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Symposia and Lecture Series

Symposia and lecture series

The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs regularly sponsors major symposia on topics of current interest. Bringing together international teams of experts including field workers, diplomats, policy makers, religious leaders and media professionals, IIHA symposia provide fresh insight into complete humanitarian problems.

Challenges in Gaining and Maintaining Space for Humanitarian Action: The Experience of MSF

Thursday, April 19
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Fordham University
Lowenstein Building Room 311
Lincoln Center Campus, 113 West 60 Street New York, NY 10023

Islam and the West: A Personal Journey
Monday, April 16
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Fordham University
Lowenstein Building South Lounge
Lincoln Center Campus, 113 West 60 Street New York, NY 10023

Private Sector Partnerships in Humanitarian Affairs
Thursday, April 12
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Fordham University
Lowenstein Building Room 311
Lincoln Center Campus, 113 West 60 Street New York, NY 10023


The Future of Humanitarian Assistance and the Threats of 'Mega-catastrophes'

Thursday, March 22, 2012
1:00 PM-2:15 PM
Lowenstein Room 311
Lincoln Center Campus, 113 West 60 Street New York, NY 10023

Never the Hope Itself: Love and Ghosts in Latin America and Haiti

Thursday, October 20
6 PM
Pope Auditorium, Lowenstein Building
Lincoln Center Campus, 113 West 60 Street New York, NY 10023

The International Legal Framework on Climate Change

October 13, 2011
Principles and Obligations Paolo Galizzi discussed the International Legal Framework on Climate Change. Paolo Galizzi is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Sustainable Development Legal Initiative (SDLI) at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School. The lecture gave an overview of the key international instruments on climate change such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol.

Climate Change, Migration and Environmental Refugees

September 22, 2011
Susan Martin and Reverend Richard Ryscavage, S.J. discussed climate change, migration and environmental refugees. Martin and Father Richard Ryscavage, S.J. are two leading national experts on migration and refugee studies. Susan Martin, the Donald G. Herzberg Associate Professor of International Migration, serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of International Migration in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Father Ryscavage, S.J., is the director of Fairfield University’s Center for Faith and Public Life and Professor of Sociology. Topics that were addressed included current structures of international law and their impact on climate refugees, the ability of the international community to deliver aid and assistance to an increasing number of survivors in disaster zones and challenges faced by nations in adequately planning for an increase in climate refugees and increasing incidences of natural disasters.


Second World Conference on Humanitarian Studies: Changing Realities of Conflict and Crisis

The Second World Conference on Humanitarian Studies (WCHS), organized by the International Humanitarian Studies Associational (IHSA) and hosted by Tufts University (in collaboration with Harvard University, Columbia University, and the Social Science Research Council) took place June 2 – June 5, 2011.

The IIHA contributed to a panel themed, ‘New Directions in Policy’. The IIHA panel presented on the subject of ‘Innovative Changes in Humanitarian Policy’, during which the panelists focused on the novel challenges that face the humanitarian community and discussed innovative developments that address these challenges. The panel was led by Brendan Cahill, Executive Director of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, and welcomed Larry Hollingworth, Visiting Professor of Humanitarian Studies at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs; Anthony Land, Program Officer of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs; and Alexander van Tulleken, the
newly appointed Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow.

Consortium on Security and Humanitarian Action 2011: "Innovation and Humanitarian Action"

On March 30th, 2011, the Consortium on Security and Humanitarian Action sponsored the 4th annual Frontiers of Humanitarianism Conference held this year at Fordham University. The topic of the conference was “Innovation and Humanitarian Action.” Led by Executive Director, Brendan Cahill, the conference explored the various ways in which humanitarianism in the midst of war has been implemented since first introduced to the world by the International Committee of the Red Cross more than 150 years ago. Fordham University’s panel, organized by the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, was entitled “Professionalization as Innovation”. Dr. Melissa Labonte, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Fordham, was the moderator of the panel. The following people joined Dr. Labonte on the panel:

• Larry Hollingworth, Visiting Professor of Humanitarian Studies at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs

• Argentina Szabados, Director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Chairperson of the Alumni Council for the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation

• Dr. Michael Barnett, University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs

• Alexander van Tulleken, M.D. of MDM, Merlin and the World Health Organization

Key issues that were addressed included: Where do we see innovation in humanitarianism? What are the greatest challenges to effective innovation? What promise, if any, does innovation hold for the future of humanitarian action?

Haiti: One Year Later
February 23, 2011

A year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti leaving more than 200,000 dead,




Haitians still find themselves facing many of the same unrelenting obstacles: water




and food scarcity, illness, and the absence of adequate infrastructure. Some estimates




predict that it may take the span of a generation for Haiti to recover. Analysis of new




innovative means for reconstruction is an ongoing process for those living and working




in Haiti. On February 23rd, 2011, the IIHA hosted a symposium, chaired by Executive




Director Brendan Cahill, featuring: Gerald Martone, Director of Emergency Response




at the International Rescue Committee; Anne Edgerton,policy, advocacy and media




lead for Oxfam International in Haiti; Russell Porter, Coordinator of the USAID Haiti




Task Team; Robin Contino, Deputy Coordinator for Catholic Relief Services; and Matthew




Cochrane, Communications Coordinator for Haiti at the International Federation




of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Issues that were discussed included how the




crisis in Haiti may represent a dangerous trend for future disasters, the importance of




aid workers to focus on utilizing resources within communities located in the disaster




region, and some other successes, such as the “Rubble to Reconstruction”program.

Flood Relief Efforts in Pakistan

October 22, 2010


USAID/OFDA is the lead agency responsible for facilitating and coordinating U.S.
Government emergency assistance overseas, providing humanitarian assistance to save
lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the social and economic impact of natural
and man-made disasters worldwide. Mark Ward, the Acting Director of the U.S. Agency
for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance chaired a
panel on October 22nd, 2010, sponsored by the IIHA. Topics covered in this lecture included
USAID-funded Pakistan flood relief efforts currently taking place and plans for a
USAID-funded Pakistan flood relief efforts for the future, especially during the plans for
recovery activities.




The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of the War in Vietnam

Dana Sachs

April 26, 2010


The discussion addressed “Operation Babylift,” launched by the United States government in April, 1975, wherein nearly three thousand displaced Vietnamese children were evacuated and placed with adoptive families overseas. In her talk, Sachs recounted the story, described her efforts to untangle the varying accounts of the evacuation, and discussed the ways in which these events raise timely questions about international adoption, humanitarian aid efforts, and the human cost of war.

Hostage Negotiation

April 21, 2010

In association with the Safety and Security Department at Fordham University, the IIHA helped organize the Tabletop Emergency Management Exercise, which focused on Hostage Negotiation.

Global Water Crisis: Exploring Solutions

Concern Worldwide

February 12, 2010

For the second year in a row, the IIHA teamed up with Concern Worldwide for Concern’s Global Concerns Classroom’s Annual Student Workshop at Fordham College Lincoln Center. The workshop addressed the critical global water shortage in which 1.1 billion people lack access to a reliable and sustainable source of clean water. More than 100 students from nine New York City high schools gathered for a ‘Global Summit’ and took on the challenge of devising ways to accomplish the UN Millennium Development Goal of decreasing by 50% the proportion of the world’s population without access to safe water by 2015.  Students raised $2,500 for clean water projects in $5 increments for each time a student carried a jerry can on thecampus grounds, giving students hands-on experience of the daily reality for countless children around the world charged with fetching water for the family far from home.

 Haiti: Crisis and Humanitarian Action

January 21, 2010

With rescue teams working feverishly to stabilize Haiti in the aftermath of the massive earthquake on January 12, 2010, the IIHA convened a panel to address the scale of the disaster and the ensuing humanitarian response.  The panel discussion featured experts recruited by IIHA Director Kevin M. Cahill, M.D., including: Paul Browne, Deputy Commissioner of Public Information for the New York Police Department and Deputy Director of the International Police Monitors in Haiti, Ken Gavin, S.J., National Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, U.S.A., Joseph McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, Ed Tsui, former Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and Robert Nickelsberg, an American photojournalist who was embedded with the First Marine Division inthe Iraq War in 2003.

 Minority Rights and Globalization: A Compromise Approach

Archbishop Nicolas Girasoli

November 9, 2009

The IIHA co-sponsored the 2009 Fall Gannon Lecture, “Minority Rights and Globalization: A Compromise Approach” which was delivered by Archbishop Nicolas Girasoli, the apostolic nuncio to Zambia and Malawi. A well-respected scholar, Archbishop Girasoli earned a Master’s degree in moral theology and a doctoral degree in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, in 1981 and 1985, respectively. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1985, and has since served in many locations around the world, including Indonesia, Australia, Hungary, Belgium, the United States and Argentina.

 On Life, Love, and the Academy

Arancha Garcia del Soto, PhD., Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow

October 1, 2009

Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow Arancha Garcia del Soto, Ph.D., gave her final lecture at Fordham University in collaboration with Hugo Benavides, Professor of Anthropology at Fordham University, Fordham alumnus Luke Nephew, and Yale undergraduate student Sarah Eidelson. In a “kitchen table” format, participants discussed personal journeys and experiences both in the field and in academia, and shared opinions on the concepts of self, vocation, and humanitarian work in a conflict-ridden world. During her time at the IIHA, Professor Garcia touched the lives of the Fordham community by highlighting the importance of humanitarian work in our ever-changing world.  Professor Garcia taught undergraduate and graduate classes, was a critical part of the Institute’s Humanitarian Training Programs, and shared her experience and insight in wide-ranging lectures and events to the Fordham community.

Farewell Speech by Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd UN General Assembly

September 13, 2009

The IIHA hosted the Rev. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations, as he delivered his farewell speech to his United Nations staff and supporters.  As president of the General Assembly, Father d’Escoto was committed to addressing many of today’s worldwide crises, including hunger, poverty, climate change, terrorism, and human rights.  Father d’Escoto maintained close ties with Fordham University throughout his tenure- he delivered the graduation address to the IIHA’s International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance students in 2008 and hosted a roundtable discussion at the UN with the participants of the IDHA 28.  He also hired a Fordham faculty professor and four graduate students to work in his UN office. 


Identity, Diversity and Constitutionalism in Africa

Francis M. Deng

April 29, 2009

Francis M. Deng has served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, the UN Special Representative on Internally Displaced Persons, and as Sudan’s Ambassador to the United States, Canada, and the Scandinavian countries.

The Ethics of Responsibility and the Modes of Protection

Frontiers of Humanitarianism Conference
The Consortium on Securityand Humanitarian Action

March 31, 2009

Panel 1: The Politics of The Responsiblity to Protect
Panel 2: Operational Security and its Implications for Humanitarian Access and Protection
Panel 3: Offering Protection in the Field: the Humanitarians' Achilles Heel
Panel 4: Gender Based Violence: Protection and Justice in Africa and Latin America

Documenting Forced Migration: 2009 Film Series

Al Otro Lado (The Other Side)
A film by Gustavo Loza. Mexico/Cuba/Spain, 2005.

February 4, 2009

Los Ninos de Rusia (Children of Russia)
A film by Jaime Camino, Spain, 2001.

February 11, 2009

La Espalda del Mundo (The Back of the World)
A film by Elias Querejeta and Javier Corcuera. Spain/Peru, 2000.

March 4, 2009

Picture Me An Enemy
A film by Nathalie Applewhite. USA, 2002.

March 25, 2009

En El Mundo (In the World)
A film by J. Corcuera, P. Ferreira, J. Fesser, C. Gutierrez, P. Ventura. Peru/Spain, 2004.
April 1, 2009

Volver E Empezar (Begin the Beguine)
A film by Jose Luis Garci. Spain, 1982.
April 22, 2009

The Realities of Democracy

President Juan Evo Morales Ayma

November 2008

The President of the Republic of Bolivia gave an address, with an introduction by Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. 

Fall 2008 IIHA Lecture Series

           How Good Are We at Addressing the Psychological and Social Needs of
           the Forcibly Displaced?

Dr. Maryanne Loughry, Boston College
              October 15, 2008

Dr. Maryanne Loughry is a psychologist and visiting scholar at Boston College Centre for Human Rights and International Justice.  She is the Associate Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Australia and taught for 8 years at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford.

The UNHCR: International Refugee Protection Regimes

Brian Gorlick, UNHCR
October 29, 2008

The International Red Cross: International Law and Mandates

Christophe Lobry-Boulanger, American Red Cross
November 12, 2008

Christophe Lobry-Boulanger serves as the International Services Program Manager for the American Red Cross in Greater New York.  As ISProgram Manager, Christophe coordinates IS training classes, among them International Humanitarian Law and The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Symbolic Reparations and Art for Survivors of Violence

Arancha Garcia and Aimee Della Porta, Fordham University
December 3, 2008

Arancha Garcia is the Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University.  She has worked, published and taught in Europe, Sri Lanka, Africa, Latin America and the United States on psychosocial interventions with survivors of violence.  She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on humanitarian work in both Europe and the United States, and has focused much of her research on the role art can play in the rehabilitation process for survivors of violence.

Aimee Della Porta is a third year student in Fordham College majoring in Political Science and Sociology with a concentration in American Catholic Studies. she has interned at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs for two semesters, where she assisted Dr. Garcia in research projects and helped to organize the Jesuit University Humanitarian Action Network.




 2007 Helen Hamlyn Lecture Series

The Helen Hamlyn Lecture Series is an attempt to highlight the work of young humanitarian practitioners and academics who have already demonstrated outstanding work in their specialty, as they work to bridge the theoretical and applied spheres of this field.

Communities in Transition in Colombia and Sri Lanka

Arancha Garcia del Soto, PhD., IiHA
June 12, 2007

Arancha Garcia is the Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow a the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University.  She has worked, published and taught in Europe, Sri Lanka, Africa, Latin America and the United States on psychosocial interventions with survivors of violence.  She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on humanitarian work in both Europe and the United States, and has been collaborating with Sri Lankan Professionals since 2003 and with Colombian psychologists and forensic anthropologists since 2005.  She met the speakers for this series during her work with the University of Pennsylvania and Fordham University. 

Community-led Peace-building in Contemporary Iraq

Thomas Hill, University of Pennsylvania
May 3, 2007

Thomas Hill is a professional peace-building practitioner with six years experience focusing on Iraq as the locus of his activities. He has designed, developed, conducted and managed conflict resolution education interventions, including research initiatives, training workshops with community leaders in Iraq and consultations with political figures. He is dedicated to supporting the development and implementation of strategies to prevent violent conflicts, to exploring possibilities for transforming conflict into a constructive force and to reducing the human cost of war. In addition to serving as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania's Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethno-political Conflict, he is a Ph.D. candidate at Penn's Graduate School of Education.

Balancing Theory and Applied: Child Protection Programs

Nicole Behnam, International Rescue Committee
April 26, 2007

Nicole Behnam is a Ph.D. Candidate with the education department at the University of Pennsylvania.  Presently she is the Vulnerable Children Technical Advisor for the Child and Youth Protection and Development Unit at the International Rescue Committee.  She has conducted extensive research in many African and Asian nations, with a particular focus on West Africa.

Education in Emergencies: Teaching in Nepal

Colin Stimmler, IIHA
               March 21, 2007

Colin Stimmler, a former Peace Corps Volunteer and alumnus of Fordham’s IPED Program, will speak about the realities of education initiatives in conflict settings based on his work in Nepal from 2002 – 2004, including working with children affected by conflict and coping methods for teaching in conflict environments. He is currently the Programs & Grants Officer at Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs. 

Emerging Citizens: Youth, Education, and Reconciliation in Post-conflict
           Bosnia and Herzegovina

Azra Hromadzic, University of Pennsylvania
February 8, 2007

Azra Hromadzic is a Bosnian who lived in the town of Bihac prior to and during the war (1992-1995).  She received a B.A. in 2001 and a M.A. in 2003, both inCultural Anthropology and both from the University of Pennsylvania.  With the support of the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethno-political Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania, she studied extensively the Bosnian conflict, especially the phenomenon of the Bosnian war rapes.  Her doctoral dissertation research is supported by research grants from the Social Science Research Council, the American Association of the University Women, U.S. Institute of Peace, the Spencer Foundation, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Brown Bag Lecture Series: Humanitarianism Beyond Service Delivery


Rape as a War Crime: Gender Based Violence in the Balkans

Arancha Garcia del Soto, PhD., and Christiane Carneiro, PhD.
April 12, 2007

This event examined the use of rape as a targeted weapon of violence and its use as a war crime in the Balkans, as declared in International Law.

Managing the Media in Humanitarian Crises 

Anne Nelson, SIPA
March 22, 2007

Professor Anne Nelson looked at effective use of the media as a tool for humanitarian efforts. Professor Nelson was a war correspondent in Latin America, and also reported from Eastern Europe and Asia. Her journalism has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Harper's, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, Macleans, and many other periodicals, as well as the BBC, the CBC, NPR and PBS. Pizza and refreshments will be provided.


Working with Exhumations and Families of the Missing in Latin America

Carlos Beristain, PhD., and Arancha Garcia del Soto, PhD.
February 21, 2007

 This event examined the role of exhumations as a tool for Latin American societies to confront human rights abuses.

Help for Helpers

Gerry Martone, International Rescue Committee
January 25, 2007

How do humanitarian organizations support their own staff working in humanitarian emergencies? What is the perceived futility of aid work, the “unspoken agreement” among rescue workers, detachment and denial, guilt and apathy, altruism and saintliness, hostility and resentment towards beneficiaries?

Clearing the Fields: Solutions to the Global Landmines Crisis

The world's first major conference on landmines.

Silent Witnesses

A United Nations exhibition where 25 internationally acclaimed photographers contributed their personal impressions on the global landmine tragedy.

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