Tag Archives: IIHA Alumni

Second Graduate, Gianluigi Lopes (IDHA 37), earns MIHA Diploma

Gianluigi Lopes - todaydiplomaThe IIHA is proud to announce the graduation of Gianluigi Lopes (IDHA 37) from Fordham University’s Master’s in International Humanitarian Action (MIHA) Program!

Gianluigi, who began his career as a political scientist following his graduation from the University of Bologna in 2004, was employed for almost three years as freelance journalist and press officer for the private sector. He joined the humanitarian sector in 2008, and has since worked in countries including Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, DR Congo, Guinea, Haiti, Holland, Italy, Iran, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Malta, Mexico, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Africa, USA, Spain, and Switzerland. Gianluigi Lopes - liberia-exploteam2012His work in humanitarian contexts has spanned the fields of communications, advocacy, training, logistics, information, and project management. A majority of his assignments have been linked to humanitarian medical interventions such as forced migration (Lampedusa, Malta, and detention centres for irregular migrants), displacement and conflict (Sudan), diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (South Africa, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, DR Congo, and Cambodia), and epidemics (Ebola in Western Africa, Cholera in Haiti and Sierra Leone).

Gianluigi Lopes - myoffice2010In 2015, Gianluigi worked for the World Health Organization (OMS/WHO) in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as regional information manager for the Ebola response, during which time he was seconded as health pillar coordinator in the cluster system at the National stadium of Freetown to support the flood response efforts. Prior to that, he was a senior communications adviser in several MSF headquarters (Brussels, Geneva, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Rome) and was part of the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Ebola Task Force in Sierra Leone as an intersectional advocacy and liaison manager.

In his MIHA thesis, entitled “Embraced by the locals: Perception and acceptance of foreign aid,” Gianluigi examines the evolving impediments faced by international humanitarian agencies in their attempts to provide assistance to populations in need. He analyzes several typologies of the rejection of aid, provides possible causes of this phenomenon, and ultimately suggests that a perception gap characterizes the relations established among aid agencies and local actors within the operational contexts. Through this study, Gianluigi devises possible steps to be taken in order to improve the understanding of the contexts where aid efforts take place, and therefore diminish the misconceptions regarding the humanitarian discourse in emergency response.

Gianluigi Lopes - farewellhaiti2011Gianluigi is currently working for the Italian Red Cross as Head of Delegation in the Occupied Territories in Ramallah – Palestine and is in charge for the operations in the MENA area.

Congratulations Gianluigi! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

 

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Alumni Update: Author Terrence Ward (IDHA 12)

Aside from their humanitarian achievements, IIHA alumni possess a wide range of other talents, many of which venture into the realms of literature and the arts. One example is Terrence Ward (IDHA 12) who authored “The Guardian of Mercy: How an Extraordinary Painting by Caravaggio Changed an Ordinary Life Today,”  which offers an incredible narrative journey into the heart of Caravaggio’s artistry and his metamorphosis from fugitive to visionary.

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Alumni Update: Fausto Aarya de Santis (IDHA 44, IDHA Tutor)

Fausto Aarya de SantisFausto Aarya de Santis (IDHA 44, IDHA Tutorparticipated as a panelist in a podcast on The Role of Humanitarian Professionals in Promoting Respect for IHL organized by Harvard’s Advanced Training Program in Humanitarian Action (ATHA).

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Alumni Update: Joe Lowry (IDHA 12)

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Joe Lowry (IDHA 12) updates the Chief of Mission for Papua New Guinea’s blog The last Children of the Tide with new software, Shorthand Social. In their most recent blog post George Gigauri writes about a trip to the Carteret Islands.

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Alumni Update: Joe Lowry (IDHA 12)

Joe Lowry (IDHA 12) shared with us a blog piece he authored for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director General William Lacy Swing in advance of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) last month. You can read the text and watch the full video of the spoken word blog post on Joe’s blog.

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Alumni Update: James Tan (IDHA 44)

James Tan (IDHA 44) of Rescue & Relief International recently shared a post with the IIHA: “Remembering the devastated but resilient Nepalese communities that RRI had the privilege of serving and befriending, one year on….”

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Alumni Update: Matthew Hollingworth (IDHA 1)

Matthew untitledHollingworth (IDHA 1) was featured in an article, “WFP Raises Alarm Over Threats to Fragile Syria Truce” from the DailyMail.com. His comments stress how an end to the ceasefire will exacerbate already existing challenges to accessing vulnerable populations, putting even more lives at risk.

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Alumni Update: Timo Luege (IDHA 21)

Timo Luege’s (IDHA 21) most recent article “Telecoms cluster strategy emphasizes #Commisaid but raises questions” has been posted on his blog, Social Media for Good and talks about the 2015 Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) goals and how they will attempt to improve humanitarian response efforts by the year 2020.

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Ecuador Earthquake Response: IDHA Alumni Working Together in the Field

IDHA 40 Graduates Wilson Gomez Vascones (left) and Rahul Singh (right) stand with Colónel Rueda

IDHA 40 Graduates Wilson Gomez Vascones (left) and Rahul Singh (right) stand with Colónel Rueda

Guayaquil, Ecuador (Wilson Gomez Vascones) – On Saturday April 16th at 6:58 PM, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador; many local efforts started immediately, and in the days to follow, many governments and international organizations began arriving with different types of assistance. The organization that I coordinate here in Guayaquil, Red de Voluntariado Juvenil (“Youth Volunteering Network”), started planning how to best assist with food, shelter management, and also medical assistance in the sectors.

unnamed4Within the first few days of the Earthquake response, Rahul Singh, Executive Director of GlobalMedic and the International Rapid Response Team from Canada, contacted me to offer support and assistance right away. Rahul and I had met during the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) Training Course in June 2013, and have since collaborated on building local capacity here in Ecuador. Rahul and I agreed that his team would arrive by Monday night while I worked on securing the necessary permission to operate on ground zero.

The experience that Rahul brought with him – experience gained through his assistance and support of various agencies in disasters and humanitarian emergencies – was invaluable. 13170044_10156821476380307_502367304_oWe visited every coordination table to assist with different relief operations and in addition to experience and knowledge, GlobalMedic assisted Ecuador in its Earthquake relief efforts by providing: the R4 incorporated finders team who, in coordination of Durán Fire Department, worked the whole week on Search and Rescue tasks confirming there were no longer victims under the rubble; AR10 units that produce 2400 liters/hour of potable water, AR3 units which are several trekkers that purify water by 240 liters/hour, and1,000 buckets of fresh rain that produce 3 liters/hour and work best for families; and several thousands of aquatabs.  GlobalMedic also provided a specialty group of drone pilots that flew over the affected areas mapping the areas and allowing for real time information and data to ensure the best resources for decision makers. This effort was done in coordination with the Secretariat of Disaster Risk Reduction (SGR) who requested the areas be mapped, and with the Ecuadorian Air Force that cleared the requested areas so the drones could fly without risks.

The Red de Voluntariado Juvenil continued the programs that were running while providing essential unnamed3logistics and coordination support to GlobalMedic. Now we have around 300 volunteers in the affected areas obtaining information for the next part of the interventions which will be to build houses with partner organizations such as Techo and Hogar de Cristo. The partner organizations also invited Fronteras, a Jesuit spirituality community that looks to serve the people in need where needed the most, to share their knowledge on accompaniment in order to serve better.

unnamedIt has being a great experience to work together with Rahul as IDHA alumni, and all the knowledge gained and shared during the IDHA back in 2013 has assisted us greatly in our work. We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate and we continue to build more great relationships with every course we take through the IIHA.

unspecifiedWilson Gomez Vascones is Coordinator of the youth volunteering network, Red de Voluntariado Juvenil, based in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He is also part of the volunteers at Guayaquil fire department (which has been run by volunteers for 181 years). He is a graduate of IDHA 40.

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Alumni Update: Barry Finette (IDHA 33, IDHA Tutor)

ThinkMD, created by IDHA 33 Alumnus and IDHA Tutor, Barry Finette, has announced that it will be partnering with Physician’s Computer Company (PCC) in order to expand and bring their product, MEDSINC to the market in the U.S.

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