The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs warmly welcomes FrancoisServranckx to our academic team. He joins Fordham University as an instructor of Introduction to Humanitarian Action for Humanitarian Studies Major/Minor students.
The core class for Humanitarian Studies students covers essential elements of the humanitarian system, such as the motivation to act, the role and place of the beneficiaries and local responders, project management cycles, and current dilemmas facing humanitarian actors.
“These topics are essential to understand of the current humanitarian scene and think about the future of the system,“ said Francois.
Francois comes to the Institute with 15 years of international experience managing humanitarian projects; responding to emergencies; and designing and implementing communication and public campaigns for organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“My experience with humanitarian NGOs, UN agencies and private foundations will help me present a very practical and grounded picture of the most recent challenges faced by humanitarian actors. I hope to encourage students to think out of the box, to define new solutions and pave the way for the future of humanitarian action,“ saidFrancois who has worked in Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Senegal.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet and work with the next generation of aid workers and young people interested in humanitarian affairs and global issues. It’s a great honor for me to join the IIHA, to be able to connect the dots between practice in the field and the great amount of analysis and knowledge the Institute has built over the years,“ he said.
August 3, 2017, New York – The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University is proud to announce a formal partnership with the Centre for Innovation (CFI) at Leiden University. This partnership will allow both organizations to broaden their exploration of technology and innovation from the humanitarian perspective. Dedicated to advancing the methods and framework by which humanitarian workers operate, Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs in New York City continually strives to find practical and efficient responses to global crises. In this effort, the IIHA stimulates new strategies for the development of technology and inclusion of tech and private sectors in humanitarian action.
The Centre for Innovation at Leiden University located in The Hague, the Netherlands is a university do-tank that explores and creates projects at the intersection of education, technology, and society. Aiming to leverage the Data Revolution for the benefit of humanity, one of the Centre’s flagship projects is HumanityX. HumanityX is a multidisciplinary support team for pioneers in the peace, justice and humanitarian sector who want to spearhead digital innovations to tackle global challenges from a people’s perspective.
The partnership between the two organizations is strengthened by their shared commitment to education and technology that promotes social good and ethical humanitarian response through research, training, prototype development and events. Both institutions will further incorporate lessons and trainings in data, technology and innovation to their humanitarian curricula and projects with partners.
“The partnership with Leiden is a clear example of how by working together – by combining our intellectual resources and our wide range of contacts both within and outside the humanitarian sector – Fordham and Leiden will be able to do great things. Ultimately, what we both want is simple – to make humanitarian assistance as simple and as effective as possible,” said Brendan Cahill, IIHA Executive Director.
“Structural collaboration between organizations like ours is critical so that we may align our efforts better, and make sure we can strengthen the humanitarian and educational ecosystem we are part of,” said Jorn Poldermans, Innovation Manager at Leiden University’s CFI.
Furthermore, IIHA Innovation Fellow, Giulio Coppi, and CFI Innovation Manager, Jorn Poldermans, will collaborate to produce joint research on technological trends within the humanitarian space and design prototypes for humanitarian practitioners.
Ultimately, both organizations hope to contribute to humanitarian interventions that build on the most impactful technological advances of the century for the benefit of crisis-affected populations they aim to serve.
July 3, 2017, New York – The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) reached a meaningful milestone on Friday with the graduation of 25 humanitarian workers from the Institute’s 50th International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance course and four from the Master of Arts in International Humanitarian Action at Fordham University.
Surprising the graduates, Hollywood actor and IDHA commencement speaker Robert De Niro joined for the occasion to honor their commitment to humanitarian action in a world increasingly challenged with a “lack of humanity.”
“You’ve found your own inner humanitarian and you have let it guide you to making our world better. You serve with compassion and dignity while you make sacrifices that take heroic risks. Now you’ve gone through this program so you can perform your work even more effectively. You have distinguished yourselves here and you will take these lessons with you for the rest of your lives,” said Mr. De Niro.
The graduates join a network of more than 3,000 alumni who hail from 140 countries, each making significant strides in responding to conflicts, natural disasters, displacement and other crises worldwide.
“My head is full of little videos, of vignettes, of cameos, of heroic deeds, that you have written to me, which have been involving you in the field. Ambushed in Syria, taken hostage in Afghanistan, crossing frontlines under fire, emergency medicine in makeshift hospitals, opening schools in remote camps. Of simply staying on when others have left, of fighting fear, of overcoming despair, feeding the hungry, holding the hands of the vulnerable. We are in that unique position that we’re not in uniform, but we fight in the frontline. Our enemy is poverty, hunger, homelessness and our allies are the beneficiary,” said IDHA 50 Course Director Larry Hollingworth, CBE in commemoration of the cumulative impact of the IIHA alumni network.
IDHA 50 and MIHA graduates work as medical professionals, logisticians, communicators, operational managers, military officers, among other roles in response to humanitarian crises and emergencies in South Sudan, Niger, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Mexico, North Korea, and beyond.
For the past month, they paused their work to take a step back from the field and study topics crucial for effective humanitarian response.
“We were all on a ship named IDHA 50, together floating on a wide ocean of experience with an incredible depth of knowledge. Luckily, we had superb and skilled captains on board with us, who navigated the ship in the right humanitarian direction and provided us with professional lectures, professional personal experiences, in quality and quantity, in form and content,” said Bart Vermeiren, IDHA 50 Student Representative who came to the course with more than 15 years of experience working for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Throughout the IDHA course, 33 humanitarian experts, practitioners, Fordham academics, and leaders in the field gave lectures on topics such as humanitarian law, disaster management, communicable disease, logistics, civil military cooperation, and dozens of others. Lecturers also presented a series of case studies illuminating the complexity of today’s humanitarian interventions in Ukraine, Nepal, Palestine, Ethiopia, and beyond.
In his opening comments, Kevin M. Cahill, M.D. commended the students for their willingness to “not be blocked in by academic barriers or the barriers that separate us from each other.”
The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs congratulates these graduates in their successful completion of their training and warmly welcomes them to a network of innovative and impactful humanitarians.
“You are a treasured part of our IDHA family all over the world. Make use of it. Continue to give back. Continue to come back. Continue to be in touch and be involved with our programs, no matter where you are or where we are. And please, no matter where you are, remember these days as we will remember you,” Brendan Cahill, IIHA Executive Director, reminded the graduates before they left the halls of Fordham University and returned to their posts around the world.
For more than 20 years, the IIHA has trained humanitarian aid workers in cities around the world, including Geneva, Goa, Amman, Barcelona, Kathmandu, Nairobi, New York, and more. Upcoming humanitarian trainings will be held in Amman, Malta, Vienna and Kathmandu and are open for registration.
Fordham University Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
In his commencement address to the 50th graduating class of Fordham’s International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA), legendary Hollywood actor Robert De Niro urged the humanitarian aid workers to let their “inner humanitarian” guide them into making the world a better place.
The ceremony, held on June 30 at the Lincoln Center campus, honored 25 IDHA graduates and two recipients of the Master of Arts in International Humanitarian Action program. The students hailed from 17 countries around the world, including Italy, Tajikistan, New Zealand, Egypt, Poland, and Pakistan.
Before addressing the graduates, the Oscar-winning actor, whose film credits include Taxi Driver, The Godfather: Part II, Raging Bull, and who appeared most recently as Bernard Madoff in HBO’s The Wizard of Lies, commended his longtime friend Kevin Cahill, M.D., IIHA’s founder, as a “man of great culture and enormous warmth.”
“Like many of you, he had an instinct for finding himself in places where the need was greatest,” De Niro said.
The actor told the graduates that they too were “true humanitarians” because they “served with compassion and dignity” while making sacrifices and taking “heroic risks.”
“Now you’ve gone through this program so that you can perform your work more effectively,” he said. “You have distinguished yourself here, and you will take those lessons with you for the rest of your life.”
De Niro, who received an honorary diploma, said that while many people might solely deem humanitarian workers as “wonderful people doing heroic work,” he considered them “shining examples of what can be achieved when you find the humanitarian hidden inside.”
“By inspiring others, you increase your impact exponentially,” he said before reading the names of the entire graduating class. “You are my heroes,” he told them.
Bart Vermeiren, who delivered the IDHA participant address, said completing the program is a huge milestone.
“We all embark on a new or old journey in our lives, but one day or another, sooner or later, we will use our IDHA wisdom and put it into practice with our learning experiences to the benefit of ourselves, and, most importantly, to the benefit of the people in need,” he said.
It’s a message that resonated with Naomi Gikonyo, a humanitarian practitioner with nearly a decade of experience in emergency response interventions in countries including Haiti, Libya, South Sudan, and Kenya.
“This program has pushed me to apply a lot of what I’ve learned into the field,” said Gikonyo, who works as an emergency preparedness and response officer for the United Nations World Food Programme. “It’s instrumental because we’re dealing with humanitarian crises with high complexities.”
Dr. Cahill told the graduates not to be afraid of the challenges ahead. “You have the ability to go over barriers, to not be blocked in by academic barriers or those barriers that separate us from each other,” he said.
After 20 years of courses and 3,000 participants representing 140 nationalities, Larry Hollingworth, director of humanitarian programs at Fordham’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, which runs the IDHA program, said IDHA continues to create impact.
“We are in that unique position that we’re not in uniform, but we find ourselves on the front line,” he told the graduates, whom he said are leading emergency medicine in makeshift hospitals, opening schools in remote camps, and “staying on when others have left.”
“Stand up for you values, and your beliefs. Do what you want to do. Be bold and be brave.”
In a year of ongoing global social justice issues, the CIHC and IIHA continue to bridge the gap between academia and humanitarian efforts. The success of the IIHA over the past year can be seen in the work of its students and alumni from around the world dedicated to solving humanitarian challenges. The 2015-2016 Annual Report records the meaningful work of the IIHA over the past year and gives insight into the humanitarian efforts of its alumni. Read the report to learn more.
Media reports and images inundate the world with humanitarian crises: refugees drowning at sea, populations ravaged by famine, and seemingly endless conflicts. Collective and coordinated responses to humanitarian crises have never been more essential. Good intentions to respond and act must be informed by practical experience, technical knowledge, and academic critique.
Grounded in social justice and humanitarian ethics, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham Universityendeavors to make the global response to humanitarian crises more sustainable, effective, and dignified. Through the intersection of critical academic analysis and concrete hands-on experience, we believe that humanitarian action can transform the world.
Photo provided by IDHA Alumnus Rahul Singh, Founder of GlobalMedic Mission
The International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA), the flagship program of the IIHA, equips mid-career humanitarian professionals to drive the humanitarian sector of the future in a more innovative direction. For 20 years, the IIHA has trained thousands of humanitarian workers in cities around the world – from Kathmandu to Amman, Geneva to Cairo.
This June the IIHA will commence its 50th IDHA course in New York City and we want you to join us! IDHA 50 students will join a cohort of diverse and highly qualified aid and development professionals from all over the world in a one-month intensive course to receive one-of-a-kind training from world-renowned experts in the humanitarian field.
The course provides the critical skills and knowledge to more effectively intervene in the complex emergency and protracted crises of the 21st century. The curriculum is highly interactive and participants will gain:
Extensive insight to the needs of people affected by conflict, disaster, and displacement;
Skills in facilitating cooperation and dialogue between international, governmental, and non-governmental agencies;
Awareness, understanding, and skills essential for effective service in emergency and protracted humanitarian crises;
Opportunities to collaborate and network with colleagues working for diverse international, governmental, and non-governmental humanitarian agencies;
Tools to evaluate interventions and identify examples of good practice; and
Methods for anticipating and preventing humanitarian crises.
Housed at Fordham, the Jesuit University of New York, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) educatesa future generation of humanitarians in the classroom, shapes humanitarian leaders in the field, and innovates solutions to challenges in humanitarian crises.
New York, March 21, 2017 – Aid workers and healthcare providers working amidst the ravages of war understand all to well the crucial importance of stopping conflict through diplomacy and negotiation before it starts or escalates.
Perhaps no one advocated for preventive diplomacy more ardently than founding member of the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC) and former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Yesterday, representatives of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and CIHC joined together to commemorate the life and noble efforts of Mr. Boutros-Ghali.
At the event, Kevin M. Cahill, M.D., President of the CIHC and University Professor and Director of Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), was part of a high-level panel together with H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative for UNOAC and Diplomat-in-Residence at the IIHA, Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz, Under-Secretary-General and Special Advisor on Africa, Tomas Christensen, Chef de Cabinet of and Ambassador Amr Aboulatta, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations.
“Almost in the role of a public health professional, he opened his talk by noting that in matters of peace and security, as in medicine, prevention is self-evidently better than cure. It saves lives and money and it forestalls suffering,” said Dr. Cahill of Mr. Boutrous-Ghalis’ powerful address at the 1995 UN Conference.
Dr. Cahill served as Mr. Boutros-Ghali’s physician and personal advisor for many years, including during his time as UN Secretary-General. Mr. Boutros-Ghali was also a founding member of the CIHC in 1992, which is now celebrating its 25th year.
His approach to preventive diplomacy was guided by four elements: fact-finding, confidence building, early warning and preventive deployment.
“He described preventive diplomacy as ‘action to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur’,” said Mr. Al-Nasser.
Mr. Boutros-Ghali’s landmark 1992 report, An Agenda for Peace, has become a guiding document for diplomats and UN representatives in their pursuit of sustainable social peace throughout the world..
“In our ever more dangerous world, in the throes of both inter- and intra-state conflicts, the need for a new approach in international relations, seems obvious. Preventive Diplomacy should deal with — and even direct — where a nation can move towards peace rather than replaying where it has been in endless wars. That surely was our intention in promoting this option, and neither Boutros nor I ever abandoned that dream,” concluded Dr. Cahill in his speech.
Twenty-five years later as the international community struggles to remedy and end dire conflicts and complex humanitarian crises in Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and beyond world leaders should be reminded of this call to action.
New Yorkers have been standing in solidarity with immigrants and refugees from across the globe. In 2016, 40,000 individuals applied for asylum in New York City, as compared to 283 refugees who were resettled in the city. New IIHA intern and Humanitarian Studies student, Andrew Seger, captured some of these moments throughout the city.
Tens of thousands of New Yorkers met at JFK International Airport on January 28th, and gathered again in Battery Park on the 29th. They came from all over to show support for refugees and immigrants.
They joined in chants like, “Say it loud, say it clear: refugees are welcome here!,” and “Love, no hate! That’s what makes America great!”
Many called to mind America’s history as a country shaped immigrants. Many quoted “The New Colossus,” the poem inscribed at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty that says, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”
Fordham University student Neil Joyce, FCRH ’19, joined those in Battery Park.
“I believe that morally and constitutionally, we have a duty to allow these people into our country. They have a right to enter this country and pursue their dreams,” Joyce said.
Senators Chuck Schumer (NY) and Cory Booker (NJ), along with Mayor Bill de Blasio (NYC) and many other elected officials gave speeches in Battery Park.
“We cannot just luxuriate in our freedoms and our liberties; we must earn them by fighting to expand them to all citizens and all people,” Senator Booker said.
Even many children, on the backs of parents and in strollers, held up colorful signs at the rallies.
The overwhelming support continued on February 2nd, when the Yemeni American Community organized a rally in Brooklyn. The Community says near 1,000 Yemeni business owners closed their businesses early to show support for Yemenis at home and abroad.
Adnan Alshabbi, owner of Golden Deli in Washington Heights, closed the doors to his bodega for the first time in 25 years. He stood in solidarity with Yemeni’s across the world, including his family members who still live in Yemen.
Photo credit: Andrew Seger, IIHA Communications Intern
This 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. She 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. Our 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.
In a recent article for The Huffington Post, CIHC Board Member Lord David Owen emphasizes that Turkey has the potential to be a “crucial balancing factor in Syria by taking urgent humanitarian action with their troops and air power in relieving the siege of Aleppo,” as long as the world helps. Lord Owen also authored an article for the Guardian, “Peace in Syria is possible. Here’s how it can be achieved,”in which he echoes his claim that the “humanitarian imperative is for the region to act and the world to help.”
Meanwhile, the ongoing conflict in Syria continues to force people out of their homes and across borders into cities and refugee camps. In an editorial for the BMJ, IIHA Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow, Alexander van Tulleken, M.D., (IDHA 16) turns the focus to the current refugee crisis and explores how the crisis presents a paradox to healthcare providers: “Our efforts will always exacerbate the problem of ‘the camp’: the better the services are in a camp, the more people it attracts, reducing the pressure on other states to accept refugees for longer term resettlement.” He suggests healthcare workers find the balance between meeting immediate medical needs, while resisting becoming the mechanism by which the mass containment of people is justified.