Tag Archives: Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC)

In Memory of Father Miguel d’Escoto: Spiritual Sources of Legal Creativity

November 2, 2017, New York City – A liberation theologian, a lead advocate in a David and Goliath case for international justice, and a leader in the United Nations, Father Miguel d’Escoto was one of the great champions of social justice and humanitarianism of his time.

In partnership with Fordham’s Leitner Center of International Law and Justice, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs honored Father d’Escoto with the Inaugural Lecture, “Spiritual Sources of Legal Creativity” on Tuesday, October 25 at Fordham University. The lecture was presented by Princeton Law Professor Richard Falk with an introduction by Kevin M. Cahill, M.D. of the IIHA and a response from Fordham Law Professor Michael Flaherty of the Leitner Center.

Kevin M. Cahill, M.D. who served as Father d’Escoto’s physician and confidant for over half a century, recalled the Maryknoll priest’s “incredible ability to move from being a missionary to being a political activist and diplomat.”

Father d’Escoto, who died this past June, served as a political representative of his nation as the Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and later the world as the President of the UN General Assembly. But perhaps his most important achievement was in bringing a case in the 1980’s against the United States in the International Court of Justice. The historic verdict found the US guilty for its role in assisting insurgents to mine and blockade Nicaraguan harbors during the country’s revolution.

“The daring and creativity that Father Miguel brought to the law and to his work at the UN sprung from spiritual roots that were grounded in both religious tradition and existential faith as well as his unshakable solidarity with those among us who are poor, vulnerable, suppressed and otherwise victimized. Father Miguel’s spirituality did not primarily equate with peace but with justice,” said Professor Falk.

Through his unwavering commitment to “speak truth to power” and to act in a “spirit of love and humility”, Father d’Escoto lived out values worth remembering  in contemporary times rife with conflict, injustice, and humanitarian crisis globally.

A complete publication of the speakers’ contributions will be published by the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs in November 2017.

You can watch the first lecture commemorating his legacy here:

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Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Training in Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev, October 11, 2017 – Earlier this month the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation provided a two-day training in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law – Theory & Practice in Kiev, Ukraine in partnership with the Ukraine NGO Forum and sponsored by USAID and the Danish Refugee Council.

Ukraine NGO Forum

The course was taught by CIHC representative Florian Razesberger, an International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance alumnus, lecturer, tutor and IDHA Alumni Council member. He is also the course director of Fordham University’s Human Rights in Humanitarian Crises course.

Ukraine NGO Forum

Under Florian’s instruction, 20 Ukraine-based humanitarian and human rights workers received in-depth training on the theory and practice behind protection mechanisms for crisis-affected populations as well as basics of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Ukraine NGO Forum

“I focused the training on enhancing participants’ understanding of the legal concepts of human rights and humanitarian law and, most importantly, on the tools for monitoring and documenting human rights abuses in the field. We thoroughly discussed measures that ensure humanitarian protection work is strategic and effective,” said Florian.

Ukraine NGO Forum

 

 

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Milestones in Humanitarian Action Chronicles Two Decades of Impact through Education

8 September 2017, New York – The Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC), Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), and Fordham University Press are proud to announce the publication of Milestones in Humanitarian Action by Kevin M. Cahill, M.D.

Milestones in Humanitarian Action is the tale of a quarter-century long effort to improve responses to complex humanitarian crises that emerge during or after wars, or as sequelae of natural disasters. The book chronicles the impact of humanitarian education through the reflections of the organizations’ founders, students, instructors, and tutors.

Founded in 1992, the CIHC originated from a conversation between Dr. Cahill and his friend and patient, former United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, about one of the main challenges he encountered as United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General in the former Yugoslavia:

“Non-governmental organizations and humanitarian workers [who] are often poorly trained and uncoordinated, causing endless and unnecessary problems.”

This insight led Dr. Cahill “down a path of inquiry and exploration.” He began developing  the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) – a formal and academically-sound training program for humanitarian workers.

“I have aimed to redefine humanitarian relief work as not merely the actions of ‘do-gooders’, but as a distinct new profession, and to confer legitimacy on humanitarians who seek to build bridges to peace and understanding in times of war,” writes Dr. Cahill in the book.

The IDHA is a comprehensive, effective, and practical training program which continues to inform the work and efforts of health workers, military personnel, lawyers, and aid workers globally. Over the course of 20 years, more than 3,000 humanitarian aid professionals from 140 nations have taken the IDHA and other humanitarian programs offered by the CIHC and IIHA in Barcelona, Geneva, Kathmandu, New York, Nairobi, and beyond.

Due to the growing interest in humanitarian studies, Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs now offers a Master’s in International Humanitarian Action (MIHA) for humanitarian professionals as well as a Major in Humanitarian Studies – one of only four such undergraduate programs in the world.

Milestones in Humanitarian Action focuses on the IDHA’s impact on 12 select graduates.

“The IDHA acted as a springboard to my international humanitarian career. In my opinion, the most unique thing about the course is not only the wide breadth of experience and talent that it brings together, but also the indelible bonds it creates amongst its alumni,” writes Naomi Gikonyo, a recent MIHA graduate.

Argentina Szabados, IDHA 2 alumna and CIHC Board Member, is the Regional Director of South-Eastern Europe, Europe, and Central Asia for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In the book, she expresses the unique value of the IDHA:

“IDHA students do not simply sit and listen to lectures; they shape the direction of the course. That is the genius of the IDHA and of an interdisciplinary curriculum that combines academic theory with the practical experience of seasoned professionals.”

Milestones in Humanitarian Action ends with a speech given by Former United Nations Secretary General and CIHC co-founder Boutros Boutros-Ghali who led UN efforts to prioritize preventive diplomacy, using “universally understood semantics of health, disease, and medicine.” When asked about his most significant legacy in a final interview at the age of 93, the former Secretary General responded, “My work with Dr. Cahill in the mid-1990s on preventive diplomacy.”

Similarly in 1993, at the first CIHC conference, Mr. Vance said, “It is only in the last year or so that I have come to understand the importance of health issues in world affairs. The CIHC – an important new organization – and the vision, dedication, and drive of my friend, Dr. Kevin Cahill have informed us all about the ways that government, private groups, and international organizations can begin to care for the health and well-being of all.”

This mission rings true today. Looking forward, the CIHC and IIHA continue building upon the remarkable contributions of its founders, instructors, students, donors, and partners to shape leaders in the humanitarian field and, ultimately, improve the global response to a world in strife.

“I find comfort in the fact that our students will soon be out in the world, aiding the vulnerable, bearing witness to injustice, advocating against the obscenity of poverty, and contributing to their communities, each in their own special way,” concludes Brendan Cahill, IIHA Executive Director.

To engage in our mission for effective humanitarian action, consider joining us in the following ways:

Press contact

Angela Wells
Communications Officer
Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
+1-718-817-5303
awells14@fordham.edu

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Looking forward to 2017

Dear IIHA Community,

As we wrap up the first month of 2017, allow me to extend my warmest wishes to you for the year ahead. 2017 promises to be a year of great growth for the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs and I wanted to reach out to you, to review where we are going, and how we intend to deepen our engagement with our community.

After 16 years of continued growth and nomadic movement through four different offices at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus in New York City, the IIHA will move to the Rose Hill campus. By being closer to Fordham’s academic community, we hope we will be able to provide new opportunities for our students. We will be located in Canisius Hall where additional space will allow us to bring in more dedicated research fellows and host exhibitions, lectures, and other extra-curricular events. This is the first of many changes that 2017 will bring.

After five years, we are saying goodbye to Dr. Alexander van Tulleken who is moving on from the Senior Fellow position to concentrate on his medical, media and humanitarian work throughout the world. This is no small change. Under his academic guidance, the undergraduate program flourished, and his insight and multidisciplinary and praxis-based approach informed our transformative approach to education. I know the decision to leave his undergraduate teaching and advising role with the Institute was not an easy one, but we are confident he will continue to be an active contributor to the Institute.

We are actively seeking his replacement and are fortunate to have welcomed two new members to the team. Ms. Angela Wells will serve as our the new IIHA Communications Officer. Ms. Wells, who had been working with Jesuit Refugee Service in East Africa, will direct our social media, websites, and communications initiatives. She looks forward to working with and being a resource for all of you. Giulio Coppi has become the first Humanitarian Innovation Fellow at the Institute. Mr. Coppi is the founder of High Tech Humanitarians, a project for humanitarian innovators supported by the Institute.

He is one of four core team of contingent faculty and research fellows teaching our undergraduate courses this semester, including:

  • Pat Foley, an applied anthropologist with 20 years of experience in emergencies, recovery and development;
  • Giulio Coppi, an expert on the use of Open Source technology and community-based approaches to humanitarian response;
  • Laura Perez, an internationally recognized expert on the protection of children in situations of armed conflict; and
  • Rene Desiderio, a technical expert in emergency and humanitarian response operations as well as topics ranging from population and development to international migration and gender.

We are additionally endeavoring to launch a new Master’s in Humanitarian Studies program, based on our New York campus. Paperwork for this initiative has been submitted to the New York State Department of Education and we are awaiting their approval. This program will allow us to extend our training to recent undergraduates and young professionals seeking to make their next step in their humanitarian careers.

Our Master’s in International Humanitarian Action (MIHA) program and short courses for humanitarian workers will also continue to thrive with courses around the world. This year we will host three diploma (IDHA) courses in Nepal, New York and Vienna, as well as specialized short courses in Barcelona, Amman and Vienna. We are particularly excited for the summer IDHA in New York, as this will be the 50th diploma course to date. We are proud to have reached this milestone and will commemorate it with memorable activities.

As the year progresses forward, we hope to be an intellectual catalyst of discussion, collaboration and action toward a more socially just world. Our door and ears are open and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can better serve this community.

Warmest regards,

Brendan Cahill
Executive Director
Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
Program Chair, Humanitarian Studies

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CIHC and IIHA Team on Syria and the Refugee Crisis

In a recent article for The Huffington PostCIHC 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.

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World Mental Health Day 2016

MHCE 12Today is World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness and mobilize efforts in support of mental health and psychosocial issues around the world. The 2016 theme “Dignity in Mental Health-Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All” takes mental health out of the shadows so that people in general feel more confident in tackling the stigma, isolation and discrimination that continues to plague people with mental health conditions, their families and careers (World Federation for Mental Health).

The IIHA and CIHC are proud to recognize that our Mental Health in Complex Emergencies (MHCE) training course, organized in conjunction with UNHCR, HealthNet TPO, and International Medical Corps (IMC), takes place this week in Geneva, Switzerland. The course allows us to do our own part in continuing to train and educate humanitarian professionals who respond to the mental health and psychosocial needs of the most vulnerable in crises around the world.

Learn more about the MHCE course!
Learn about World Mental Health Day!
Take part in World Mental Health Day! 
Follow the Twitter Feed of World Mental Health Day!

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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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CIHC President and IIHA Founder Lauded by Universities

1 Dr. Cahill 4.27The last few months have been filled with honors for Kevin M. Cahill, M.D., President of the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC) and founder of Fordham’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA). On the heels of Dr. Cahill’s 80th birthday in May, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) recognized Dr. Cahill with an Honorary Fellowship from the College. It was at the RCSI where the IIHA’s flagship course, the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA), was first offered by the CIHC. Since the inaugural course, the CIHC and IIHA have held 2 subsequent courses at the RCSI, and the RCSI has been one of the institutions cited on the Diploma for every course since.

2 Dr. Cahill 4.27Professor Declan Magee, President of the RCSI, in conferring the Honorary Fellowship on Dr. Cahill, noted that “this is indeed a very rare event: the last time such an honor was conferred outside of Ireland was when we presented the same award to Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1995. He noted that “Professor Cahill was the longest serving full Professor in the 230-year history of the RCSI, and had taught over 4,000 medical students during his 36-year tenure as Chairman of the Department of Tropical Medicine and International Health.” Dr. Cahill then served a subsequent 10 years as the Inaugural Professor of International Humanitarian Affairs.

Dr. Cahill’s most recent book, A Dream for Dublin, chronicles the inspiring story of how, against all odds, he founded the world-renowned Department of Tropical Medicine and International Health at the RCSI in Dublin for which he was honored. In a contribution, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, notes: “I have known Dr. Cahill for almost a lifetime. His ability to see a suffering world beyond borders is extraordinary, whether those are the intellectual borders that separate academic disciplines or the physical borders that separate the citizens of this planet from one another.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 4.32.17 PMLater in May, the Maharishi University, and the dozens of related schools in India, presented their highest honor, the Maharishi award for “Health and Humanitarianism” to Dr. Cahill in a ceremony in Fairfield, Iowa. The Fairfield Maharishi Award Ceremony occurs annually, the preceding recipient being the Prime Minister of Japan, as well as various Nobel Laureates. In the ceremony, the Maharishi University cited Dr. Cahill’s long record of work for peace, health and development. Read Dr. Cahill’s acceptance speech!

Most recently, Dr. Cahill was awarded one of Fordham University’s highest honors, the President’s Medal, during the 48th International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) Graduation Ceremony on July 1st at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. The occasion of the IDHA Graduation Ceremony was personally selected by Dr. Cahill due to its significance both to himself personally and to his legacy at Fordham University. In presenting the award, Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, noted that since “Dr. Cahill had received an Honorary Doctorate from this university more than 25 years ago, we now award him the President’s Medal, the highest award given by the university, and only conferred 36 times in the 175-year history of Fordham.”

As an expert in tropical medicine, Dr. Cahill’s career has taken him to four continents and 65 countries, including Somalia, Egypt, Lebanon, Nicaragua and Sudan. With a deeply profound interest in humanitarian aid and the goal of advancing the methods and framework by which humanitarian workers operate, he founded the IIHA in 2001, in partnership with the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC). Dr. Cahill continues to serve as the President of the CIHC and as a University Professor through the IIHA at Fordham.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 4.36.03 PMFather McShane described Dr. Cahill as “a man who has never lost a passion for serving the poorest of the poor and the most marginalized in society throughout the world. He is, to me, a hero.” Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Cahill has published over 30 books, been a longtime UN adviser, served as a chair of New York State’s Health Planning Commission, and is on the faculty of three universities. Yet, Father McShane noted that Dr. Cahill did not deem himself worthy of receiving the President’s Medal. In large part due to Father McShane’s continued encouragement, Dr. Cahill finally agreed to accept the award, as long as it could be presented at the IDHA commencement. “He chose the ceremony that meant more to him in all the years and for the program whose work means more to him than anything else, besides his family,” explained Father McShane. “It speaks volumes that he chose to receive the medal here.” Furthermore, he praised Dr. Cahill and his program for embodying “all the principles on which the University was founded and to which it devotes itself every day.”

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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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Humanitarian Newsletter: March 17, 2016

Read the latest newsletter featuring a letter from IIHA Executive Director Brendan Cahill (IDHA 9) announcing new partnerships with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Jesuit Refugee Service – JRS! This edition also remembers the life of CIHC Board Member Boutros Boutros-Ghali and includes a reflection on the IDHA 47 Graduation Ceremony, updates on Humanitarian Innovation from High Tech Humanitarians, and a chance to debate the future of refugee camps.

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