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IIHA Provides “Melting Pot of Information and People” to Network on Humanitarian Action Students

NOHA students Erik Lewerenz, Mu Chen, Stefanie Larsson, and Rebecca Lindqvist visit Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus with academic advisor Dr. Desiderio.

August 9, 2017, New York – For the third year since the initiation of a formal partnership, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs has hosted students from the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) to conduct research under the guidance of IIHA Research Fellow, Rene Desiderio, Ph.D at Fordham University.

Over the course of the summer, four students – Mu Chen, Rebecca Lindqvist and Stefanie Larsson from Uppsala University and Erik Lewerenz from Ruhr-Universität Bochum – have been conducting research on topics ranging from the role of architecture in post-disaster areas to effective methods for cash-transfer programming.

This summer program is one of several initiatives and a deepening partnership between the IIHA and NOHA. This summer, the IIHA is hosting researcher Cristina Churruca, Ph.D, the Coordinator of NOHA Master’s Consortium of Universities on Humanitarian Assistance and an expert on human security, protection and peace building.

In addition, Brendan Cahill, IIHA Executive Director, was recently selected as a member of NOHA’s Journal of International Humanitarian Action which aims to contribute to critical analysis and research that seeks to highlight contemporary challenges to humanitarian action.

For the summer NOHA students, studying at Fordham University has afforded them the opportunity to take advantage of the humanitarian network in New York City. Much of their research wouldn’t be possible without the proximity to the UN and humanitarian organizations of interest.

One student, Stefanie Larsson, is researching refugee resettlement in the United States and has found New York to be “a melting pot of information and people in many different areas of the humanitarian field.”

“A great part of the IIHA is the abundant amount of resources and knowledgeable people I have been connected with throughout my time in New York City at Fordham. I learned from the lecturers and was so encouraged to meet humanitarian workers…It made me very excited to get out in the field and start making a difference,” said Stefanie.

As the students near the end of their work at Fordham, they attribute the progress of their theses to the guidance of Dr. Desiderio who has helped them focus the structure of their research, refine their methodology, and, when possible, connect them with key informants on global humanitarian issues.

“The collaboration between the IIHA at Fordham and NOHA entails working closely with the students to chart a clear road map for their research that eventually leads to the completion of a thesis on a relevant and pressing humanitarian issue. Ultimately, we hope their research will contribute to the dearth of literature in the international humanitarian field,” said Dr. Desiderio.

“I would strongly recommend anyone to apply for a research track at Fordham University. Firstly because of the proximity to several large humanitarian organizations, especially the United Nations, which helps if your thesis would benefit from interviews with people situated in New York. Secondly, I would recommend it because of the valuable network one can build. Aside from the knowledge gained at lectures NOHA students are welcome to attend, participants of the summer courses are academics and practitioners from different organizations covering different geographical areas,” said Rebecca Lindqvist who is conducting her research on The Trust Principles for humanitarian operations in fragile states, specifically in the context of Somalia.

Johanna Lawton, IIHA Communications Intern

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