Two weeks ago, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) began its 44th International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) at Château de Bossey near Geneva, Switzerland. The IIHA team welcomed 24 students from 18 different nations, representing 21 different humanitarian organizations and currently working in 17 countries around the world.
Once again, the IDHA was led by IIHA Humanitarian Programs Director, Larry Hollingworth, C.B.E, who was joined by a strong group of tutors: Anthony Land, Ph.D. (IIHA Senior Fellow), Al Panico (IDHA 30), and David Bopp (IDHA 27).
The course was opened by CIHC Board Member and Chief of Mission of the IOM in Germany, Argentina Szabados (IDHA 2), who kindly took time to travel and speak with the participants. During the first week, CIHC Board Member and former DG of UNRWA Peter Hansen delivered a session on Palestine and Israel to which the students participated with great enthusiasm and debate. Brigadier James Ellery, C.B.E. (AEGIS), talked about the work of Private Security Companies in the field. We were honored to include in the program lectures on Human Rights Law delivered by James Rodehaver (UNHCHR), International Humanitarian Law by Vincent Sautenet (ICRC), Disaster Law by Tessa Kelly (IFRC) and Paulo Caveleri (IFRC), and a case study on humanitarian coordination in the Philippines by Jesper Lund (OCHA, IDHA 11).
It was my pleasure to spend the second week with the participants and alumni, getting to know them and speaking to them about our programs and our IDHA family. They had worked hard in their exams and their presentations and were preparing for the upcoming week. When we look at the numbers above, we focus on how different they are: 24 students from 18 different countries. In a little more than a week, they will leave the beautiful Château de Bossey and return to their work. What we should never lose focus on, however, is how the IDHA brings these different people together, how they become friends, how they forge personal relationships with one another, with their tutors, and, hopefully, with the alumni that they meet. It is for this reason that I wanted to be with them: to urge them to keep their focus on the things that make us one group and one family. This could not be done without the remarkable work of the staff, especially the tutors, and, above all, Larry Hollingworth.
We wish them the best of luck on their papers, their presentations, and their exams, and welcome them into our IDHA family.
Brendan Cahill (IDHA 9)
Executive Director, IIHA