Category Archives: Partnerships

IIHA Hosts New York Liaison Office for the Academic Council on the United Nations System

              

October 20, 2017, New York City – The Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University is pleased to announce that it has agreed to host the New York Liaison Office for the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS).

ACUNS is a global professional association of educational and research institutions, individual scholars, and practitioners active in the work and study of the United Nations, multilateral relations, global governance, and international cooperation. As the liaison office, IIHA will serve as a contact point for other ACUNS members to connect with United Nations based organizations in New York, as well as with local scholarly communities.

In this function the IIHA will also organize functions – lectures, seminars, workshops, and conferences – in cooperation with local UN bodies, other international organizations, NGOs, and academic institutions.

Brendan Cahill, the Executive Director of the IIHA who will also serve as the Liaison Officer, said, “This is the logical next step in our work with ACUNS – promoting its mission and sharing our own academic and nonacademic work with so many partners throughout the world.”

The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) prepares current and future aid workers with the knowledge and skills needed to respond effectively in times of humanitarian crisis and disaster. Our courses are borne of an interdisciplinary curriculum that combines academic theory with the practical experience of seasoned humanitarian professionals.

This partnership opens new academic possibilities for students and humanitarian workers engaged in the range of humanitarian educational opportunities offered by the IIHA, including: a Master of Arts in Humanitarian Action, Master of Science in Humanitarian Studies, and an Undergraduate Major/Minor in Humanitarian Studies.

 

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IIHA Provides “Melting Pot of Information and People” to Network on Humanitarian Action Students

NOHA students Erik Lewerenz, Mu Chen, Stefanie Larsson, and Rebecca Lindqvist visit Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus with academic advisor Dr. Desiderio.

August 9, 2017, New York – For the third year since the initiation of a formal partnership, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs has hosted students from the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) to conduct research under the guidance of IIHA Research Fellow, Rene Desiderio, Ph.D at Fordham University.

Over the course of the summer, four students – Mu Chen, Rebecca Lindqvist and Stefanie Larsson from Uppsala University and Erik Lewerenz from Ruhr-Universität Bochum – have been conducting research on topics ranging from the role of architecture in post-disaster areas to effective methods for cash-transfer programming.

This summer program is one of several initiatives and a deepening partnership between the IIHA and NOHA. This summer, the IIHA is hosting researcher Cristina Churruca, Ph.D, the Coordinator of NOHA Master’s Consortium of Universities on Humanitarian Assistance and an expert on human security, protection and peace building.

In addition, Brendan Cahill, IIHA Executive Director, was recently selected as a member of NOHA’s Journal of International Humanitarian Action which aims to contribute to critical analysis and research that seeks to highlight contemporary challenges to humanitarian action.

For the summer NOHA students, studying at Fordham University has afforded them the opportunity to take advantage of the humanitarian network in New York City. Much of their research wouldn’t be possible without the proximity to the UN and humanitarian organizations of interest.

One student, Stefanie Larsson, is researching refugee resettlement in the United States and has found New York to be “a melting pot of information and people in many different areas of the humanitarian field.”

“A great part of the IIHA is the abundant amount of resources and knowledgeable people I have been connected with throughout my time in New York City at Fordham. I learned from the lecturers and was so encouraged to meet humanitarian workers…It made me very excited to get out in the field and start making a difference,” said Stefanie.

As the students near the end of their work at Fordham, they attribute the progress of their theses to the guidance of Dr. Desiderio who has helped them focus the structure of their research, refine their methodology, and, when possible, connect them with key informants on global humanitarian issues.

“The collaboration between the IIHA at Fordham and NOHA entails working closely with the students to chart a clear road map for their research that eventually leads to the completion of a thesis on a relevant and pressing humanitarian issue. Ultimately, we hope their research will contribute to the dearth of literature in the international humanitarian field,” said Dr. Desiderio.

“I would strongly recommend anyone to apply for a research track at Fordham University. Firstly because of the proximity to several large humanitarian organizations, especially the United Nations, which helps if your thesis would benefit from interviews with people situated in New York. Secondly, I would recommend it because of the valuable network one can build. Aside from the knowledge gained at lectures NOHA students are welcome to attend, participants of the summer courses are academics and practitioners from different organizations covering different geographical areas,” said Rebecca Lindqvist who is conducting her research on The Trust Principles for humanitarian operations in fragile states, specifically in the context of Somalia.

Johanna Lawton, IIHA Communications Intern

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IIHA and Centre for Innovation Partner to Strengthen Innovation for Humanity

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.

The first initiative brought forth by the partnership was the first course in Data and Innovation Management in Humanitarian Action hosted at Fordham University in New York City where humanitarian workers learned from leading data, technology and innovation experts from all over the world.

Upcoming collaborations include the annual summer school entitled Big Data for Peace and Justice hosted at Leiden University in August and a blockchain summit in conjunction with the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance in New York City on November 10, 2017.

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.

Join the 4th Annual Summer School Big Data for Peace & Justice in The Hague and expand knowledge and skills in data-driven innovations in the peace, justice, and humanitarian sector.

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Press contact
Angela Wells
Communications Officer
Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
+718-817-5303

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Blockchain for Humanity: Announcing Fordham IIHA and CCEG Partnership

                           

Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs and the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance Partner to Design Technological Solutions for Humanitarian Challenges

July 10, 2017, New York – The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University and the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance  are pleased to announce a formal partnership. The academic partnership will allow for the continuation and further development of both institutions’ growing focus on innovation and technology for humanitarian action and social good.

Grounded in social justice and humanitarian ethics, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs endeavors to make the global response to humanitarian crises sustainable, effective, and dignified. In pursuit of this mission, the IIHA Innovation Lab facilitates the development of new solutions to complex humanitarian challenges surrounding data and technological advancement.

The Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance (CCEG), has been working since 2011, growing a research hub “concerned with the development and use of impact metrics  as a measure to promote a just, prosperous and sustainably secure global society.” Since early 2016, CCEG has moved from capturing non-financial and intangible value to transacting it through the Seratio distributed ledger technology.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by both organizations will further strengthen the cooperation which began two months ago on the role and potential of blockchain technology in humanitarian action.

The agreement starts a series of exchanges in research and education and anticipates the launch of joint events and projects that will aim to facilitate the development of blockchain-based humanitarian solutions.

Together we will investigate the potential and challenges of ‘smart’ humanitarian services, particularly surrounding the circular economy and humanitarian financing. CCEG will bring its expertise in intangible impact measurement, and collaborate in developing policies, metrics and indicators to be used on blockchain platforms to bring to the light the effective value of  classic but hard to measure humanitarian interventions, such as protection or prevention,” said Giulio Coppi, IIHA Innovation Fellow.

Visioning the partnership outcomes, Professor Olinga Ta’eed said “This is one of the most exciting collaborations we have ever secured, leveraging the internationally recognised expertise and authority of Fordham’s IIHA to bring sustainable and scalable solutions to the world’s most difficult intractable problems through blended HumTech and SocialTech instruments.”

The two organizations previously held a joint-event in May 2017, entitled Measuring and Delivering Intangible Impact through Blockchain. Professor Coppi joined CCEG Director Olinga Ta’eed and Barbara Mellish, President of Blockchain Alliance for Good, for the roundtable discussion on multi-sector approaches of blockchain for social good.

The partnership between the two institutions will facilitate further opportunities to co-host events, co-develop concrete technological tools for humanitarian action, and launch joint initiatives on blockchain and emerging technologies.  

The next initiative will be a Blockchain for Humanity Summit hosted in New York City at Fordham University in October of 2017.

##ENDS##

Press contact

Angela Wells

Communications Officer

Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs

+718-817-5303

awells14@fordham.edu

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Asylum Seekers Find Refuge in NYC Grassroots Organizations

 

New York City, May 8, 2017 In his home of Nigeria, Audu Kadiri was a relentless humanitarian: a human rights and healthcare advocate working on behalf of HIV/AIDS patients. But when he began to stand up against draconian laws criminalizing access to healthcare for the LGBTI community he faced opposition and eventually threats to his life.

Today he is in exile in New York City, waiting for his asylum interview that would allow him to fully start his life over. As a community activist at African Communities Together, he has not stopped in his pursuit of justice.

Last month, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) and the Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development hosted Audu at a Fordham University event entitled, Seeking Refuge in New York City. He was joined by Ellie Alter, Associate Director of Refugee and Immigrant Fund (RiF); Sydney Kornegay, Director of RDJ Shelter for asylum seekers; and Ahmed Awney, a Libyan architect, filmmaker, and asylum seeker.

Asylum seekers enter the country with a visa, such as a student or tourist visa. They apply for asylum upon arrival to seek protection from persecution, because of their religion, sexuality, political affiliation, or other reasons.

In other countries this process is commonly known as “Refugee Status Determination” in which an asylum seeker applies for refugee status, affording them sanctuary in their first country of arrival. The very lucky few, roughly one percent, are resettled to another country. The United States has had a long-tradition of resettling refugees after a long vetting process. Resettled refugees receive assistance from governmental agencies for access to housing, job placement, and documentation, which is not the case for asylum seekers.  

According to RiF, approximately 40,000 people applied for asylum in New York City in 2016 while 215 refugees were resettled in the city from abroad.   

“Resettled refugees are immediately assigned an organization, one of nine NGOs contracted by the US government, to support them from the day they get here with the basic needs that anyone should receive coming into the US as a refugee. In contrast, “when an asylum seeker gets here they are really facing a long road of a lack of support. There are not a ton of resources out there that we can lead them to, unfortunately…RiF was founded to fill this void of initial support,” explained Ellie.

Because asylum seekers arrive to a host country immediately after fleeing, they are often ill-prepared for the challenges ahead. In the United States, they have no legal right to work until they complete an arduous and lengthy application process. A shortage of attorneys who take asylum cases forces many to apply with little to no legal guidance, lowering their chances of securing protection. Furthermore, this application process causes many to live in what feels like perpetual limbo for asylum seekers who are also far from their families and support systems.

Many, therefore, rely on grassroots organizations like RiF and RDG Shelter to provide food, shelter and legal guidance. Organizations like these also offer physical and psychological space for community and acceptance in a foreign country.

When communities open their doors to asylum seekers, they participate in humanitarian action in their own backyards. Volunteers in New York dedicate their time to teaching English, cooking meals, organizing fundraisers, representing them in court, and donating food. Most importantly, they offer companionship, which the panelists agreed is a rewarding commitment.

“Just show up, show your face…that means a lot to a grassroots organization like ours,” said Ellie.

In today’s political climate, many asylum seekers waiting for their interviews fear they may not be successful in their pursuit of protection as they initially hoped.

“They are leaving it all behind, it is not easy. You are leaving all you have, all you have worked for to come to a new life,” said Audu.

In order to protect asylum seekers and other immigrants in the United States, Audu advocates that refugees and asylum seekers must be “shown respect instead of being looked at like a liability or a pest….and viewed as a human first, one who simply needs assistance.”

To learn more, watch the event on Facebook Live.

Rosalyn Kutsch, IIHA Student Outreach Intern

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RIF to hold next Asylum Seekers Meeting at Fordham University

14716219_604188369767315_1823985820247805721_nEach month the IIHA supports RIF to host Saturday gatherings for asylum seekers to learn and share information about living in New York. Experts and former asylum seekers will address topics such as education, job preparation, resume building, green-industry opportunities and social services. Learn more!

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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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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 Launches Partnership with High Tech Humanitarians (HTH)

The IIHA begins 2016 with a new challenge: to support the dissemination and promotion of humanitarian innovation worldwide. This initiative, spearheaded by the development of a web platform called High Tech Humanitarians (HTH) and promoted by IIHA’s Humanitarian Innovation Fellow, Giulio Coppi, has a special focus on Open Source Technology. The open approach allows NGOs and local organizations to use, modify, adapt, and improve the solutions they prefer according to their own needs. In the future, HTH aims to expand its network to like-minded organizations at all levels, to create real and virtual spaces for open humanitarian innovation.
HTH is the first free platform for open source humanitarian innovation, to allow universal access to life-changing technology. HTH’s lean, simple structure and appearance is conceived to facilitate access from any kind of device, even if running on a very slow connection.
HTH believes that the lack of awareness about existing free tools is the primary obstacle in the struggle to give universal and equal access to life-saving and life-changing technological solutions.
Aimed at tech-friendly humanitarians, development actors, social workers, intrepid communities, and all other innovation-minded people, HTH promotes a culture of open source and equal, universal access to emerging technology, be it high-end or frugal, for everyone in the world. For this purpose, all the content of HTH is free under Creatives Common policy, notably the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License.
To get started, just explore the Toolbox to find the OpenTech solution that best fits your needs, suggest an open source solution which is still not in the database for others to discover, or register to the HTH newsletter! Once you pick your tool, adapt it, use it, and if you want please share your experience by email or connect with the HTH community by following HTH on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube.

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