordham University and the IIHA‘s new partnership with the International Organization for Migration, and articles by CIHC Board Member Lord David Owen and IIHA Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow Alexander van Tulleken, M.D.! This edition also includes updates and reunions from our wonderful IIHA alumni around the world, a list of our upcoming training courses, jobs and internship opportunities in the humanitarian sector, and our monthly Innovation Corner by High Tech Humanitarians!

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Program Officer Kasia Laskowski to Leave IIHA in Early November

2016-07-01-11-27-08-1This month’s issue of The Humanitarian Newsletter marks the last one under the steady and loving hand of Kasia Laskowski (IDHA 40), who is leaving the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs in early November.
Kasia began her career with the IIHA as part of the international team, working, under the direction of Larry Hollingworth, on our humanitarian training programs held throughout the world. Needing new challenges, although not so secretly mourning her life on the road, she returned to New York to oversee social media and alumni relations for the IIHA and the CIHC. fullsizerenderShe was, when I met her, six years ago, as is she is now – careful, compassionate, humble, flexible, imaginative, and almost ruthlessly efficient – a perfectionist at her work, an old soul providing wise counsel, spiritual direction, and, to many of the IDHA diaspora, even a couch to sleep on in her New York City apartment. Hundreds of students, lecturers and interns will remember her exacting standards, her energy and her sensitivity to all.
We constantly speak about family in the IDHA and in our graduate and undergraduate courses and there is no better example of this than Kasia. img_7057Our Institute grew with her as an integral part of the team and it will grow further because of the hard work she put in to making it central to Fordham’s mission, sharing its news, and the news of so many other academic programs throughout the world. Possessing an almost perfect laugh, the kind of laugh that changes the atmosphere in a room, she will be missed by so many, not least by me. I always knew this day would come, but it makes it no less easy as it approaches.
On behalf of everyone at the IIHA, I wish Kasia fair skies and following seas and look forward to working with her in the next stage of her career.
Brendan Cahill (IDHA 9)
Executive Director, IIHA

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Fordham and the IIHA formalize partnership with IOM

IIHA and IOM

Roger Milici, Stephen Freedman, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Ashraf El Nour, Brendan Cahill, and Olivia Headon (Photo by Dana Maxson)

Ambassador Swing and Joseph M. McShane, S.J. Fordham University and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) are proud to announce our partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which was formalized by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Fordham University President Joseph M. McShane, S.J. and IOM Director General Ambassador William Lacy Swing at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus in New York.

dmp_8882The agreement between the two organizations was led and negotiated by IIHA Executive Director, Brendan Cahill (IDHA 9), who emphasized the importance of the partnership for training, research, and publications. We extend our sincere thanks to CIHC Board Member and IDHA Alumni Council Chairperson Emeritus, Argentina Szabados (IDHA 2), who, in her roles as IOM Regional Director for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia and Special Representative to IOM Director General, has been an absolutely integral part of the process.

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Thank You for Attending IIHA’s Event – Frontline Doctors: Winter Migrant Crisis

Thank you to those who attended the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) documentary screening of Frontline Doctors: Winter Migrant Crisis on Tuesday, March 15th.

The IIHA’s Spring Event Series, Challenges & Opportunities: Global Migration in the 21st Century is focused on promoting and hosting events focused on global migration. We hope that you will spread the word about the issues raised and continue the conversations sparked during the event. Ways to learn more and engage with the topic of the ongoing migrant crisis:

  • If you are interested in learning more about Dr. van Tulleken’s experience in the refugee camps, check out his article on our blog.
  • Dr. Lynne Jones, Co-Director of the IIHA Mental Health in Complex Emergencies (MHCE) course, recently volunteered in Calais – one of the camps visited by Dr. van Tulleken – with Help Calais, a crowd funding platform that fund raises to help various projects in the camps. Read more about her experience on our blog.
  • The average stay in a refugee camp is now 17 years. Is it time to rethink how refugee camps are built and managed? Should refugee camps be operated as permanent cities? Check out the Room for Debate on our blog featuring two expert opinions on the future of the refugee camp.

We hope you will join us for our next event featuring Christophe Lobry-Boulanger of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) on Thursday, March 31st at 12:30 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, please visit the event page.

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Letter from IIHA Executive Director, Brendan Cahill


Dear friends,

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) movement is made up of 190 national societies throughout the world, with more than 100 million members. It has, for nearly twenty years, been a strong partner in our training, sharing its expertise and sending its members for our courses. On February 25, I joined IFRC Secretary General, H.E. Elhadj As Sy, in signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the IFRC and Fordham University. This agreement recognizes the work we have done together and formalizes our partnership in training, research and other areas of mutual interest.
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We are also pleased to announce a signed Memorandum of Understanding with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). Founded in 1975, JRS has, as its mission, “to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons”. We have worked with JRS for many years, training their country directors and regional directors, and, as an Institute within a Jesuit University, our goals are similar.
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In both cases, our partners not only want to offer assistance to those in need, but to also allow them to retain their dignity and to be a part of their own recovery process. With the IFRC, they enable the national societies to rebuild their own capacity. With JRS, they accompany those they serve, and bear personal witness to those trials and tribulations.
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Our Institute began with the idea that we had as much to learn as we did to teach, and our growth, through the IDHA, the MIHA, the undergraduate programs and our publications, is directly connected to the personal relationships we’ve fostered over the last twenty years. These two memoranda build on that.
Best,
Brendan Cahill  (IDHA 9)
IIHA Executive Director

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IIHA Launches Partnership with High Tech Humanitarians (HTH)

The IIHA begins 2016 with a new challenge: to support the dissemination and promotion of humanitarian innovation worldwide. This initiative, spearheaded by the development of a web platform called High Tech Humanitarians (HTH) and promoted by IIHA’s Humanitarian Innovation Fellow, Giulio Coppi, has a special focus on Open Source Technology. The open approach allows NGOs and local organizations to use, modify, adapt, and improve the solutions they prefer according to their own needs. In the future, HTH aims to expand its network to like-minded organizations at all levels, to create real and virtual spaces for open humanitarian innovation.
HTH is the first free platform for open source humanitarian innovation, to allow universal access to life-changing technology. HTH’s lean, simple structure and appearance is conceived to facilitate access from any kind of device, even if running on a very slow connection.
HTH believes that the lack of awareness about existing free tools is the primary obstacle in the struggle to give universal and equal access to life-saving and life-changing technological solutions.
Aimed at tech-friendly humanitarians, development actors, social workers, intrepid communities, and all other innovation-minded people, HTH promotes a culture of open source and equal, universal access to emerging technology, be it high-end or frugal, for everyone in the world. For this purpose, all the content of HTH is free under Creatives Common policy, notably the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License.
To get started, just explore the Toolbox to find the OpenTech solution that best fits your needs, suggest an open source solution which is still not in the database for others to discover, or register to the HTH newsletter! Once you pick your tool, adapt it, use it, and if you want please share your experience by email or connect with the HTH community by following HTH on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube.

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Happy Holidays from the IIHA!

Happy Holidays to our IIHA family around the world!

Happy Holidays from the IIHA

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