Tag Archives: IFRC

Alumni Update: Thomas Thorhauge (IDHA 37) and Durgavasini Devanath (IDHA 31)


Thomas Thorhauge (IDHA 37), Health Adviser at the British Red Cross, and Durgavasini Devanath (IDHA 31), Senior Emergency Health Officer at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Asia Pacific Zone Office recently met up in Kuala Lumpur. Durgavasini tagged some of her fellow students and friends in her post, saying: “Thinking of the rest of the IIHA/ CIHC family & looking forward to serendipitous meets soon.”

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IIHA Event Series Resources: Humanitarian Sector Response to the Migration Crisis

Christophe Lobry-Boulanger from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) spoke at Fordham on Thursday, March 31, 2016 as part of IIHA’s Spring Event Series “Challenges & Opportunities: Global Migration in the 21st Century”. You can read more about his presentation on our blog.

Mr. Lobry-Boulanger has recommended the following reading for those that are interested in continuing the conversation:

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IIHA Event: Christophe Lobry-Boulanger of the IFRC on Humanitarian Response to Migrant Crisis

For the next event in IIHA’s spring 2016 event series, Challenges & Opportunities: Global Migration in the 21st Century, Christophe Lobry-Boulanger from the International Federation of the Red Cross will discuss the humanitarian response to the ongoing migrant crisis. Mr. Lobry-Boulanger will give a status of the refugee crisis in Europe as well as the response from the International Red Cross perspective.

Christophe Lobry-Boulanger has over 15 years of service with the International Red Cross and American Red Cross. After serving at the UN Department of Political Affairs, he developed the International Services Department at the Greater New York Chapter of the American Red Cross,with a strong focus on International Humanitarian Law. As a volunteer with the GNY Red Cross and an International Delegate, he has been deployed to Haiti, Pakistan, the Philippines and Kenya to help provide humanitarian aid and assistance. For the past four years, he has served as an advisor at the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies Delegation to the United Nations, where he was responsible for the health file, among others. He has recently come back from West Africa where he was the Deputy Head of Regional Ebola Response for the Red Cross Movement, and various refugees related missions in Europe.

  • Date & Time: Thursday, March 31st at 12:30pm
  • Location: Fordham University | Room 1021 | Lowenstein Building | 113 W. 60th Street, New York, NY 10023
  • Chick here to RSVP
  • Lunch will be served

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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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Letter from IIHA Executive Director, Brendan Cahill

Dear friends,

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) movement is made up of 190 national societies throughout the world, with more than 100 million members. It has, for nearly twenty years, been a strong partner in our training, sharing its expertise and sending its members for our courses. On February 25, I joined IFRC Secretary General, H.E. Elhadj As Sy, in signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the IFRC and Fordham University. This agreement recognizes the work we have done together and formalizes our partnership in training, research and other areas of mutual interest.

We are also pleased to announce a signed Memorandum of Understanding with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). Founded in 1975, JRS has, as its mission, “to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons”. We have worked with JRS for many years, training their country directors and regional directors, and, as an Institute within a Jesuit University, our goals are similar.
In both cases, our partners not only want to offer assistance to those in need, but to also allow them to retain their dignity and to be a part of their own recovery process. With the IFRC, they enable the national societies to rebuild their own capacity. With JRS, they accompany those they serve, and bear personal witness to those trials and tribulations.
Our Institute began with the idea that we had as much to learn as we did to teach, and our growth, through the IDHA, the MIHA, the undergraduate programs and our publications, is directly connected to the personal relationships we’ve fostered over the last twenty years. These two memoranda build on that.
Brendan Cahill  (IDHA 9)
IIHA Executive Director

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IDHA Family Reunion!

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Piwi Ophoff (IDHA 24, MIHA, IDHA Alumni Council) shares a photo from a recent reunion with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies USG for Partnerships, Dr. Jemilah Mahmood (IDHA Honoris Causa Recipient), and IFRC Senior Emergency Health Officer Dr. Durgavasini Devanath (IDHA 31, MIHA)


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IIHA welcomes 16 new graduates into the IDHA alumni family!


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!

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Humanitarian Spotlight: Maude Froberg (IDHA 19)

Nepal: Who Would We Be if We Did Not Try?

By Maude Froberg,IDHA 19


Night falls in Kathmandu. We sleep in the streets, in the tents, in the parks. The last strong tremor still present in the body. Local or foreigner, it doesn’t matter. In the darkness, we are equally together and alone. All the senses are amplified, each sound is recorded, every movement in the ground.

The worst thing is the dogs’ howling just before an earthquake. Can you trust the warning or is it just one night-blind pooch that confuses itself into scaring us all?

Two new aftershocks last night confirmed the dogs’ premonition. It is the primary wave before the earthquake that animals feel. We humans are fleeing at the larger secondary wave. Yet only by imagining the unimaginable, we can predict the unpredictable. But when the instinct is up against the mind, usually the instinct wins. We run for our lives. No looking back.

I rejoice to hear the first call of the cuckoo at dawn. It’s a strange feeling to hear the cuckooing here in Kathmandu, as if it were in the wrong place. But as long as he calls, I feel safe. Even the birds seem to have their patterns before danger is approaching. They go silent.

Every day we share analysis on how our relief efforts are working. Every step forward is a motivation for us all. But beyond the graphs of tarpaulins, tents and water delivered, there’s always a deeper story.

High up in the mountains, close to the border with China, the Canadian Red Cross had just opened a basic health care unit at the bottom of a valley. It was just after the first massive earthquake on 25 April.

Tatopani, as the town is called, was badly affected, the lives of people shattered and houses demolished. Each day higher numbers of the injured sought assistance. The doctors and the nurses in continuous service, the interpreters their to ensure the service works. How deep is the pain? Can you bend your leg? They treated more than 50 people every day.

Above the clinic clung houses on the hillsides, surround roads cut off. Some days they were closed. Landslides were numerous and heavy rocks rushed down the slopes. But roads were cleared and opened again for passage. The landslides continued.

Here, just 16 kilometers from the epicenter of the second massive earthquake in Nepal, people struggled against all odds. Mountainsides were literally broken apart and soon the city was covered in dust. As was the Red Cross health care unit, but the staff continued to work. Reaching out with helping hands, treating concussions and crushing injuries, they even managed to deliver a baby.

It comes with our mission that no one wants to give up, but this time nature had other ideas. The following morning we withdraw the staff and a seriously injured patient by helicopter. A crevice in the rock just above the health care unit uncovered a large boulder which could tumble down at any time, putting patients and staff at risk.

It was a painful but necessary decision.

The relief efforts in Nepal have only just begun. Under the most difficult circumstances new plans are drawn up, and equipment and supplies are carried out by Red Cross staff and volunteers in a kind of defiant hope. It is challenging work in extremely difficult circumstances. But who would we be if we did not try?

Maude Froberg is a Communications and Advocacy manager for the International Federation of the Red Cross and red Crescent Societies (IFRC) South Asia and a graduate of the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA 19). This article was written on May 15, 2015.


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IIHA Spotlight: IDHA 44

Dear friends,
Two weeks ago, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) began its 44th International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) at Château de Bossey near Geneva, Switzerland. The IIHA team welcomed 24 students from 18 different nations, representing 21 different humanitarian organizations and currently working in 17 countries around the world.
Once again, the IDHA was led by IIHA Humanitarian Programs Director, Larry Hollingworth, C.B.E, who was joined by a strong group of tutors: Anthony Land, Ph.D. (IIHA Senior Fellow), Al Panico (IDHA 30), and David Bopp (IDHA 27).
The course was opened by CIHC Board Member and Chief of Mission of the IOM in Germany, Argentina Szabados (IDHA 2), who kindly took time to travel and speak with the participants. During the first week, CIHC Board Member and former DG of UNRWA Peter Hansen delivered a session on Palestine and Israel to which the students participated with great enthusiasm and debate. Brigadier James Ellery, C.B.E. (AEGIS), talked about the work of Private Security Companies in the field. We were honored to include in the program lectures on Human Rights Law delivered by James Rodehaver (UNHCHR), International Humanitarian Law by Vincent Sautenet (ICRC), Disaster Law by Tessa Kelly (IFRC) and Paulo Caveleri (IFRC), and a case study on humanitarian coordination in the Philippines by Jesper Lund (OCHA, IDHA 11).
It was my pleasure to spend the second week with the participants and alumni, getting to know them and speaking to them about our programs and our IDHA family. They had worked hard in their exams and their presentations and were preparing for the upcoming week. When we look at the numbers above, we focus on how different they are: 24 students from 18 different countries. In a little more than a week, they will leave the beautiful Château de Bossey and return to their work. What we should never lose focus on, however, is how the IDHA brings these different people together, how they become friends, how they forge personal relationships with one another, with their tutors, and, hopefully, with the alumni that they meet. It is for this reason that I wanted to be with them: to urge them to keep their focus on the things that make us one group and one family. This could not be done without the remarkable work of the staff, especially the tutors, and, above all, Larry Hollingworth.
We wish them the best of luck on their papers, their presentations, and their exams, and welcome them into our IDHA family.
Brendan Cahill (IDHA 9)
Executive Director, IIHA
Fordham University

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