On Thursday, February 25th, the IIHA welcomed 16 new graduates into the IDHA alumni family. The graduation was marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) represented by H.E. Secretary General Elhadj As Sy and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) represented by Executive Director Brendan Cahill (IDHA 9). The partnership will allow the organizations to collaborate on distance learning, joint training programs, symposia, research and publications.
The remarks offered throughout the graduation ceremony by Course Director Larry Hollingworth, C.B.E., Brendan Cahill, and H.E. Elhadj As Sy did not shy away from the complex realities of the humanitarian sector and indeed the world, but they did in the words of Course Administrator Suzanne Arnold “present a determined and concerted declaration to work together, as a group and as a family, always remembering and applying what they learned from each other in order to improve their care for the most vulnerable.”
In his keynote address, H.E. Secretary General Elhadj As Sy echoed the sentiment of the ceremony: “It is true that in a family of humanitarians, each one of us passes others, and a part of us passes on to them, but more importantly they will continue to live on in each of us in what we do on a daily basis by continuing in the same mission. We are a family because we are united by our shared humanity. We are a family of those who care. We are here because we care. We care about what is going on in the world. We care about the shocks and crises we experience. We are also here because we care about the many situations of vulnerabilities where so many people are waking up on a daily basis in difficult situations, trying to develop strategies for survival and trying not only to recover the loss of livelihood, livestocks and material things, but also trying to recover what is most important to them that they have lost along the way. I believe that this is a cause so special, and is a cause that only can apply to special people, and I believe that if you graduate from this course, then you are special. You could have chosen to do so many other things. Somewhere, somehow there is a reason for for why you have chosen to do this.”
Hazim Khudair Almagabial of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (ICRC) delivered the participant address, during which he emphasized the graduation as the start of a new chapter, saying: “I don’t know why we keep focusing on this day as the ‘last day’, because, in fact, today is only the beginning. In fact, today is our ‘first day.’ Today is the day we, IDHA 47, begin a new chapter – a better chapter, a chapter where we begin to apply all the knowledge, lessons, and skills we learned over the course of the past month. So, yes, we have no more exams, no more papers, no more presentations, but we still have work to do – work that will be so much better now that we have finished the IDHA. We now have skills, and new knowledge, and new personal and professional connections. It is amazing and a true privilege to be able to share this day with you – the end of one chapter, but the beginning of a much brighter and more promising one.”
As the participants sat with their diplomas in hand, Larry Hollingworth looked to the participants soon to join the 2,500 alumni who carry the IDHA qualification: “Now is the time for you, IDHA 47, to step into your own shoes, put your shoulders back, hold your head up high and go forth and change your corner of the world”.
Congratulations IDHA 47!