HUMANITARIAN NEWSLETTER
April 28 - May 12, 2014
Training Humanitarians Around The World
HUMANITARIAN SPOTLIGHT
South Sudan - Many Pasts, No Solution?
Is the international community helping or hindering?

Opinion Piece by Ferdinand von Habsburg-Lothringen

The storm clouds have gathered - this was the feeling, as the first major political rumbles of thunder echoed around Juba in early December of 2013. Few doubted that the internal exchanges within the ruling party, Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM), were serious. The subsequent fighting that broke out among the Presidential Guard, in South Sudan's capital Juba, and rapidly escalated across into Jonglei State, exposing the major, known fractures within the national Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA), and the rapidly ensuing polarization that pitted the key communities in South Sudan against each other on a level unprecedented since the second civil war indicated that none of this came out of the blue. The contours of these major fault lines were known to all South Sudanese and any international observer interested enough to read or ask questions.

The fall-out of this violence over nearly 4 months are catastrophic - an estimated tens of thousands dead, over 1 million internally displaced, over 250,000 refugees, a fractured army, a shaky cessation of hostilities that is hardly holding, a political dialogue nurtured by the Inter-Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD) that few South Sudanese have confidence in and a failed development project. 3 state capitals have been razed to the ground and the future of the world's newest country is as insecure as it has ever been, even during its interim phase after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005.

Recent observers, disaster journalists, fresh-faced diplomats and eager humanitarians have expounded fluently on the crisis, waxing lyrical on the political fall-out and the latest clashes as well as the gossip around the talks in Ethiopia. But the international community's knowledge of the underlying causes of the conflicts in South Sudan, despite years of consecutive analysis, apparently fell short of predicting all this as one senior international official after another exclaimed surprise over the crisis - perhaps exposing over-confidence in their political leverage, recognition of their personal failures and ultimately need for professional self-preservation.

Now, the headlines seem to predict the trajectory of yet another failed state: committees investigating human rights abuses, demands for accountability, threat of sanctions, the call for justice, humanitarian appeals, accusations of international interference, trials against coup plotters... The war of words between yet another entrenched African government and donors... Was independence a mistake, do the many birth attendants regret having being invited to bring it into the light of day, knowing that the parents were so frail and close to divorce?

Certainly, the humanitarian crisis will dominate the headlines again and for many months to come, as millions are food insecure and vulnerable, while the international community ruminates on its next steps, nursing bruised egoes and pulling out a more combative line to attempt to check what it sees as a potentially authoritarian state.

But perhaps this indicates a much more worry set of issues too, besides those accompanying seemingly failed post-conflict states and one we are much less comfortable in talking about...
Lecture Series: South Sudan in Crisis

Given the deteriorating situation in South Sudan, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) presents its Spring 2014 Lecture Series: South Sudan in Crisis.

The first event of the series, "Making Peace in Dangerous Places: Lessons from Sudan and South Sudan for Contemporary Conflicts," featured guest speaker Dr. Dirk-Jan Omtzigt, who discussed the peace building and negotiation processes that culminated in the division of the two nations during the 2011 independence referendum.

This event was then followed by a Symposium, titled  "Perspectives on National Reconciliation in South Sudan: Lessons Learnt from South Africa, Rwanda, and Sudan", organized by Fordham's African and African American Studies Department.

The next event, on Tuesday, April 29, will feature a screening of the documentary The Longest Kiss followed by a discussion with Director Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque.
 

Follow our Twitter Conversation at: #IIHASouthSudan

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HUMANITARIANISM & ACADEMIA
By: Dr. Amir Idris

In this article, Dr. Amir Idris, Professor and Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Fordham University, briefly sums up the current state of the political leadership in South Sudan and offers his perspective on the current crisis of governance and citizenship, and possible ways forward.

Dr. Amir Idris recently hosted the Symposium "Perspectives on National Reconciliation in South Sudan: Lessons Learnt from South Africa, Rwanda, and Sudan," a complement to the IIHA's Spring 2014 Lecture Series: South Sudan in Crisis.

By: Dr. Lynne Jones

Dr. Lynne Jones, a relief worker and child psychiatrist, interviewed over 40 Serb and Muslim children who came of age during the Bosnian War and now returns, 20 years after the war began, to discover the adults they have become. This audiobook is a must-listen for anyone interested in human rights, children's issues, and the psychological fallout from war, this engaging audiobook addresses the continuing debate about PTSD, the roots of ethnic identity and nationalism, the sources of global conflict, the best paths toward peacemaking and reconciliation, and the resilience of the human spirit.

*Dr. Lynne Jones is Co-Director of the IIHA's Mental Health in Complex Emergencies Course, which will be held at Fordham University in New York from July 13 - July 18, 2014.


International Women's Day - March 8, 2014 - marked the official launch of Chasing Misery, an anthology of 21 essays and 26 photographs contributed by women who have worked in humanitarian responses during the last decade. All of the essays are first person accounts of specific experiences women had which challenged or inspired them. It has been my honor to contribute - both as an editor and author/photographer - to this work, which provides a deeper insight into the complex world of humanitarian responses through the eyes of those on the front lines." 

- Carmen Crow Sheehan, IIHA Alumna, Mental Health in Complex Emergencies Course (MHCE 6 / NYC 2009)

 

For additional information, please visit: 
Chasing Misery website: www.chasingmisery.com 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/chasingmisery1 
Twitter: @chasing_misery 
Interview (Washington Institute with Kelsey Hoppe, head of the editorial team)

 

 

NEW YORK EVENTS
Tuesday, April 29, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) is pleased to announce the next event of its 

Spring 2014 Lecture Series: South Sudan in Crisis.

This event will feature a screening of the documentary, The Longest Kiss,  followed by a discussion and Q&A session with the Director, Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque.

The meeting of the Blue and White Nile in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, is referred to as "the longest kiss in history." The film follows six young Sudanese searching for a place to call "home" as their journeys take the audience up and down the Nile, between north and south Sudan, ahead of the South's secession. Facing conflicting identities, youth in north Sudan grapple with a stale dictatorship while others in south Sudan hope to start over-but at what cost? It is an intimate portrait of a complex society that bears witness to its inevitable fragmentation.

Please RSVP on the Fordham website or to iihaoutreach@fordham.edu 

Follow our Twitter Conversation! #IIHASouthSudan 

For more information: Please contact Kasia Laskowski at 212-636-6294 or laskowski@fordham.edu 

Location: Lowenstein Center, Room 524, Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, 113 W. 60th St., New York, New York 10027

Human Rights in Today's World: 7th Annual  International Studies Conference  
Wednesday, April 30 - Thursday, May 1, 2014

 The International Studies Department at Fordham University is hosting its 7th Annual International Studies Conference, which will focus on Human Rights in Today's World.

 

The sessions will include topics related to Human Rights and the World Cup, Writing a Senior Thesis, Humanitarian Responses to Human Crises and Women's Rights. Presenters will be drawn from the Departments of International Studies and Latin American and Latino Studies at Fordham University, and various humanitarian agencies and NGOs, as well as media organizations including Witness, WFP, WPI, UNOCHA, Amnesty International USA, and others.

 

For more information on the lectures or presenters, please review the event flyer here or kindly send an email to Thomas S. De Luca
 
Location: Session I will take place in Room 524 and Session II will be held in Room 518 at the Lowenstein Center, Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, 113 W. 60th St., New York, New York 10027
Thursday, August 28 - Friday, August 29

UN DPI/ NGO will be holding a conference this coming summer and the dates and location are now in place! Plans are underway to have an opening event on the evening of Wednesday, 27 August and possible side events on Saturday, 30 August. So save the above dates and start your planning!

To register: Please register online. 

Location: United Nations Headquarters, between 42nd & 48th Street, New  York, NY 10017

NATIONAL EVENTS
HumTech2014
Tuesday, May 13 - Thursday, May 15

Humanitarian Technology: Science, Systems and Global Impact is an exciting, relevant and technically focused international conference that will explore emerging technologies that further enable global humanitarian assistance.

To register: Please click here.

Location: The Marriott Courtyard, 777 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139

Sunday, May 18 - Friday, May 23

The American University Washington College of Law is hosting it's 19th Annual Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition. The competition was established to train attorneys on how to use the Inter-American human rights legal system as a legitimate forum for redressing human rights violations. It requires students to argue the merits of a hypothetical case written on a cutting-edge topic currently being debated within the Inter-American human rights legal system. All student team members must be enrolled in a Juris Doctor (JD) degree program or its international equivalent to participate as a team. The oral round sessions occur in May, in Washington, DC. Register as a team or to participate as an observer by March 2014.

For more information: Please visit www.wcl.american.edu or email Becca Russell-Einhorn at iamoot@wcl.american.edu

Location: American University Washington College of Law, 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016

Wednesday, July 9 - Thursday, July 10

The Aid & International Development Forum's 6th annual Disaster Relief Summit is the world-leading gathering for international humanitarian experts at relief agencies, NGOs and charity associations, UN and government agencies, development banks and donors and innovative technology and service providers. AIDF summits are designed to create a mutual platform to facilitate and encourage exchange of thoughts, share expertise and present the lessons learned through first-hand experiences. The summit strives to enable quicker and better response during crisis and catastrophes in a more effective, sustainable and cost-efficient way.

To register: Please register online here.

Location: Washington DC, USA. Conference venue details will be determined soon.

 

INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
Wednesday, May 14 - Thursday, May 15

The 2013 EAS brought together professionals from more than 80 associations to discuss latest trends and exchange ideas. Working sessions involved top panelists from industry and institutions; speakers came from the European Commission and Associations. It was a mix that certainly pleased attendees: high satisfaction scores were reported across the board. The second edition next year will build on this success. Tying in again with the European Business Summit, 2014 EAS will add new and innovative topics to the program, helping participants add value to their association.

For more information: Please visit visitbrussels.be or email eas2014@visitbrussels.be

Location: Brussels, Belgium

2014 Health & Humanitarian Logistics Conference
Wednesday, June 4 - Thursday, June 5

The 6th annual conference will be hosted by the Tecnológico de Monterrey at its Santa Fe campus and co-organized by the Health & Humanitarian Logistics Center at Georgia Tech (HHL), the Humanitarian Response Lab at MIT, and the Humanitarian Research group at INSEAD. Activities will encourage discourse among participants through plenary panels, interactive workshops, poster sessions on innovative research, and other educational and networking activities. Discussions will focus on the role of logistics in areas such as disaster response, health systems and food security as well as highlight the unique logistical challenges for humanitarian response in Latin America.

Registration: Please register online here.

For any additional questions or topic suggestions: Please contact one of the co-organizers at Georgia TechINSEAD, or MIT.

Location: Tecnologico de Monterrey, Santa Fe Campus. Avenida Carlos Lazo 100. Please visit the Venue website for additional information.

Wednesday, June 4 - Friday, June 6

The 18th annual Humanitarian Human Resources (HR) Europe Conference will explore what the future holds for humanitarian HR. The conference will focus on three themes: how to measure and demonstrate the impact of HR; global mobility, which will explore national vs international reward and more; as well as the opportunities and challenges of working in consortia.

For more information: Please visit www.peopleinaid.org

Location: Budapest, Hungary

ONLINE EVENTS
Tuesday, April 29, 15:00 - 16:30 (BST)

Private giving from individuals, foundations and corporations is an increasingly important source of funding for humanitarian assistance. As humanitarian needs grow and the budgets of many traditional donor governments reduce, aid agencies are looking to a diverse set of new funding sources in both established and emerging economies. The responses to the crises in Syria and the Philippines have highlighted this rich mix.

So what is the real value of private giving and what are the benefits in comparison to other sources of funding? Who are the key current and new actors and do they hold the answer to the future of humanitarian financing? What role can and are emerging economies playing? And how can the accountability, coordination and effectiveness of all these diverse resources be improved?

The event will also feature findings from ODI and the Humanitarian Futures Program's research into the roles of business and the private sector in humanitarian crises, emergency preparedness and response.

To register: Please register online here.

Follow #privateaid on Twitter for live coverage.
Wednesday, April 30, 1:30 - 5:00 (BST)

Rebecca Petras from CDAC Network Member 'Translators without Borders', and Justine Mackinnon from 'Standby Task Force', will lead a practical 101 seminar on digital humanitarian response for the CDAC Network. This seminar is aimed at program and field staff from humanitarian organizations engaged in communicating with communities.

In this fully interactive event, Rebecca and Justine will lead participants through discussions on: what digital humanitarians do, and what they can achieve working together with humanitarian agencies; a vision of how digital humanitarians, NGOs and other humanitarian responders will collaborate in the future and finally steps which need to be taken together to make this happen. Participants will also have the opportunity to be involved in a mini-simulation, showcasing how humanitarian responders can use the work undertaken by these volunteer-based networks, both of which are members of the Digital Humanitarian Network.

To register: Please register online here. 

Tuesday, May 6, 3:00 - 5:00 (BST)

The world of science and technology has a lot to offer those affected by or responding to the risk of disasters. But producing and using knowledge about disaster risk is far from a straightforward process. The challenge is in bringing together this wealth of local and scientific knowledge to enable communities to become more resilient in the face of disasters. One crucial way of promoting dialogue and supporting decision making processes are participatory games and exercises.

This event will comprise debate, games and workshop demonstrations led by Emma Visman, author of Knowledge Is Power, a network paper on using science and technology to enhance community resilience through knowledge exchange.

To register: Please register online here.