July 22 - Sept. 16, 2015
Training Humanitarians Around The World
The Urban Disasters course visits the UN headquarters in New York

More than half of the world's population now lives in urban areas. At the same time there is a higher occurrence of human-induced and natural urban disasters, and increasing numbers of displaced migrating to cities and towns. How can the humanitarian and international community respond more effectively to humanitarian challenges in the context of cities, informal settlements, and slums?

This past week, the IIHA, in collaboration with Fordham's Urban Studies Program, held its first Urban Displacement, Vulnerability and Displacement: Humanitarian Challenges course at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus. The course, co-directed by Rosemary Wakeman, Ph.D., Director of the Urban Studies Program and Rene Desiderio, Ph.D., IIHA Research Fellow, was attended by 20 participants from 12 different countries representing 14 different organizations.

Over the course of the week, students learned about urbanization and migration trends and challenges and gained a better understanding of the theoretical frameworks underpinning the study of urban areas. The week welcomed IIHA Executive Director Brendan Cahill (IDHA 9), who opened the course; IIHA Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow Alexander van Tulleken, M.D. (IDHA 16), who spoke about health responses in the urban context; UNHCR Senior Policy Advisor John Solecki (IDHA Guest Lecturer), who discussed cities and the UNHCR refugee policy; and Rick Fernandez (IDHA 39, IDHA Tutor), who offered noteworthy input and led the students in a disaster response scenario exercise.

Students also attended a briefing at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) where Brian Grogan, Chief of OCHA's Policy Analysis Innovation Section, and Romano  Lasker and Lilian Barajas, Humanitarian Affairs Officers at OCHA's Policy Branch, discussed the international humanitarian architecture and the role of OCHA in humanitarian response. The presentation was followed by a lecture on internal displacement in urban settings, delivered by OCHA Displacement Advisor Greta Zeender, who explored some of the issues concerning internally displaced persons (IDPs) in terms of access, protection, and gender. To facilitate a discussion about current initiatives that aim to bridge the gap between theory and practice, Lucy Earle, Ph.D., Urban Policy Advisor for DFID's Humanitarian Policy and Partnerships Group and co-lead of the Urban Expert Group for the World Humanitarian Summit, introduced DFID's urban crises program and emphasized the growing need for humanitarian responses informed by evidence-based research. The week closed with a visit to the Brooklyn Grange Navy Yard Farm to see the Refugee and Immigrant Fund (RiF) Urban Farm Recovery Project in action - a successful example of an urban refugee and asylum seeker livelihoods project. 

Follow our ongoing focus on Urban Disasters, Vulnerability and Displacement on Twitter! 
The Sphere Project is a voluntary initiative that brings a wide range of humanitarian agencies together around a common aim - to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance and the accountability of humanitarian actors to their constituents, donors and affected populations. The Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response, is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized sets of common principles and universal minimum standards in life-saving areas of humanitarian response.

The Sphere Project Board recently met in Rome and endorsed concrete steps to implement the Sphere 2020 strategic plan. Representatives of Sphere companion standards joined one of the sessions to discuss enhanced collaboration. The Sphere Project also recently released The Sphere Story, a three-part video documentary on the origins, dissemination and impact of Sphere principles and standards. It is available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish.
Call for Papers
Joe Lowry (IDHA 12) recently featured a post on his blog about global migration that was first published as an article in the influential Indonesian publication Strategic Review.
Samantha Andrews (SIHA 2, DMTC 6), intern for the Council on Foreign Relations' Center for Preventive Action (CFA), recently wrote a piece on the rise of the Islamic State in Yemen.
Durgavasini Devanath (IDHA 31, MIHA) accepted a new position as a Senior Emergency Health Officer for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Asia Pacific Zone.
Dr. Sr. Ephigenia Gachiri, IBVM (IIHA and IDHA Guest Lecturer) continues her work and advocacy to stop the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The Loreto Sisters' Project, Termination of Female Genital Mutilation, has focused on the reduction of FGM through seminar based education in rural Kenya. The project's 2014-2015 narrative report details the progress and challenges encountered while trying to combat this practice.
Barry Finette (IDHA 33, IDHA Tutor), THINKmd Founder and CEO, has now issued the fifth edition of of the organization's newsletter, which discusses THINKmd's recent developments and progress.
Nathalie Niden (IDHA 43, Class Graduation Speaker) was recently featured in the Swedish newspaper, Metro. Nathalie, 27, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 24, and in this article, she shares her story and some of the challenges and learning moments she has encountered since her diagnosis four years ago. As she writes in her personal blog, Imperfect Beautiful Life, "instead of relying on things being okay, I am making things okay by accepting my situation and keeping my hopes for the future realistic (yet positive)." The IIHA and IDHA family offers our prayers and support to Nathalie, and along with our friends and extended networks, we send our gratitude to her for allowing us to share in her inspiring journey.
Please note that this edition of the IIHA Humanitarian Newsletter is the last of  the summer. The newsletter will resume its normal publication schedule on September 16, 2015.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Addis Ababa,

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


The UN Secretary-General will convene the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul in 2016. This three-year initiative is being managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).  

The WHS aims to find new ways to address humanitarian needs in our fast-changing world and to bring the global community together to commit to new ways of working together to save lives and reduce hardship around the globe. The South and Central Asia Consultation will take place in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on 28-30 July.

The WHS has also recently released a new blog that will provide commentary and thoughts from UN and other contributors on current crises and modern humanitarian questions.

The WHS aims to build a more inclusive, diverse and truly global humanitarian system building on an extensive global consultation process with a wide range of actors involved in humanitarian action from all continents. The WHS accepts independent research, studies, policy papers and think pieces or other recommendations to feed into the analysis leading up to the Global Consultation in Geneva in October 2015 and the Summit in Istanbul in May 2016. Contributions must be submitted to the WHS secretariat by 31 July 2015.

On Thursday, 6 August 2015, PHAP, with the support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, will host an online briefing and consultation on Gender Based Violence in Humanitarian Crises  in support of the World Humanitarian Summit. As crisis situations continue around the world, the humanitarian community needs to respond to high levels of gender based violence. This online event will feature CARE International's Senior Gender in Emergency Specialist, Ms. Jasveen Ahluwalia and other speakers on the ways in which the world must act to safeguard women in crisis situations.
Thursday, September 10 - Friday, September 11, 2015

The Aid & International Development Forum (AIDF) is delighted to announce that the Global Disaster Relief Summit will return to Washington D.C. for its seventh year of bringing together leading humanitarian aid and disaster response experts. The summit will provide a unique platform to meet other experts from NGOs, Red Cross organizations, UN agencies, development banks, donor agencies, foundations, research institutes and private companies to discuss current challenges, innovative solutions and new opportunities for better delivery of disaster relief. This year's program will focus on the following themes: Logistics & Security in the Middle East, Health & Water, ICT & Data Management and Field Operations.

Pre-register your interest now to be first to enjoy engaging and inspiring discussions among over 60 expert speakers and mingle with over 400 delegates in just two days.

For more information: Please visit the event page.

Location: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C.
November 18 - November 20, 2015

The 7th annual Conference on Health and Humanitarian Logistics will be hosted by the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) at the University of Pretoria and co-organized by the Georgia Tech Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (HHS), the INSEAD Humanitarian Research Group, the MIT Humanitarian Response Lab and Northeastern University. The conference features plenary panels, and interactive workshops on a variety of topics related to supply chain management and logistics in global health and humanitarian response and development. The program also includes poster sessions and ample opportunities for networking. Further details on the conference agenda, theme and discussion topics will be available soon.

For the most current information: Please visit the event webpage.

Location: Sandton, South Africa
Saturday, March 5 - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The World Conference on Humanitarian Studies, "Changing Crises and the Quest for Adequate Solutions," will now take place from 5 - 8 March 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Since the turn of the century, we have not had as many large and concurring crises as today. While some historical conflict areas are slowly emerging from crises, Syria, Iraq, Libya, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, South Sudan, the Ukraine and other incumbent crises continue to spur human suffering, displace millions of people, destroy infrastructure and livelihoods, impair local institutions and create increasingly wicked political problems. As the number and diversity of crises is increasing, local actors, governments, and humanita rian organizations are struggling to understand what is going on and respond to them. At the same time, many other actors, varying from Private Military Security Companies and private foundations to religious groups have entered the fray. The fourth World Conference of Humanitarian Studies aims to deepen our understanding of how and why crises are changing, which actors play a role in them, how this changes the interplay between humanitarian action and other actors and systems, and how this affects the prospects of prevention, preparedness, response and development.

Important dates:
Panels can be submitted until 1 October 2015
Papers can be submitted until 25 December 2015

For the most current information: Please visit the event webpage.

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Monday, July 27, 2015 | 11:00 AM (UTC)

Area-based approaches are geographically-based, multi-sectoral, participatory ways of responding to urban crises. These approaches are increasingly being called for in research and policy documents, including featuring in the recommendations for the urban track to the World Humanitarian Summit. But how much do we know about them? What are the challenges and opportunities of area-based approaches? What practical examples do we have? What evidence is missing? Are area-based approaches appropriate for all urban contexts? This discussion-based webinar will explore these issues and others through a discussion of 'area-based' programming and coordination. Facilitated by ALNAP's Paul Knox Clarke, the webinar will include a short presentation by researcher Elizabeth Parker and then a discussion/Q&A session with Paul, Elizabeth and two operationally-experienced panelists: Andrew Cusack (Senior Coordination Officer, CCCM Cluster) and Holly Fuller (Program Manager, Typhoon Haiyan Recovery Program, Catholic Relief Services).

To register: Please visit the event webpage.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 2:00 PM (UTC)

Join the ALNAP Secretariat for a discussion on the results of the Global Forum for Improving Humanitarian Action and the road ahead to the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016. The Forum - which took place in New York on 4-5 June and will inform the WHS - gathered top humanitarians from 200 organizations who identified recommendations to make the international humanitarian system more adaptable to different crisis contexts.

To register: Please visit the event webpage.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 | 10:00 AM (EST)

Given that aid workers frequently operate in complex and insecure settings, some risks are inherent to humanitarian action. Nonetheless, recent years have seen a significant increase, in absolute terms, in deliberate attacks against humanitarian professionals. Furthermore, most aid workers do not benefit from specific protection under international law. While aid agencies and workers take steps to protect themselves through negotiations and by building acceptance or taking protective and deterrent measures, significant gaps remain in their protection from targeted violence. National staff members are particularly vulnerable - constituting the vast majority of aid workers and of attack victims - and yet tend to receive significantly less protection. This conversation will focus specifically on the legal protection of aid workers operating in insecure settings, including efforts to close the protection gap for humanitarian actors and promote accountability for perpetrators.

To register: Please visit the event webpage.