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We’ve Moved: A New Blog for IIHA

This blog will no longer be posting content as of February 2018.

The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs is pleased to announce the launch of our new blog, The Humanitarian Pulse. The Pulse will feature news and stories written by our staff, faculty, and alumni on various humanitarian issues and will replace our current site.

In the coming months, we will be focusing on stories about innovation and design for humanitarian response as well as the various complex aspects of forced migration response around the world. You can also read excerpts from our most recently published book, Milestones in Humanitarian Action, which chronicles our 20-year journey educating humanitarian workers around the world.

Click here to stay connected with the IIHA as we continue adding content on the brand new webpage.

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IDHA Alumnus Speaks on Importance of Family to Refugees

Samuel McManus serves as a doctor at a clinic for refugees in Oslo, Norway

An article written by IDHA alumnus Samuel McManus was recently featured in the Irish Times. In the piece, entitled “As emigrants, we have different ways of creating ‘home’”, McManus relates his observations of the patients he sees working as a doctor at a clinic for refugees in Oslo, Norway to his own experiences as an immigrant from Ireland.

McManus hones in on the the notion that family helps dissipate feelings of displacement among refugees who are unused their new environs. “But for those who manage to be reunited with their families, they immediately bring the consolations of home to this strange northern land.”, McManus writes.

Click here to read the full article.

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IIHA Begins Year With New Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow

January 24, 2018, New York City – The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs is pleased to welcome Judy Benjamin, PhD as the Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow. Dr. Benjamin comes to the Institute with more than 25 years of experience working in more than 30 countries in humanitarian response, gender, education, health and economic development.

As Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow, Dr. Benjamin will spearhead the development, management and implementation of the Institute’s academic and training programs. She will also instruct and coordinate humanitarian curriculum for undergraduate and new Master’s programs and represent the IIHA at events, symposia, and meetings on crucial humanitarian issues globally.

“I am pleased to be part of the IIHA’s mission to bring together global experts in the humanitarian field and provide state of the art approaches that seek to professionalize humanitarian work for students and experienced field workers alike,” said Dr. Benjamin.

Her experience in the humanitarian field began working with displaced populations and refugees started in refugee camps in Sudan with the Eritrean exodus from Ethiopia where she first observed the results of gender disparity in feeding practices among refugees. She has served as a gender expert and humanitarian consultant to numerous international humanitarian organizations including the World Food Programme, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, USAID, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR and various non-governmental organizations.

Judy Benjamin also holds a doctoral degree in anthropology with a focus on international development from the University of Binghamton. She has also taught in the anthropology departments of Hunter College and Binghamton University (SUNY Binghamton) as well as a guest lecturer with the IIHA in the early formative years of the IIHA.

“We are confident that the Dr. Benjamin will continue the vision of the Institute’s founders that the multi-disciplinary field of humanitarian assistance merits greater study, requires continual assessment and response, and we all bear a responsibility to those who are vulnerable to make our response more effective and with dignity,” said Brendan Cahill, IIHA Executive Director.

The IIHA warmly welcomes Dr. Benjamin to the team as she continues the Institute’s mission of advancing the methods and framework by which humanitarian workers operate, training and educating future aid workers, and serving as a bridge between academia and humanitarian responses worldwide.

Contact Information:

Judy Benjamin, PhD
Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow
benjamin18@fordham.edu

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Education in Emergencies course co-hosted with Jesuit Refugee Service

Students participate in the IIHA Education in Emergencies course in Malta (Jesuit Refugee Service)

Rabat, November 10, 2017 – With close to 30 million children living in conflict-affected countries, and hundreds of thousands of families displaced by natural disasters, education in times of crisis and conflict is fundamental to achieving the goal of universal education.

In light of the importance of quality education for individuals affected by forced displacement, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) recently co-hosted a five-day intensive course on education in emergencies with the Jesuit Refugee Service. The course, held in Rabat, Malta from 2 to 6 October, provided participants with tools to design educational projects in emergency and post-conflict situations.

Co-directed by Gonzalo Sánchez-Terán, Deputy Humanitarian Programs Director at IIHA, and Nadezhna Castellano, JRS International Education Specialist, the course specifically emphasized the mechanisms required to improve quality of education during and after humanitarian crises.

The 24professionals and practitioners who attended the course hailed from 14 different countries worldwide. The diversity of this year’s cohort offered participants the opportunity to explore a rich and more complex vision of interventions across the globe. Along with the directors and external lecturers, participants conducted in-depth analyses of current standards and examined current and past education projects and program initiatives by leading NGOs and UN agencies.

“It is essential for JRS to not only broaden but deepen our analysis of the education sector as conflicts and emergencies are complex so that our actions are appropriate and effective. The course has helped us achieve this,” said participant Louie Bacomo, a JRS International Programmes Officer.

The course was aligned with many of the core principles of JRS’s Global Education Initiative (GEI), a campaign in which JRS has committed to raising 35 million dollars and doubling the number of people served in its education projects to more than 240,000 by the year 2020.

For displaced persons, quality education is an essential asset that JRS and IIHA will not allow to be overlooked.

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Call for 2018 Besso Scholarship Applications

Each year, the Fondazione Marco Besso partners with the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) to fund three to four scholarships for Italian candidates in pursuit of the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA). Eligible scholarship applicants must be of Italian citizenship and currently working in the humanitarian field.

If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, please submit a C.V. and cover letter to the IIHA at miha@fordham.edu and specify that you are seeking a scholarship from the Fondazione Marco Besso. Please note that the Fondazione does not accept any direct scholarship requests.

All application materials must be submitted by November 27, 2017. The scholarship must be used for one of the three IDHA courses offered in 2018. If you are interested in the IDHA or our other graduate courses, please click here to view the course calendar and here to apply.

In addition to the IDHA, the IIHA offers a wide range of humanitarian educational opportunities including: Humanitarian Trainings,  a Master of Arts in Humanitarian Action, Master of Science in Humanitarian Studies, and an Undergraduate Major/Minor in Humanitarian Studies.

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by | October 24, 2017 · 2:35 pm

IIHA Releases New Humanitarian Research Guide

The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs has released a newly curated research guide for humanitarian workers as well as undergraduate and graduate students researching the complex issues surrounding humanitarian action.

The guide provides valuable resources for research on General Humanitarian Issues as well as specific topics, such as Law and Protection, Humanitarian Workers, Beneficiaries, Operational Assistance Sectors, Disaster Management, External Relations, Programming, and more.

Five years ago, Anthony Land, PhD, IIHA Senior Fellow and Professor, began to compile research and documentation from UN Resolutions, international conventions as well as reports, manuals, handbooks and guidelines published by humanitarian agencies. He would distribute the material to students in the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance courses. The resources are now available to the wider humanitarian community through the Fordham University library portal.

“The research guide provides a ‘one stop shop’ for relevant literature on humanitarian affairs. It acts as a living resource and will constantly evolve as new material becomes available. The resource is designed to be useful for students writing academic papers or researching for their thesis.  Field practitioners can use the research guide to get the broadest possible access to current practice and methods,” said Dr. Land.

All students and humanitarians are welcome to explore our resources, find links to additional research materials, and connect to a librarian.

The IIHA hopes to expand the guide through collecting additional research which academics, students and practitioners find useful in their work. Suggestions can be sent to the librarian, Shira Atkinson (satkinson3@fordham.edu) or to the Institute (iihagradasst@fordham.edu).

To learn more about our humanitarian education opportunities at undergraduate and graduate levels, please visit the IIHA website.

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New Partnerships for Innovation

In its pursuit of innovation for humanitarian action, the IIHA has launched partnerships with the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance at the University of Northampton as well as with the Centre for Innovation at Leiden University. Both thought leaders in technology and innovation, these partners will allow for collaboration and further impact of the IIHA’s training and research on blockchain, data and innovation management, and technology for humanitarian action.

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The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs and the Centre for Innovation Pilot Data and Innovation Management Course for Humanitarian Workers

Day 1 of our Innovation and Data Management course, students participated in a hands-on data visualization workshop led by Jeremy Boy of UN Global Pulse. Photograph by John Kuyat.

                                                                                                                                                         July 19, 2017, New York – Whether cashless transfers for food aid, digitized refugee identification or mobile messaging applications – new technologies have immense potential to propel humanitarian response and aid delivery in a more effective and utilitarian direction. These same innovations and the data they produce also present real-world implications on people’s lives, especially those who have survived humanitarian crises.

How can humanitarians maximize technology, design thinking, and big data for the benefit of the greater good? How can we counter potential negative impacts of technology on the protection and security of crises-affected populations? What are the next steps in solidifying universal norms for humanitarian data management?

These questions were posed by Ms. Atefeh Riazi, the UN’s Chief Information Technology Officer to a diverse group of participants enrolled in a pilot course launched last week by the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University and the Centre for Innovation at Leiden University.

The Data and Innovation Management in Humanitarian Action course sought to bring real-world challenges of data and innovation management under academic critique and to prototype solutions adaptable to the humanitarian ecosystem.

The course featured guest lecturers from 11 academic and intergovernmental organizations at the forefront of designing innovative solutions in the humanitarian context, including:

  • Atefeh Riazi, United Nations Assistant Secretary General, Chief Information Technology Officer
  • Gina Lucarelli, Team Leader of Knowledge and Innovation for United Nations Development Operations, Coordination Office
  • Mike Fabrikant, Software Developer for United Nation’s Children Fund Global Innovation Center
  • Jeremy Boy, PhD, Data Visualization Specialist for United Nations Global Pulse
  • Daniel Scarnecchia, Researcher of Standards and Ethics for the Signal Program of Human Security and Technology at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Nathaniel Raymond, Director of the Signal Program of Human Security and Technology at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Uzma Alam, PhD, Global Health Consultant
  • Lee-Sean Huang, Co-founder and Creative Director of Foosa
  • Jorn Poldermans, Innovation Manager for the Centre for Innovation at Leiden University
  • Benjamin Kumpf, Manager of United Nations Development Program Innovation Facility
  • Giulio Coppi, Humanitarian Innovation Fellow at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
  • Godfrey Takavarasha, Data Manager for United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Humanitarian Data Exchange

Lecturers presented perspectives on the role of technology in protecting human rights, design thinking for humanitarian problems, and ethics of data management as well as taught basic techniques for data visualization, innovation fund management and humanitarian data for coordination.

Ranging from country bureau staff of United Nations agencies to students conducting research on humanitarian issues, course participants hailed from China, Malaysia, Canada, Pakistan, and beyond. They came to the class with backgrounds as first responders, refugee registration officers, directors of aid agencies, legal experts among others. 

Through collaboration and group work, the course also provided a unique opportunity for participants to learn best practices from one another.

Throughout the course, the immense benefits of embracing technology for humanitarian response confronted the ethical dilemmas and logistical barriers of doing so during conflicts, natural disasters and other crises.

Students also studied and discussed existing frameworks and guidelines on ethical and effective data management and innovation, such as The Signal Code: A Human Rights Approach to  Information During Crisis by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative; Handbook on Data Protection in Humanitarian Action by the International Committee of the Red Cross; and A Guide to Data Innovation for Development by UN Global Pulse.

In addition, a two-day hands-on prototyping and simulation workshop, led by the Centre for Innovation at Leiden University allowed the humanitarians to tackle the theoretical and legal challenges they face in their current roles through data preparedness and interpretation.

This initiative will continue through future joint training opportunities offered by the IIHA and Centre for Innovation. The next course will be the HumanityX Summer School – Big Data for Peace and Justice, which will be hosted at Leiden University in The Hague from August 28 to September 1, 2017 and is still open for registration.  

For more information, contact:

Angela Wells
Communications Officer
Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
awells14@fordham.edu

Jorn Poldermans
Innovation Manager
Centre for Innovation
j.b.poldermans@fgga.leidenuniv.nl

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