A space for dialogue about current humanitarian dilemmas.
Here's the Latest Episode from Harvard Humanitarian Podcast:
The protection of populations affected or threatened by conflict and natural disasters is a critical component of humanitarian action. Challenges of ensuring protection are notably complex, touching on myriad intersecting issues including international legal norms, frontline humanitarian negotiation, gender, and the migration patterns of vulnerable populations.
In this episode of the Humanitarian Assistance Podcast, Yves Daccord, the Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross gives the opening keynote address for the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s 2018 Humanitarian Action Summit. In his talk, Mr. Daccord discusses four current challenges in addressing protection: the protection of aid workers—including the increasing use of remote management to transfer risk to local partners, impunity for attacks on healthcare, the use of detention as state policy to dissuade migration, and the digital insecurity of vulnerable populations fleeing violence.
On August 1, 2018 the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Health announced the 10th Ebola virus outbreak since 1976 had been confirmed in the country’s North Kivu Province. Senior Director of Emergency Health at the International Rescue Committee, Michelle Gayer, noted this outbreak has, “the potential to be the worst ever seen in East Africa—and risks being an encore of history we simply cannot afford.”Health workers face a number of challenges delivering medical and preventative care in this context, exacerbated by high numbers of operational armed groups and rumors that the outbreak is politically fabricated to decrease voter turnout in the country’s upcoming elections. New options for treatment and lessons learned from the 2014 West Africa Ebola crisis can provide insight for aid workers on the frontlines of this latest outbreak. In this episode, Ambassador Sinead Walsh and Dr. Oliver Johnson discuss their new book, "Getting to Zero: A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline," which explores the shortcomings of the 2014 response, as well as suggestions for improvement in future outbreaks. They are joined by Patrick Vinck, the Director of Research at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, who is currently conducting research on the outbreak in the DRC.
In this episode, we speak with Wendy Betts, Director of the EyeWitness to Atrocities project of the International Bar Association. With growing concerns about impunity for atrocities and other violations of international law in conflict and emergency settings around the world, EyeWitness helping to bring perpetrators of atrocities to justice. The mobile camera app tool can be used to capture verifiable photos or videos related to international atrocity crimes. The tool also captures the metadata needed to ensure that images can be used in investigations or trials, and securely stores the information, while the eyeWitness team works with users to reviews the evidence and connect to investigative or judicial mechanisms. So today on the podcast, we’ll speak with Wendy Betts about how tools like EyeWitness may be used to enhance accountability for international crimes, and promote the protection of civilians and aid workers. We’ll also discuss some of the particular sensitivities around engagement by humanitarian actions in the pursuit of accountability, and ways to mitigate the risk while promoting international humanitarian norms.
In light of recent international negotiations over nuclear disarmament and efforts to respond to the use of chemical and poisonous weapons, we sit down with Dr. Erickson to discuss the health and environmental impacts of conflict and emergencies. Dr. Timothy B. Erickson is an emergency medicine physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where he serves as the Chief of Medical Toxicology in the Department of Emergency Medicine, and a faculty member at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. He is an expert in environmental toxicology and crisis in climate change, and has active humanitarian health projects in conflict regions of Ukraine and Syria, as well as ongoing health projects in Nepal and India. Dr. Erickson earned his M.D. degree from The Chicago Medical School in 1986, and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Medical Toxicology, the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, and the National Geographic Explorers Club.
From the campaign to ban landmines to cluster munitions to the prohibition of nuclear weapons, advocates of humanitarian disarmament have sought to ban or restrict the use of certain indiscriminate and inhumane weapons to reduce civilian harm and suffering in conflict. In this episode, we’ll speak with leading experts and practitioners in the humanitarian disarmament movement. We’ll discuss the humanitarian approach to disarmament, and lessons from particular campaigns, including the Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalitions behind the 2017 Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty and the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, as well ongoing movements to address the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, lethal autonomous weapons systems (“killer robots”), toxic remnants of war, and other remaining challenges for civilian protection in armed conflict.
Yemen has become, according to the United Nations and World Health Organization, the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Nearly 12 million people are in need of assistance and in 2017, the worst cholera outbreak in recent history affected an estimated 1 million people. The outbreak, though now controlled, and other infectious diseases combine with famine, malnutrition, and the collapse of the country’s water and sanitation sector to threaten millions, while aid access is blocked and aid workers, hospitals, and civilian areas are attacked. As the armed conflict continues and political fissures in Yemen deepen, humanitarian access and protection issues continue to pose enormous challenges.This panel was recorded during a live event at the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Panelists discussed the complexities of addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, paying particular focus to the cholera outbreak, as well as the broader issues of sustaining humanitarian access and protection, advocating for respect for human rights, and achieving a political solution to the crisis.
In this episode, we interview Maciej Polkowski, Head of the Health Care in Danger Initiative based in Geneva. Health Care in Danger (HCID) is an initiative of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement aimed at addressing the issue of violence against patients, health workers, medical facilities, and vehicles, and ensuring safe access to and delivery of health care in armed conflict and other emergencies.
Whether used to instill fear, humiliate, or punish; destroy lives, families and communities; or enforce social order and power dynamics, rape and other forms of sexual violence have been widely documented in the Syrian conflict. In this podcast, we speak with leading experts and practitioners about the strategic use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in Syria. We’ll discuss the how sexual violence has been used against women, girls, boys and men in Syria by government forces and armed groups, and what impact it has had on survivors, and their families and communities. We’ll also discuss how humanitarian actors can better assist survivors inside Syria and in situations of displacement, how perpetrators can be held accountable, and the longer term implications for peace.
In this podcast, we speak with leading experts and practitioners about the strategic use sexual violence was a weapon of war in Syria. We’ll discuss the how sexual violence has been used against women, girls, boys and men in Syria by government forces and armed groups, and what impact it has had on survivors, and their families and communities. We’ll also discuss how humanitarian actors can better assist survivors inside Syria and in situations of displacement, how perpetrators can be held accountable, and the longer term implications for peace. Key questions include:
In this episode Meredith Blake interviews Brian Heilman, a senior research officer at Promundo, whose work focuses on eliminating harmful masculine norms, preventing all forms of gender-based violence, and achieving broader gender equality and social justice both in the United States and globally.Brian is the co-author of the 2017 State of the World's Fathers and 2016 State of America's Fathers reports, the lead author of The Man Box study on harmful effects of rigid mascuoline norms in the U.S., U.K., and Mexico, and a co-author of multiple reports using International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) data. Brian has extensive program and research experience in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East, and is deeply engaged in sexual violence prevention educator in Minnesota. He holds a BA in English from Saint John's University and an MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
If the audio player above does not load, you can listen to the podcast here.In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re speaking to women all over the world who are working to advance equality for women and girls. In this episode, we speak with the founders of the Humanitarian Women’s Network, a 4200-member and growing, global network of professional women working in the aid and development sector. Elisabeth Faure, Rosalia Gitau, Capucine de Fouchier, Anika Kristic, and Sabina Robillard join us to discuss their 2016 survey on female aid workers which assessed the impacts of discrimination and harassment, sexual aggression and assault, reporting mechanisms and adjudication, and the impact of sexual harassment and assault on professional and personal well-being.
In honor of International Women’s Day, ATHA is speaking to women all over the world who work to advance equality for women and girls. In this episode, we speak with the founders of Ladysmith, a feminist venture for gender equality. Guided by the principle “no research about us, without us,” Ladysmith helps international development organizations produce, analyze and take action on gender data.
In honor of International Women’s Day, ATHA is speaking to women all over the world who work to advance equality for women and girls. In this episode, we speak with Isabelle Arradon, the Director of Research and a Special Advisor on Gender at the International Crisis Group’s headquarters in Brussels.
Since the passage of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in October 2000, gender mainstreaming in humanitarian programming has highlighted not only the differential impacts of war and crisis on women, but also the important contributions women make to conflict resolution and the long-term sustainability of peace agreements. In a panel conversation with experts and practitioners, this podcast will explore how men can work as allies to advance gender equality in humanitarian settings, what challenges remain for the practical implementation of gender equitable policies and programming, and opportunities to advance a broader coalition of voices in humanitarian leadership and decision-making.
Earlier this year, Yemen faced the worst cholera outbreak in recent history, affecting an estimated 1 million people. Although the cholera crisis has been largely contained, new challenges continue to emerge. Over the past months, Yemen has faced a blockade cutting off much-needed commercial and humanitarian access to the country, which has also been hit by increased Saudi-led airstrikes and a recent outbreak of diphtheria. Following up on our previous podcast discussion on the cholera outbreak in Yemen, this podcast explores elements of the ongoing response to this complex humanitarian crisis, as well as reflections on lessons learned over the last several months of fighting.
Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan have collectively absorbed approximately 5 million registered refugees--not counting the untold numbers who remain unregistered. As their displacement becomes increasingly protracted and the crisis shows no signs of abating, humanitarians have highlighted the increasing need to shift focus to social cohesion and rehabilitation efforts with an eye toward long-term development. In a panel conversation with experts and practitioners, this podcast will explore how the Syrian refugee crisis is reshaping host communities in the Middle East, what challenges remain for the protection of vulnerable populations, and opportunities for advancing humanitarian protection and the integration of refugees into host communities.
In this episode, ATHA's Meredith Blake speaks with Sawsan Samara and Joel Hernandez about their time working for the Elpida Home for Refugees in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Yemen currently faces the “world’s worst cholera outbreak in the midst of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis,” according to a joint statement issued by UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2017. In light of this multidimensional humanitarian crisis, this podcast will bring together medical experts and humanitarian practitioners to discuss the epidemiological implications and medical treatment of Yemen’s cholera epidemic amidst an active armed conflict, as well as the ongoing challenges of maintaining humanitarian assistance and protection operations to mitigate the devastating impact of this crisis on vulnerable populations.
Despite the significant growth of the humanitarian sector in recent years - now employing over 250,000 professionals - practitioners often express concerns over the lack of clarity, predictability or support in establishing and maintaining a humanitarian career. In conversations with experts, trainers and practitioners, this podcast will explore humanitarian education and professionalization, pathways into the field, and opportunities for professional growth within the humanitarian sector.
In light of the important role that such efforts have come to play in the humanitarian sector’s education and training initiatives, this podcast focuses on the objectives, design, and impact of these innovative pedagogical tools. Through a conversation with experts involved in studying, developing, and implementing a wide array of game-based modes of education and training, this podcast will examine several questions. Speakers: Clark Abt, Adjunct Professor of Energy & Sustainable Development, Brandeis University, Chairman and Founder, Abt Associates, Inc., and Author of Serious Games; Mariam Adil, Operations Analyst, World Bank, and Founder of GRID, Gaming Revolution for Inspiring Development; Asi Burak, CEO, Power Play and Chairman, Games for Change; Christian Rouffaer, Head of Unit, Virtual Reality, ICRC
In this episode of the podcast, we look to explore how the risk, and reality, of famine has come about in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Northeastern Nigeria. This podcast will also assess what is needed in the immediate term, as well as the areas of policy development and implementation needed to address global food insecurity. Speakers: Suresh Babu, Head of Capacity Strengthening, International Food Policy Research Institute; Conor Phillips, Country Director, International Rescue Committee, Kenya; Nahuel Arenas, Director, Humanitarian Programs and Policy, Oxfam America; Douglas Mercado, Deputy Country Director, World Food Programme, Nigeria; Peter Lundberg, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, United Nations; Hassan Noor, Country Director, Save the Children, Somalia
In this episode of the podcast, we speak with experts and practitioners about the duty of care for humanitarian organizations, and the challenges of implementing it in practice. Speakers: Luigi Bocci, Field Security Officer, World Food Programme, Afghanistan; Phoebe Donnelly, Assistant Researcher, Feinstein International Center, and Doctoral Candidate, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Dyan Mazurana, Associate Research Professor, Feinstein International Center and Friedman School, Tufts University; Megan Nobert, Director, Report the Abuse; Lisa Reilly, Executive Director, European Interagency Security Forum (EISF); Erwan Rumen, Field Security Officer, World Food Programme, Iraq; Orly Stern, Independent Researcher and Consultant, Senior Fellow, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative; Christine Williamson, Director, Duty of Care International
In this episode of the podcast, we speak with experts and practitioners about the risks and rewards of speaking out against targeted attacks, versus not doing so, and how to better equip organizations and professionals to make such difficult decisions. Speakers: Pauline Chetcuti, Head of Humanitarian Advocacy and Policy, Action Contre La Faim (ACF) - France; Diederik Lohman, Acting Director, Health and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch (HRW); Gareth Price-Jones, Senior Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, CARE International
In this Practitioner Profile, ATHA sat down with Sinead to discuss her work in Sierra Leone and Liberia and her research on key lessons learned in the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Dr. Sinead Walsh is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
In this Practitioner Profile, we discuss gender-based violence and programming for male caregivers and adolescent brothers of displaced Syrian refugee girls. We also touch on sexual violence as it applies to both female humanitarians in the field and migrants and refugees receiving aid. Sarah Martin is a gender-based violence specialist with nearly 20 years of experience in research, advocacy, training and project management with international organizations around the world.
In this Practitioner Profile, we discuss the use of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in the humanitarian sector. With growing threats against humanitarian actors and operations, and growing pressures for humanitarian programming in highly insecure settings, we speak about the role of PMSCs in the market for humanitarian security, and the implications for principled humanitarian action in the field. Dr. Birthe Anders is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
In this Practitioner Profile, we discuss challenges facing women in the Arab world, as well as responses to gender-based violence, support for survivors of violence, and other aspects of gender-sensitive programming in humanitarian emergencies. Dr. Lina Abirafeh is the Director of the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW).
After over five years of war in Syria, civilians have not only been frequently caught in the crossfire, but have been intentionally targeted. In the view of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, amongst others, many of these acts amount to genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Considering these ongoing atrocities, this episode of the podcast will examine the prospects for accountability for war crimes and other serious violations of international law in Syria, including the particular case of the Yazidis. Speakers: Sareta Ashraph, Chief Legal Analyst, UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria; Murad Ismael, Executive Director, Yazda Organization; Yousuf Syed Khan, Legal Analyst, UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria; Naomi Kikoler, Deputy Director, Center for the Prevention of Genocide, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Ambassador Stephen Rapp, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, 2009-2015.
Since the peak in refugee and migrant arrivals on the Greek islands last year, subsequent border closures and the EU-Turkey deal have led many migrants to become stranded in Greece. In this Practitioner Profile, we examine how the humanitarian response there has evolved as a consequence, and what challenges remain in the transition to more protracted displacement. Pooya Rezai has been working on refugee assistance, and search and rescue operations with the Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) in Lesvos, Greece.
In this Practitioner Profile, we discuss the use of international humanitarian law as a framework for humanitarian negotiation, the pressures that current anti-terrorism laws place on humanitarians, and best practices for maintaining credibility in complex negotiations. Since 2011, Michiel Hofman has worked as a senior humanitarian specialist for MSF in Belfast, concentrating on research, training and operational support as well as publications in the humanitarian field.