Category Archives: News

CIHC Board Member Suggests Way Forward for International Response to Syrian Conflict

A European Union and Turkish flag fly outside a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, May 4, 2016. (Photo by Murad Sezer/ Reuters)

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.”

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Fordham and the IIHA formalize partnership with IOM

IIHA and IOM

Roger Milici, Stephen Freedman, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Ashraf El Nour, Brendan Cahill, and Olivia Headon (Photo by Dana Maxson)

Ambassador Swing and Joseph M. McShane, S.J. Fordham University and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) are proud to announce our partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which was formalized by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Fordham University President Joseph M. McShane, S.J. and IOM Director General Ambassador William Lacy Swing at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus in New York.

dmp_8882The agreement between the two organizations was led and negotiated by IIHA Executive Director, Brendan Cahill (IDHA 9), who emphasized the importance of the partnership for training, research, and publications. We extend our sincere thanks to CIHC Board Member and IDHA Alumni Council Chairperson Emeritus, Argentina Szabados (IDHA 2), who, in her roles as IOM Regional Director for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia and Special Representative to IOM Director General, has been an absolutely integral part of the process.

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IDHA to be held in Nepal in February, with Milestone Ahead

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As the world gets smaller (see Alumni Reunions and Updates!), the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) family continues to grow. This past June witnessed the graduation of more than 40 aid professionals from the program, and by word of mouth, qualified candidates are already beginning to submit their applications for courses months away. In February 2017, the IDHA will be held for the first time ever in Nepal. A few months later in June 2017, the IDHA will return to Fordham University in New York to celebrate the milestone of its 50th course.

For almost 20 years, the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) has served as one of the leading multidisciplinary training programs for humanitarian aid workers worldwide. Supported by a core team drawn from Fordham University faculty and some of the top humanitarian professionals in the field, the IDHA effectively balances theory and practice to bring participants to the cutting edge of humanitarian knowledge and application.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-9-53-33-amOrganized by Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) and the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC), the IDHA has welcomed esteemed lecturers and speakers including H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Kofi Annan, Elhadj As Sy, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, H.E. Jan Eliasson, Francis M. Deng, Ibrahim Gambari, Bernard Kouchner, Jemilah Mahmood, Lord David Owen, and Margareta Wahlström. Founded by Kevin Cahill, M.D. and Directed by Larry Hollingworth, C.B.E. since the inaugural course, the IDHA has been held in numerous locations around the world including Amman, Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, Goa, Geneva, New York, Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur, and Pretoria.

Together, the IIHA and CIHC have trained over 2,500 participants from 133 countries.

 

Each IDHA course is made up of a diverse body of students with a wide array of backgrounds and a broad range of skills and interests acquired through years of professional experience. The unique perspective each participant brings to the program is essential to creating the dynamic learning environment on which the IDHA thrives. IDHA 48, which took place in June 2016 in New York, was one of the most diverse courses yet, featuring 41 participants from 27 nations, representing 36 organizations, and working in 26 countries around the world.

Join us as we prepare to celebrate a milestone in our record of humanitarian training! Apply now or spread the word!

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IIHA Hosts Second Cohort of NOHA Students at Fordham University

The IIHA hosted the second cohort of the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) Erasmus Mundus students at Fordham University during the summer session from mid-June till mid-August. NOHA2016_UNIIHA Executive Director, Brendan Cahill (IDHA 9), welcomed the seven students from four European universities: Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany (Meryem Alci, Tatjana Bojarski and Malte Neuser), University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain (Daniela Brum da Silva Nieves and Guillermo Barros), University College Dublin in Ireland (Sara Bojö) and University of Groningen in the Netherlands (Hawa Kombian). IIHA Research Fellow, Rene Desiderio, Ph.D., served as Academic Advisor of the students.

During their stay at Fordham, the students conducted research for their master’s theses focusing on various humanitarian issues. Refugees(NOHA) - 2016 NOHA Students taken at the UN HeadquartersThese include humanitarian engagement with non-state armed groups, the use of new technologies by migrants and refugees, aid efficiency in complex conflict situations with particular focus on humanitarian aid in Syria, the scourge of sexual violence in conflict areas, accountability in the humanitarian innovation community, approaches to scale-up digital health interventions for women and children and good practices of remote management in humanitarian action.

UN_HQ_NOHA2016Students who attended some of the summer sessions offered by IIHA, including lectures presented during the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) in June, found them particularly useful in their thesis research, and helped the students to deepen their understanding of humanitarian issues and challenges. Topics that the students found to be especially beneficial included technology in humanitarian assistance, communications and media, civil-military cooperation, migration, and accountability. One student said that the sessions “were exceptionally well taught,” while another “acquired new perspectives and insights” on issues of great interest to the student.

NOHA(2016)_UNAs a venue for third-country research stay, the students said that they will encourage and recommend Fordham-IIHA to other NOHA students. The Institute, according to the students, provides excellent academic supervision, offers interesting courses given by practitioners, and provides opportunities to meet seasoned professionals and lecturers in the humanitarian field.

 

Student Feedback

“Fordham-IIHA provides an ideal environment to focus on one’s thesis research, as well as an opportunity to attend interesting lectures on humanitarian issues.  Moreover, the city is great destination to spend two intense and memorable summer months.”

-NOHA Student, University of Deutso (Bilbao, Spain)

“I would highly recommend future NOHA students to do their research stay at Fordham-IIHA because of the excellent academic supervision and interesting humanitarian courses it offers.”

-NOHA Student, Ruhr University (Bochum, Germany)

“At Fordham-IIHA, we felt that we were not alone because the Institute was there for us during our research stay. The academic standard is high. I made the right choice because I got the support that I needed for a meaningful thesis.” 

-NOHA Student, University of Deutso (Bilbao, Spain)

“The most rewarding aspect of my stay at Fordham IIHA was being able to pursue my thesis research plus an internship with High Tech Humanitarians (HTH) that created opportunities for me to attend some UN sessions with technology experts engaged in humanitarian and development issues, as well as to meet with an OCHA representative as part of my data collection efforts.”

-NOHA Student, University of Groningen (Netherlands)

“The hands-on supervision at Fordham IIHA was essential to refine ideas and cut a clearer path towards my master’s thesis goals. The opportunity to attend summer courses and meet seasoned professionals and lecturers in the humanitarian field have enriched my overall experience during my research stay.”

-NOHA Student, University of Groningen (Netherlands)

“Fordham IIHA provides the NOHA students an opportunity to focus solely on their master’s theses, receiving valuable support from an academic advisor, who helps to get their research on the right track.”

-NOHA Student, Ruhr University (Bochum, Germany)

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IIHA Humanitarian Programs Director Interviewed by Fordham News

Spotlight on Humanitarian Aid Work

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CIHC President Kevin M. Cahill, M.D. receives President’s Medal from Fordham University!

Humanitarian Program’s Founder Receives President’s Medal

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IIHA and HTH Among Initiating Members of Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI)

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As the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) continues its efforts to promote humanitarian innovation worldwide, we are proud to announce that the IIHA and High Tech Humanitarians are among the initiating members of the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI).

The GAHI, launched at the World Humanitarian Summit this week, is a network comprised of governmental actors, knowledge institutes, businesses and humanitarian organizations, bringing together a unique combination of resources, expertise and capabilities. The ambition of the GAHI is to achieve higher impact and efficiency through innovation in humanitarian action. More details to follow soon!

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Fordham News covers IIHA Event on persecuted religious minorities

A Call to Arms for Vanishing Religious Minorities

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by | May 13, 2016 · 5:43 pm

Room for Debate: WHS & MSF

The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS)

The WHS will take place May 23-24 in Istanbul, Turkey. Organized by the UN, the summit is a call to action with three main goals:

  1. To re-inspire and reinvigorate a commitment to humanity and to the universality of humanitarian principles.
  2. To initiate a set of concrete actions and commitments aimed at enabling countries and communities to better prepare for and respond to crises, and be resilient to shocks.
  3. To share best practices which can help save lives around the world, put affected people at the center of humanitarian action, and alleviate suffering.

The core responsibilities of the summit are:

  1. Prevent and end conflict
  2. Respect rules of war
  3. Leave no one behind
  4. Working differently to end need
  5. Invest in humanity

With approximately 5,000 people expected to attend, the summit will produce a “Commitments to Action” document which will support the Agenda for Humanity. The document, which is not legally binding, will be a demonstration of goodwill by UN member states and other stakeholders including NGOs.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

On May 5, just a little over two weeks before the main event, MSF announced its withdrawal from participating in the WHS. According to the statement released by MSF, the organization no longer believes the summit “will address the weaknesses in humanitarian action and emergency response, particularly in conflict areas or epidemic situations.”

The organization stated, “the summit neglects to reinforce the obligations of states to uphold and implement the humanitarian and refugee laws which they have signed up to.” The organization believes that not enough pressure has been put on member states to uphold the laws of war and it is unfair and unrealistic to ask NGOs like MSF to fill this gap.  IRIN News spoke with a former MSF senior staffer who put MSF’s decision in perspective: “You can ask firefighters to put out a fire. Don’t ask them to build affordable housing.” However, the UN Tribune reports that the UN sees humanitarian aid and development work coming closer together, working in tandem.

Reuters commented that because of MSF’s strong global influence, the WHS may not be as effective without the NGO. Another blog, Humanicontrarian argued WHS’ agenda has been flawed from the beginning, and has little to do with humanitarian aid. At least one person has advocated that MSF pulling out of the summit will help illuminate the gaps in the agenda, and encourage other participating NGOs to demand the summit address them.

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General commented on MSF’s withdrawal; “I’d say it’s disappointing, because I think the summit was going to deal with a lot of issues that are vital to MSF and which MSF traditionally presents a strong and influential voice.” He went on to state that the summit is continuing “full speed ahead” and the UN expects over 6,000 attendees. Howard Mollett, a Senior Policy Advisor at CARE International UK pointed out that the WHS “has been a messy, sprawling affair and will inevitably fall far short of what is required to address the vast and deeply political challenges facing humanitarian action.” However, he goes on to argue that “we cannot avoid the fact that the governments, civil society groups and businesses invited are either already engaged on the ground or have an influence on today’s major crises.” The hope is that these already engaged groups attend and commit to acting on “challenges, gaps and weaknesses that MSF, but also Ban Ki Moon, have identified.”

Debate

  • Are MSF’s claims that the WHS will not effectively address governmental responsibility and the weaknesses of humanitarian action valid?
  • Is there another way that MSF could have called attention to its concerns while still participating in the WHS?
  • Will the legitimacy and effectiveness of the WHS be called into question given the lack of participation of MSF?

Please feel free to comment below, or share with your colleagues and networks to start a conversation!

 

 

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Thank You for Attending IIHA’s Event – Frontline Doctors: Winter Migrant Crisis

Thank you to those who attended the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) documentary screening of Frontline Doctors: Winter Migrant Crisis on Tuesday, March 15th.

The IIHA’s Spring Event Series, Challenges & Opportunities: Global Migration in the 21st Century is focused on promoting and hosting events focused on global migration. We hope that you will spread the word about the issues raised and continue the conversations sparked during the event. Ways to learn more and engage with the topic of the ongoing migrant crisis:

  • If you are interested in learning more about Dr. van Tulleken’s experience in the refugee camps, check out his article on our blog.
  • Dr. Lynne Jones, Co-Director of the IIHA Mental Health in Complex Emergencies (MHCE) course, recently volunteered in Calais – one of the camps visited by Dr. van Tulleken – with Help Calais, a crowd funding platform that fund raises to help various projects in the camps. Read more about her experience on our blog.
  • The average stay in a refugee camp is now 17 years. Is it time to rethink how refugee camps are built and managed? Should refugee camps be operated as permanent cities? Check out the Room for Debate on our blog featuring two expert opinions on the future of the refugee camp.

We hope you will join us for our next event featuring Christophe Lobry-Boulanger of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) on Thursday, March 31st at 12:30 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, please visit the event page.

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