Author Archives: IIHAOutreach

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.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

CIHC and IIHA Advocate for Older Persons’ Rights in Crisis at the United Nations

 

February 16, 2018, New York – Fifteen years after the international community ratified the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs illuminated the plight and called for the rights of older persons at the United Nations Secretariat in New York City.

Humanitarian Action for Older Persons: Fifteen Years After Madrid, a CIHC side event of the 56th Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development, featured interventions from fellows of the IIHA, Ambassadors from Japan and El Salvador, and representatives of the International Rescue Committee and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Panelists addressed the national and international frameworks and projects that serve older persons and underscored the ongoing challenges in providing ageing populations with adequate humanitarian services.

IIHA Research Fellow on Ageing Ann Pawliczko, PhD opened the event by introducing the inevitable effect that increased life expectancy will have during crises.

“We can expect more older persons to be affected by humanitarian crises and to comprise growing percentages of displaced populations. It is, therefore, essential that disaster risk reduction and preparedness plans as well as humanitarian aid during and after crises recognize and address the unique issues, needs and contributions of older persons and harness their experience in ways that benefit them and their communities,” she said.

His Excellency Ambassador Rubén Hasbún of El Salvador represented the Group of Friends of Older Persons, a diplomatic collective of countries convening on the promotion and protection of human rights of older persons. The ambassador stressed the vulnerability of older persons and called for the UN and its allies to “mainstream ageing and issues of relevance to older persons into development policies,” including in the UN’s current mission to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development around the world.

Similarly, His Excellency Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino of Japan spoke to the experience and lessons learned in responding to older persons in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami – where 65 percent of those killed were over 60 years old. Japan has the largest percentage of older persons in the world and is one of the most natural disaster-prone countries.

The country’s disaster risk reduction and management mechanisms, therefore, take the unique needs of older persons into account when crafting and implementing disaster risk reduction policies, plans and guidelines. The Ambassador hailed information technology systems in Japan that communicate life-saving information to older persons before, during and after emergencies as a critical component of humanitarian response and recovery. He also emphasized the importance of regarding older persons’ wisdom and experience as valuable assets and integrating them within disaster response frameworks, consistent with the Sendai Framework 2015-2030.

Andrew Painter, Senior Policy Advisor at UNHCR, spoke to the disproportionate impact of displacement on older persons in both emergency and protracted crises. These include health and physical limitations, disruption of social networks, loss of crucial services, and shifting cultural or familial roles, and ultimately isolation. However, he also encouraged the humanitarian community to embrace the contributions of this population.

“There is a very common perception…of older persons as passive, dependent, waiting for aid as opposed to the vital contributors to their community that they can be and that they are: playing roles as leaders of their communities, serving as resources of guidance for advice to younger generations, transmitting  cultures and skills and crafts, contributing to the well-being of their families in many respects and even contributing to peace and reconciliation processes.

For humanitarians, as for all, the challenge in programming is to address the very specific and real needs of older persons but in the context of empowering older persons to really play these roles in communities where they find themselves,” said Painter.

Sandra Vines, Director for Resettlement at International Rescue Committee, also elaborated on the need for protection among older refugees who are resettled in the United States. She spoke of the IRC initiative to help older refugees achieve self-sufficiency through a strengths-based approach by assisting them to access health care, transportation, housing and other services to allow them to thrive.

“Elderly refugees are very resilient and flexible… (they) can live successful and happy lives in the US,” said Vines.

Sylvia Beales, a consultant on Ageing and Inclusive Social Development, pointed out that it is essential to ensure that older persons are included in the implementation of the various frameworks, charters and other mechanisms that address disaster planning and response. She drew particular attention to the five steps of the Inclusion Charter – participation, data, funding, capacity, and coordination –  to deliver impartial and accountable humanitarian assistance that responds to the vulnerability in all its forms, and reaches the most marginalized people, including older persons.

In conclusion, IIHA Research Fellow Rene Desiderio, PhD, noted that while there are noteworthy initiatives addressing the special needs of older persons, such as strengthening and investing in disaster risk reduction, preparedness, resilience, and governance, much more needs to be done.

“With millions of older persons in many parts of the world affected by conflicts, fragility, and vulnerability, and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection, the Agenda for Humanity calls for action to reduce suffering, risk, and vulnerability and that no one is left behind. Moreover, it places an emphasis on ‘reaching the furthest behind first’. It is …a call to all stakeholders, to all concerned citizens, to all of us to get involved or continue to be involved and collectively ensure that older persons are not forgotten and that no older person is left behind,” concluded Dr. Desiderio.

Humanitarian Action for Older Persons: Fifteen Years After Madrid was convened by the Center for International Health and Cooperation and the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, the Group of Friends of Older Persons (GoFOP), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Clare Bollnow, IIHA Research Intern

Angela Wells, IIHA Communications Officer

#CSocD56

Leave a Comment

Filed under CIHC, Older, Older Persons

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.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

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