Tag Archives: Humanitarian Aid

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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Ruth Jebb, Humanitarian Nurse and IDHA Alumna, Awarded Florence Nightingale Medal for Exceptional Courage and Devotion

Ruth Jebb at work during a cholera outbreak in Torit, South Sudan

July 17, 2017, New York – In her everyday life in Brisbane, Australia, Ruth Jebb (IDHA 37 alumna) works as a Clinical Nurse Consultant at a large tertiary hospital, but when disaster strikes abroad she takes on the role of nurse and midwife as an emergency responder deployed with the Red Cross and the Australian Medical Assistance Team.

Throughout her myriad of deployments she has provided lifesaving care during earthquakes in New Zealand and Nepal, typhoons in the Philippines, conflict in South Sudan, cholera outbreaks in Chad, among other trying situations. More recently, she has focused on training local health care responders in community health provision, psychosocial support, and maternal, neonatal and child health care.

Twelve years after beginning her humanitarian health care career in northern Kenya, Ruth was awarded the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal this past May. The award acknowledges five Australians who have shown “exceptional courage and devotion to the sick, wounded or disabled in conflict or disaster zones.”

She was selected by a commission of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Council of Nurses.

Whether at home or in humanitarian situations abroad, Ruth remains committed to her responsibility to “support, mentor, teach and lead.” However, in humanitarian settings, the distinct lack of access to resources, intense workloads and contextual differences poses a more severe set of challenges.

“Back at home, I often take it for granted that we work in a protected environment, where people are able to access quality health care safely and efficiently. We have all the resources we need to provide care to those who need it. Often, when working in developing contexts and post-disaster environments, it can be heartbreaking hearing the stories of people travelling for days to reach health care facilities, or of those who never make it, often with ailments that require simple life-saving and life-changing interventions.  It can be confronting not being able to provide the same standard of care that we are so accustomed to back home.”

Security issues further impede these efforts, often adding another layer of complexity.

“Although personal safety is a priority it can be incredibly frustrating to be limited by security incidents that are occurring either directly or indirectly, especially when it involves life and death situations amongst the community you are there to assist.”

In 2007, she was deployed on a nine-month mission to manage the ICRC’s Therapeutic Feeding Center in Gereida, Darfur. Home to close to 145,000 internally displaced persons, Gereida was “a challenging mission, not only as a result of the direct impact of looking after so many unwell, undernourished and often dying children, but also because of the ongoing security risks that were a reality of our day-to-day life.”

Ruth recalls one incident when her vehicle was hijacked at gunpoint. She escaped the situation unscathed, but the access the team was allowed to have in that location was consequently impeded, drastically affecting the impact of their mission.

In spite of such challenges, Ruth managed patient intake and triaged thousands of patients in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, the deadliest in the country on record killing 6,300 people. She also coordinated the activities of four Red Cross hospitals and 6 mobile health units following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

On these missions, her main objective has been to offer training to local health care workers in pursuit of more sustainable disaster relief.

“Supporting and prioritizing capacity building is paramount in disaster response.  Not only does mentoring and training become an avenue for relationship building, but it also enhances local capacity for future disaster responses.  Committing to developing the skills and training of the local staff is also key to engagement and acceptance,” she said.

Honored to receive this award, Ruth accredits the motivation for her work to groups like the Australian Red Cross, who have an “unwavering commitment to helping those in need, whether it be locally or in our backyard, or in the context of an international humanitarian crisis.”

“For me the Red Cross embraces the responsibility of placing value upon humanity,” she says.

Ruth Jebb is an alumna of the IIHA’s International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance.

Angela Wells, IIHA Communications Officer

Johanna Lawton, IIHA Communications Intern

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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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IIHA Humanitarian Programs Director Interviewed by Fordham News

Spotlight on Humanitarian Aid Work

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Leitner Center event featuring IIHA Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow, Alex van Tulleken, M.D.

How to Use Humanitarian Aid: A Guide for Abusive States

  • Date: October 6, 2015
  • Location: Room 4-09, Fordham Law School, 150 W. 62nd St. New York, NY 10023

Humanitarian Aid frequently brings desirable commodities and foreign currency into complex emergencies where powerful actors – abusive governments, rebel militias, private companies and others – have different and frequently competing agendas. A number of countries have been the target of humanitarian dollars for several decades and have become expert at manipulating humanitarian aid for their own purposes. Join the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice as IIHA Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow Alex Van Tulleken examines specific examples of this and the vulnerabilities that make it possible for NGOs and UN agencies to be co-opted into state abuses.

For more information, please visit the event page.

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