Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Milestones Testimony: Ferdinand von Hasburg-Lothringen

This is an abbreviated version of Ferdinand von Hasburg-Lothringen’s testimony featured in Milestones in Humanitarian Action, available for purchase on the Fordham Press website.

Many of us need a core set of values in order to anchor our lives and ourselves. I, for one, feel this profound need as I continue to provide humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa, after two decades of professional experience in Sudan and South Sudan. My experience has allowed me to witness how human beings, when faced with enormous, apparently insurmountable challenges, continue to seek a way forward; we refer to this strength of the human spirit as “resilience.” Above all, I believe that my time in the Horn of Africa has taught me to reflect upon and fairly evaluate the needs of stakeholders, partners, and recipients. Three keywords have become central to my work and my life: community, reflection, and change. These words form the very basis of our humanity, and are a call to the future and to action.

“I will call you for one minute.” No seven words have held more meaning for me than these; I first heard them on the evening of July 28, 2016, through the crackle of a poor telephone connection. Years earlier, I had met Dr. Kevin Cahill in his office on the edge of Central Park. I had come for a thorough medical examination, and as he looked me over, he asked me about my work in South Sudan. Over the course of our conversation, he revealed himself as a consummate thinker, storyteller, and professional, steeped in humility, warmth and humor.

Now, as I crawled on hands and knees across the floor of an office building, ducking under the windows to avoid a storm of bullets outside — a barrage that, I later learned, killed over 250 people — Kevin’s seven words were my lifeline to someone who cared, someone who knew what I had experienced. Over the course of those four terrifying days, his daily “one minute” phone call reassured me that despite the distance, despite terrible situations and impossible commitments, human beings will persist in reaching out, in building connections, in recognizing the extraordinary gifts of others. This persistence is, in my view, the antidote to cynicism, impatience, and selfishness.

Kevin’s next call found me on the floor of the Comboni Missionaries in Juba, trapped by a second volley of gunfire. I was with half a dozen other international missionaries, and all of us lay facedown on the floor as more machine gun rounds, tank shells, and rocket-propelled grenades crisscrossed our compound–this time apparently in a celebratory mood. The minute was an hour, his words–whatever he said, I cannot recall now–were comfort and solidarity, filling my bruised and bewildered body with hope. Even after he ended the call, that “one minute” continue to comfort me, to reassure me that I was alive and loved, no matter what happened tomorrow. Kevin’s call, and the calls I received from his son, Brendan, and from family and friends, taught me that there is no replacement for love, support, and true friendship.

In the winter of 2002, I returned to my hometown, Geneva, as a stranger in a familiar land. I had entered into a new phase of my life: still lacking in confidence in my skills as a humanitarian, and shaken by the raw violence I saw while stationed in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, I arrived at IDHA 9. Unbeknownst to me, this would become a defining moment in my life. Not only did I walk away from the IDHA with the professional skills and tools I needed, but I also formed friendships with people who spoke the “aid language,” and who approached their work with spirit, enthusiasm, and genuine curiosity. Surrounded by so many like-minded people, I thought I had joined the IDHA in an exceptionally vintage year, or else the course had filled some niche in the humanitarian community. Friendships bloomed and strategies developed–bonds that, in many cases, remain unbreakable, connecting us across borders and oceans, coming together and forming actions, studies, shared analyses, and reunions in the most unexpected of places.

There was a deep-seated sense of respect and community, reinforced through the kind of honest, open reflection that inspires confidence, in spite of our faults and fears of inadequacy. I thought perhaps I had lucked into IDHA 9, but as I pursued the MIHA–attending courses in Barcelona, New York, and Berlin, all at times of my choosing, thanks to the flexibility of the program–I came to realize that Fordham and the IIHA had tapped into a critical need in the humanitarian world, and had met that need head-on, with innovation and first-call staff and support teams. When I arrived in Geneva for IDHA 9, I immediately felt at home.For many of us, it was the first time we had been afforded a chance to think about our personal experiences within the international framework, and to consider the experiences of others support and encouragement–an educational approach that held value for both students and tutors.

As an IDHA alumnus, I have a responsibility to develop this new philosophy and answer the hard questions. I now have the ability to look honestly at my life and my choices; to avoid the generalizations, the preferred political narratives, and the simplifications that stymy our efforts. The IDHA, above all, allows its students to think creatively in a field that adheres to tradition and often refuses change. In the end, the hours of reading and reflection created a space in my mind where I can question and challenge, and find myself anew.

Ferdinand von Hasburg-Lothringen

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized