October 14 - 28, 2015
This past Saturday marked World Mental Health Day (WMHD) 2015, a day spearheaded by the World Federation for Mental Health to promote dignified, humane treatment of those with mental illness. The day comes only weeks following the UN's approval of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include a new target to address to mental health needs. In recognition of WMHD 2015, events were hosted around the world to promote this year's theme of "Dignity in Mental Health." The renewed attention to mental health and psychosocial issues highlights the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world are afflicted by mental health problems, yet many still suffer in silence, or are victims of stigma, discrimination and abuse.

From September 20-30, the IIHA, in partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), HealthNet TPO, and International Medical Corps (IMC), hosted its 11th annual Mental Health in Complex Emergencies (MHCE) training course to discuss and address some of the challenges of providing mental health and psychosocial care in (post) conflict areas or in complex disaster settings. The course, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, welcomed back Course Directors Larry Hollingworth, C.B.E., Lynne Jones, O.B.E. FRCPsych., Ph.D., and Peter Ventevogel, M.D. and various experts in the field. The MHCE Faculty organized a program that effectively balanced academic theory with practical experience, equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed to respond to psychosocial and mental health needs in complex humanitarian emergencies and relief situations. Participants learned the critical importance of understanding the humanitarian context, while gaining practical tools of how to conduct needs assessments, monitor and evaluate projects, and promote security and self-care.

One of the participants of the MHCE course, Caitlin Cockcroft-McKay, Psychosocial Project Coordinator at HealthNet TPO, recently shared with us a personal testimonial of the course:

I feel very privileged to have been a part of the MHCE training in Ethiopia. Much of what I learnt during the ten days is directly applicable to my work in South Sudan and has helped to guide me in my planning for monitoring the quality of the programme we're implementing. It will also help me to prepare for future projects, knowing that I have learnt from the best and that I can ensure projects are the best they can be for the people they are created for. The combination of lectures & interactive learning sessions and workshops was fantastic as it gave a real opportunity to learn academic theory, background and research as well as to use skills developed during the course. It was humbling to realise that Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services are a basic human right, and should be fundamentally integrated into every single area of our programming in the humanitarian sector. We work in these difficult contexts to save lives and alleviate the suffering of people who have already lost so much, but we can't do that without focusing on MHPSS. Read the full post on the IIHA blog!
Every three years ALNAP releases the State of the Humanitarian System (SOHS) report to assess the performance of international humanitarian assistance. It does this by defining key criteria for evaluating system performance and progress. Commissioned by ALNAP and authored by Humanitarian Outcomes, the report offers a comprehensive picture of the shape and size of the system and insights into the 'bigger picture' of trends and performance in the sector. It incorporates perspectives from those who receive aid, as well as practitioners from across the globe and at all levels of seniority. Read the report and follow the conversation to find out how humanitarian system has been performing in the wake of an unprecedented level of crisis.
Ishmeal Alfred Charles (IDHA 40), HIRF In-Country Director in Sierra Leone, shares his insight about the flooding in Sierra Leone and its negative impact on the community of Freetown.
Ben Boltz (IIHA Intern, Summer 2013) is currently working with Peace Corps in Burkina Faso. For the next two years, he will be working primarily in the education sector as a preschool teacher in order to support the surrounding community in meeting its educational needs. Additionally, Ben will help to raise awareness concerning malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention. We wish you the best of luck in your work, Ben!

"World humanitarian day in Niger. I was the spokesperson for  World Vision International. Proud to be IDHA 44."
- Boukary Gambo (IDHA 44)

Robin Anderson, Ph.D., Fordham University Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Communication and Media Studies and Co-director of the IIHA's Communications and Media in Humanitarian Affairs course was featured in Fordham news this past August. In the article, Robin analyzes the effects that the misrepresentative media reports had on Katrina residents post-disaster. She speaks about how the television show Treme was able to remedy and accurately recount the events as they actually did happen.
Amman, Jordan

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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. Since the WHS was first announced in September 2013,  a global consultation process has taken place involving 23,000 people in 151 countries. The WHS recently published a Synthesis Report, "Restoring Humanity: Global Voices Calling for Action", which summarizes the outcomes of the consultation process and proposes 5 Action Areas to transform humanitarian action. There is also an Executive Summary of the Synthesis Report here.

The Global Consultation is currently taking place in Geneva until 16 October 2015. Individuals interested in participating may do so on the WHS website. The Global Consultation will gather around 900 high-level participants from all stakeholders in humanitarian action. Participants will include representatives from affected communities, governments, civil society, national and international NGOs, regional organizations, United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the private sector and academia.

OCHA recently announced the appointment of longstanding OCHA staff member Antoine Gerard as WHS Secretariat Chief. Mr. Gerard will assume the role following the stepping down of Dr. Jemilah Mahmood in August.
October 28, 2015 | 2:30-4:00 PM

Join Fordham University's Theology Department for a conversation about religious responses to refugees. Three guest speakers, Mayra Peters-Quintero, Angel G. Diaz, and John Davenport, will discuss how religion plays a part in the current refugee crisis and what can be done to help solve the problem.

Location: Fordham University McMahon 109, LC campus
Wednesday, November 18 - Friday, 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.

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 humanitarian 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:
Papers can be submitted until 25 December 2015

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
October 27, 2015 | 4:30-6:00 PM (BST)

It can be hard for humanitarians to live up to the principles of impartiality and independence, and focus on alleviating human suffering when many others may not share these views. Do humanitarian principles and ethical practice still have a place in humanitarian action, or are they overwhelmed by the power and realpolitik of others in armed conflicts and disasters? In his new book "Humanitarian Ethics: A Guide to the Morality of Aid in War and Disaster", Hugo Slim - Head of Policy at the ICRC - aims to answer these questions and enable humanitarian workers to develop a practical understanding of the principles that govern their profession. Join ALNAP and Hugo Slim for the launch of this book and a discussion about the place of values and ethics in humanitarian action.

Location: Overseas Development Institute (ODI), 203 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NJ UK, and streamed live online.