Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Meet the Team

Meet The Team

Kevin M. Cahill, M.D.,  Brendan Cahill, Peter Hansen, H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz al Nasser, Larry Hollingworth, Alexander van Tulleken, Rene Desiderio, Jessica Alexander, Masood Hyder, Kasia Laskowski, Alexandra DeBlock

Kevin M. Cahill, M.D.
University Professor and Director

Kevin M. Cahill, M.D. is University Professor and Director of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs.  He also serves as President of the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC), Director of the Tropical Disease Center at Lenox Hill Hospital, Clinical Professor of Tropical Medicine and Molecular Parasitology at New York University School of Medicine, Chief Medical Advisor for Counterterrorism, NYPD, Professor of International Humanitarian Affairs at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Senior Consultant to the United Nations Health Service and President-General of the American-Irish Historical Society. Dr. Cahill has served as Chief Advisor on Humanitarian Affairs and Public Health for three Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly.

Dr. Cahill received degrees from Fordham University, Cornell University School of Medicine, The Royal College of Surgeons in England and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  He holds numerous fellowships, distinguished awards, and several dozen honorary doctorates.  

Dr. Cahill served as Director of Clinical Tropical Medicine in Egypt and Sudan while in the U.S. Navy and continued active medical research for the next forty years in Africa, Latin America, the Near and Far East, with long-term programs in Somalia, Sudan, India and Nicaragua.    

From 1975-81, Dr. Cahill served concurrently as the Special Assistant to the Governor for Health Affairs, Chairman of the Health Planning Commission, and Chairman of the Health Research Council of New York State.  From 1981-93 he was a Senior Member of the New York City Board of Health.

He has written and edited thirty-one books and more than two hundred articles on subjects ranging from tropical disease to humanitarian and foreign affairs, Irish literature, and public health.


Brendan Cahill
Executive Director

Brendan Cahill is the Executive Director of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University and its partner organization, the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC). As such, he is directly responsible for all worldwide strategy and operational issues regarding their programs, staff, partnerships and expansion, including the undergraduate and graduate programs at Fordham University, fundraising, publications, outreach, and symposia. He received his BA from Colby College and his MBA from Fordham University.

Besides his work for the IIHA, the CIHC, Brendan sits on the boards of the American Irish Historical Society, the Bartow Pell Conservancy, and the Point Lookout Historical Society. He is a member of the  Advisory Board of The Humanitarian Centre of University College Dublin, the Executive Board of the Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network, and on the Curriculum Oversight and Steering Committee of Jesuit Commons: Humanitarian Education at the Margins (JC:HEM)

He is a Trustee of The Helen Hamlyn Trust in London and a Director of the KMC Foundation in New York. He is married with four children and lives in New York.

Phone: 212 636 6294

Peter Hansen

Peter Hansen is Diplomat-In-Residence at Fordham University's Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs. He retired from the United Nations after 28years of service, the last nine as Commissioner-General ofUNRWA.The 22,000 employees of UNRWA provide education, health, relief and social services to more than 3.2 million registered Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Hansen had been Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator as well as Executive Director of the Commission on Global Governance, Geneva (1992-1994). He has also served in numerous other senior positions within the UN.

Mr. Hansen studied in Denmark and the United States. He completed his graduate and post-graduate work at Aarhus University in 1966. He is the author of several books and numerous articles in scholarly journals.

H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser


H. E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser has recently been designated as High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations, after serving as President of the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly. From 1998-2011, Mr. Al-Nasser served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations, as well as presiding over three of the subsidiary bodies of the Council. During this term, he served as non-resident Ambassador to numerous countries in the Americas, such as Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Uruguay.  From 2002-2003, he was the Vice-President of the fifty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly. Earlier, Al-Nasser worked as a Qatar’s resident Ambassador to Jordan, and was appointed to his first United Nations position, Minister Plenipotentiary in 1986.
Mr. Al-Nasser has received numerous decorations and awards: three honorary doctorates, including an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Fordham University, national awards from a wide range of countries, and in 2009, Mr. Al-Nasser was made an honorary fellow of the Foreign Policy Association in New York.

Larry Hollingworth
Visiting Professor of Humanitarian Studies

Larry Hollingworth is a Visiting Professor of Humanitarian Studies at the IIHA and the Humanitarian Programs Director for the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC). Over the past few years, he has served as Humanitarian Coordinator on CIHC-sponsored missions for the United Nations in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Pakistan.

After serving as a British Army officer for thirty years, Larry joined UNHCR and held assignments in Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea. He was appointed UNHCR Chief of Operations in Sarajevo, during the siege of the city in the Balkan conflict.

He is a frequent lecturer on relief and refugee topics in universities and is a commentator on humanitarian issues for the BBC.

Alexander van Tulleken

Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow

Alexander van Tulleken, M.D. is the Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA).  As such, he is directly responsible for teaching all undergraduate courses that comprise the International Humanitarian Affairs Minor, and serves as the Academic Director for the Masters in International Humanitarian Action.  Dr Alexander van Tulleken has worked for MDM, Merlin and the World Health Organizations in humanitarian crises around the world. His most recent mission was in 2010 in Darfur running health clinics in the embattled Jebel Marra Region. He has a diploma in Tropical Medicine, a Diploma in International Humanitarian Assistance and a Master's in Public Health from Harvard. He is an Honorary Lecturer in Conflict and Migration at University College London and is currently editing the first edition of the Oxford Handbook of Humanitarian Medicine.

Rene Desiderio, Ph.D.
Visiting Research Scholar

Rene Desiderio, Ph.D. is a Research Fellow at the IIHA and is editing the latest volume in the International Humanitarian Affairs Book Series (Spring 2015). Dr. Desiderio joined the IIHA in 2012 and has since worked on various research projects in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). He received doctoral and masteral degrees from Cornell University in the field of population and international development. He has a Masters of Science degree in social planning from the Centre for Development Studies, University of Wales, and was an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina Population Center. Dr. Desiderio served for more than 10 years with the United Nations Secretariat and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York, Somalia and Bangkok. Dr. Desiderio served as Technical Expert in the UN-World Bank Joint Needs Assessment for Somalia. As UNFPA’s Humanitarian Response Coordinator, he managed emergency and humanitarian response operations, including preparation of a humanitarian assistance strategy and plan of action. He also managed a global survey covering over 160 countries on population policies and sustainable development.

 He haswritten and published articles on various topics, such as population and development, environment and poverty, demographic trends, international migration and gender issues, including harmful practices. He is currently working on a book project focusing on humanitarian response in urban context and collaborating with UNFPA in documenting good practices in accelerating the abandonment of female genital mutilations in post-conflict Somalia, which continues to be one of the most difficult and complex working environments in the world.

Jessica Alexander
Adjunct Professor and Consultant

Jessica Alexander is the new Adjunct Professor and Consultant at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs. Over the past 12 years, she has worked in various capacities in humanitarian response across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East for the United Nations and various NGOs. She has responded to crises in Rwanda, Darfur, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Pakistan, and the Horn of Africa. Most recently, she acted as the Senior Specialist for Monitoring and Evaluation for Save The Children in Haiti. Professor Alexander is a Fulbright Scholar who received the award to research child soldiers in Sierra Leone in 2006. In addition, she has received a Master of Public Health and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, focusing her research on accountability in humanitarian action. She is the author of "Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid."


Masood Hyder
Helen Hamlyn Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor

Masood Hyder is the new Helen Hamlyn Research Fellow at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs. For over 20 years, Mr. Hyder was a senior officer of the United Nation’s World Food Program, and he is now a consultant for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. His decades of service has enabled him to become closely engaged with on-the-ground humanitarian activities in places as diverse as Sudan, Bangladesh, Iran, Indonesia, and Djibouti. From 2002 to 2004, he lived in North Korea as resident representative for the United Nations Development Program. In recent years, he has taught at Syracuse University and has written extensively on the convergence of diplomacy and humanitarian work.

Kasia Laskowski
Program Officer

Kasia            Laskowski

Kasia Laskowski is the Program Officer for the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University where she oversees the coordination of alumni relations and manages the creation and dissemination of all digital and print communication from the IIHA. As the focal point for organizational partnerships, Kasia fosters relationships with local and international nongovernmental organizations to facilitate internship placements, source external teaching staff and students, develop new training programs, and encourage collaboration among organizations for lecture series and symposia. Through these initiatives, Kasia helps to strengthen the IIHA’s relations with both the Fordham community and the humanitarian community worldwide.  Kasia started working with the IIHA in 2010 as a Course Administrator, during which time she traveled to and helped coordinate humanitarian training programs in Goa, Geneva, Rome, Barcelona, New York, Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Berlin, and Pretoria. Kasia received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Political Economy from Fordham University in 2010 and is now pursuing her Master of Arts Degree in Humanitarian Action.

Phone: 212 636 7654

Alexandra DeBlock
International Programs

Alexandra DeBlock is the International Programs Coordinator of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University. As the International Programs Coordinator, Alexandra manages the admissions, logistics, and finances for all of the IIHA's graduate programs. She acts as the primary liaison between the IIHA and prospective and current students, facilitating the admission and course experience. Alexandra started at the IIHA in 2011 as a Graduate Intern, working with social media and publications while she earned her M.A. in International Politics at Fordham University. She was awarded a Fulbright grant in 2012 to Thailand, where she lived and worked in the community of Ban Phai, Khon Kaen. Upon the completion of her Fulbright in 2013, Alexandra returned to the IIHA to begin her new position as the International Programs Coordinator.

Phone: 212-636-7646

Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
33 West 60th St., Suite 804 New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212 636 6294 Fax: 212 636 7060 Email:

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