Past events

Explore our archive of past events to learn more about the diverse talks, seminars, workshops and conferences held over the last 10 years. 

Past events 2020

Age Assessment and Asylum: In Conversation with Laura Gibbons and Gulwali Passarlay

23 November 2020

One of the greatest difficulties for asylum seeking children can be proving they are under 18 and therefore legally a child. Under this status, they have (or should have) access to additional protection and state support. In the current hostile environment that fosters a widespread ‘culture of disbelief’ towards migrants, age claims are increasingly disputed by the Home Office.

We heard from Gulwali Passarlay, a political refugee from Afghanistan who came to the UK as a child and has his age disputed, alongside Laura Gibbons, Solicitor for the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit. The event was chaired by Dr Antoine Burgard from HCRI.

HCRI Research Seminar: Putin's Humans Rights

12 November 2020

Hear from Sergei Nikitin, former Director of Amnesty International in Russia, as he discusses what it was like fighting for human rights under Putin's government, and reflects on his personal experiences past and present, and his predictions for the future.

Landmark Lecture: When Wounds Travel

22 October 2020

We kicked off our events for the academic year 20/21 with guest speaker Dr Omar Dewachi (Rutgers University) reflecting on some of the human and environmental cost of decades of violence in Iraq and the broader Middle East. Taking the “wound” as an analytic and method, Omar shared insights from his ethnographic and public health fieldwork on the intersections of war, trauma, displacement, and the changing therapeutic landscape of medical and humanitarian care.

Anti-Racism Workshop with Revolution Westmidlands

15 October 2020

This event, open to UoM staff and students, was an opportunity to discuss in an open and safe (virtual) space our reflections, personal experiences, and expectations around topics including micro-aggressions, performativism and stereotyping, under the theme of anti-racism. This was led by 3rd-year student Marcell, who's a co-founder of anti-racism initiative Revolution Westmidlands, and facilitated by fellow students Hanna and Mattie.

You can access a reading list of relevant academic literature, novels and films here (collated by PhD student Hanna and other event attendees):

Pride event: Documentary and Discussion

30 June 2020

June was Pride month, and while we wanted to celebrate the diversity and growth of the movement, we also wanted to recognise how it all started, and the progress that still needs to be made. We were joined by a mixture of staff and students from within HCRI and beyond to virtually watch the documentary: 'Stonewall Forever: The past, present and future of Pride', followed by an open discussion led by Dr Billy Tusker Haworth, where we touched on personal experiences of Pride, intersectionality, allyship, and commercialisation. We also heard from the LGBTQ+ Society on how we can get involved with their network over the Summer.

Careers in Humanitarianism Day 2020

7 February 2020

Our seventh Careers Day was filled with presentations, discussion and advice from current leaders in the field of humanitarianism. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to learn, network and hear from the experts about where humanitarianism could take them.

Past events 2019

HCRI End of Term Lecture - Homelessness: Creating Solutions

26th November 2019

Our End of Term lecture was dedicated to an important humanitarian issue we face in our own community. A growing number of people in the UK, including in Manchester, are sleeping rough. We discussed this issue with Danny Collins (tour guide at Invisible Manchester), who spoke of his own experiences with homelessness. Alice Sparks (Head of Invisible Manchester) and Nicola Sansom (CEO and Co-founder of S.A.L.V.E. International) contributed to the discussion by discussing how their organisations seek to address homelessness in Britain and in sub-Saharan Africa. How have our ideas to tackle homelessness evolved over time? What kind of solutions have proven helpful? And what can we do to help?

HCRI Research Series: Isabelle Kidder, Jennifer Small and Julia Kiemle-Gabbay

12th November 2019

Isabelle is an International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response with French (BSc) HCRI graduate, whereas Jennifer and Julia are BSc Global Health graduates from the institute. For this seminar, the guest speakers presented their individual dissertation projects, which focussed on research outcomes and on their trajectory of coming to these outcomes to inspire current undergraduate and postgraduate students who are preparing to undertake their dissertations this academic year.

HCRI Research Series: Dr Hannah Partis-Jennings and Henry Redwood

5th November 2019

Dr Hannah Partis-Jennings is a Lecturer in International Relations and Security within the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Loughborough University. Dr Henry Redwood is a Lecturer in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. For the seminar, Hannah and Henry built on the themes we engage within a recent paper - ‘Contesting and Securing War Imaginaries: The Messy Politics of One Artistic Assemblage’ - particularly highlighting modes of ambiguity in visuals of, and bound up with, war experience. They discussed ambiguity in three dimensions within very different contexts; firstly, in the work of Mark Neville, a war artist embedded with British troops in Helmand, Afghanistan in 2011. They suggest that his position on the border of soldiering, and his experience of trauma echo through the visual ambiguities of his work. They frame this as partially unintentional ambiguity to the extent that its disruptive politics was limited through being tethered to the circumstance and the mechanisms of his aesthetic engagement. Secondly, they highlight the role of images of the ‘disappeared’ in Sri Lanka, which are kept and used in acts of resistance by protesters, in delineating the experience of enforced ambiguity tied to loss and state violence in war. Finally, they will look at the work of Vladimir Miladinovi and his engagement with silenced archives related to the 1990s war in the former Yugoslavia. Here Vladimir engages in the intentional use of ambiguity mobilised in pursuit of a more open and contested form of post-conflict engagement with traumatic pasts. We suggest that these three examples highlight the modes of trauma, resistance and the political that circulate around the aesthetic imaginary of war and emphasise the complexities of the visual as an artefact of encounter with war’s violence.

HCRI Research Series: Sophie Delaunay

30th October 2019

Sophie Delaunay has been leading health and humanitarian programs for the past 25 years and became executive director of Doctors Without Borders (MSF in the United States) until 2015. Her seminar explored the following: Humanitarian organizations operate in complex environments where providing assistance to thousands of people is rarely their sole challenge. A wide range of constraints including insecurity, lack of adapted resources, management of public perception, local administrative requirements and/or hostility towards humanitarian actors may co-exist and frequently combined. These multiple challenges force humanitarians to not only focus on their specific efforts but to invest in many other activities that do not necessarily core to their social mission, but essential to conduct their work. As a result, many organizations are inclined to expand their scope of intervention, and to develop know-how in various areas from advocating for affordable and adapted medicines, to negotiating access to restricted territory, analyzing and navigating national legal environments or understanding regional political dynamics. This local complexity faced by NGOs has been in recent years amplified by growing public demands for higher standards of financial accountability, environmental preservation, or equity and behaviour on the part of humanitarian stakeholders.

All these constraints put humanitarian organizations under tremendous pressure and can contribute to uncontrolled growth and sometimes mission creep. This is when comes an additional challenge: not losing direction and finding the right balance between the need to adapt to and address prevailing obstacles, and an organization’s ability to focus on its core mandate. This is the tension that was explored in the group discussion through a series of recent examples.

HCRI Research Series: Professor Madhu Krishnan

15th October 2019

Madhu is a Professor of African, World and Comparative Literatures at the University of Bristol. Her seminar explored the ways in which literary activism currently functions in specific sites in sub-Saharan Africa to open spaces for creative responses to conflict and crisis. Literary activism itself encodes a double meaning, both referring to the sheer act of opening spaces for creative production and creativity, on the one hand, and the more targeted use of cultural forms as a means of sociopolitical intervention, on the other. In both cases, literary activism serves to engender new horizons through which publics, commons and networks of practice might be forged, enabling lateral and novel forms of solidarity and collectivity to emerge. In this talk, I focus particularly on the ways in which literary activism has functioned in the context of Cameroon's Anglophone crisis through the case study of the Bakwa collective.

HCRI Research Series: Dr Christine Eriksen

1st October 2019

Christine is a senior lecturer and research fellow at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Christine has gained international recognition in the field of disaster geographies. The seminar built on a dozen years of research with wildland firefighters, Indigenous land stewards, wildfire survivors, and residents living in fire-prone landscapes in Australia and North America. The seminar discussed how both women and men suffer from structural biases when it comes to gendered aspects of agencies that manage fire, and highlight the potential operational benefits of heightened awareness of unquestioned gender biases.

HCRI Landmark Lecture on Kashmir: causes of crises and consequences for citizens

24th September 2019

HCRI welcomed the new term with their annual landmark lecture on Kashmir, following India’s federal government recently changing its 70-year policy on Jammu and Kashmir State, stripping the contested territory of much of its autonomy. The lecture included individual presentations and panel discussion with three experts, Dr Waseem Yaqoob (Queen Mary University), Dr Jessica Field (Brunel University and Tahir Aziz (Conciliation Resources) who shed light on the causes and consequences of this new development, with Dr Birte Vogel (HCRI) as Chair.

Guest Lecture with Dr Darryl Stellmach 

27th June 2019

HCRI was pleased to host Dr Darryl Stellmach who presented a guest lecture on, 'Emergency Ethnography: Anthropology in and of Public Health Crises'.

Darryl spent 10 years as a field worker for MSF and is currently working as an Anthropology Implementer for the Manson Unit of MSF-UK. His lecture reviewed the recent push to integrate the social sciences into humanitarian operations, highlighting some of the agendas and potential pitfalls. It examined the practice of doing anthropology in an emergency—asking how one can make rigorous, effective and ethical social science in active conflict or epidemic settings. The lecture also drew on experiences in South Sudan and Syria, with a special focus on the efforts of MSF-UK, who run a dedicated social science unit to support field operations and research.

HCRI PhD Symposium

30 May 2019

The Symposium was a full-day event of panels with presentations our PhD students. This was a lovely opportunity to acknowledge students’ passion for their research and the hard work of staff that underpins it.

Careers in Humanitarianism Day 2019

10 May 2019

Our sixth Careers Day was filled with presentations, discussion and advice from current leaders in the field of humanitarianism. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to learn, network and hear from the experts about where humanitarianism could take them.

HCRI Research Series: 10 Years of HCRI, Jen Peterson

7 May 2019

For the HCRI Research Series, we were joined by Jen Peterson (HCRI Alumni Staff). Jen presented for approximately 1 hour, before a Q&A with the audience. Jen discussed, Laughing at Pacifists: Public Shaming and the Delegitimization of Non-Violent Tactics.

Roundtable: Humanitarianism After Liberal Order?

4th April 2019

HCRI was delighted to welcome guest speaker Professor Mark Duffield to help us launch the Journal of Humanitarianism Affairs. The journal is an exciting new open-access journal hosted jointly by The Humanitarian Affairs Team at Save the Children UK, and Centre de Réflexion sur l’Action et les Savoirs Humanitaires MSF (Paris) and HCRI.

At the event, Mark introduced the theme of the first issue, ‘post-humanitarianism’, which his article in the issue speaks to. After the introduction, there was a roundtable discussion on this theme, with contributor to the issue Caroline Abu-Sada (SOS Méditerranée Switzerland), and representatives from the journal’s editorial team: Juliano Friori (Save the Children UK), Michaël Neumann (MSF) and Róisín Read (HCRI). Following the discussion and Q&A session, a wine reception was held to celebrate the launch.

HCRI Film Screening: Operation Legacy

26 March 2019

In 2009, a group of Kenyan war veterans sued the British government to reveal the truth about what really happened in their country during the so-called 'Mau Mau Emergency’. This documentary tells the incredible story of those veterans demanding truth and reparations for British crimes and exposes the depth of the establishment's attempted erasure of colonial histories of violence under Operation Legacy.

The film screening was introduced by Dr Poppy Cullen (University of Exeter), historian and author of 'Kenya and Britain after Independence: Beyond Neo-Colonialism'.

HCRI Research Series: 10 Years of HCRI, Alison Howell

21 March 2019

For the HCRI Research Series, we were joined by Alison Howell (HCRI Alumni Staff). Alison presented for approximately 1 hour, before a Q&A with the audience. Alison discussed, From Eugenics to Resilience? Re-thinking the Connections between Race, Disability and War.

HCRI Film Screening: About a War

14 March 2019

Moving through rare archival footage and the personal accounts of Assad, a right-wing Christian intelligence officer, Ahed, a Palestinian refugee fighter and Nassim, a Communist commander, About a War unpacks the tensions between individual choice and sectarian violence in the Lebanese civil war. Without giving an official account of the conflict, the testimonies help build a multi-perspective picture of a crucial turning point in Lebanese history. What is it like to fight and can militiamen come to terms with their killings? What happens after the war and can parallel be drawn with present-day conflicts in the region such as in neighbouring Syria?

Co-producer Dana Abi Ghanem introduced and talked about the film. The screening was followed by a Q&A discussion with co-director, Dr Daniele Rugo who joined HCRI by Skype, placing some of the themes raised by the documentary into a wider conversation surrounding inequality and sectarian divide in Lebanon today, refugee flows in the Middle East and cycles of violence and conflict in the region.

HCRI Research Series: 10 Years of HCRI, Sophie Roborgh and Nat O’Grady

12 March 2019

For the HCRI Research Series, we were joined by Sophie Roborgh (HCRI Presidential Fellow) and Nat O’Grady (Lecturer in Disaster Management). Each speaker spoke for approximately 45 minutes, before a Q&A with the audience. Sophie discussed, Medical Muhajireen - Health workers under Daesh and Nat discussed, Emergency Infrastructures, Automation and Public/Private Security Hybrid.

Panel Discussion on The State of the Humanitarian System 2018 ALNAP report

6 March 2019

Manchester launch of the 4th edition of report which covers a period during which the geopolitical landscape has changed, with powerful effects on the context and practices of humanitarian action. Panel discussants included Paul Knox Clarke, lead author and Head of Research at ALNAP, Chris Loughran, Director for Policy and Advocacy at MAG, David Wightwick, CEO of UK-Med and HCRI’s Presidential Fellow Sophie Roborgh. 

Yemen: Response and Representation of a War

20 February 2019

HCRI were joined by Hakim Khaldi (Humanitarian Projector Coordinator) and Keyan Salarkia (Conflict and Humanitarian Advocacy Advisor) from MSF and Save the Children UK, for a conversation which tried to understand the basis for the depiction and qualification of the war in Yemen by humanitarian NGOs and explore how this has impacted international responses. Panel discussants were:

Past events 2018

Aftershocks: The Armenian Earthquake and Humanitarianism at the End of the Cold War?

12 December 2018

On December 7 1988, an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck Armenia, killing an estimated 25,000 people, injuring 15,000, and devastating the cities of Spitak and Leninakan (Gyumri). The scale of destruction, and the extensive humanitarian need that followed, stunned the international community. In response, this earthquake saw the first delivery of international aid into the Soviet Union since the beginning of the Cold War. 2018 marked 30 years since the crisis of the Armenian Earthquake. To mark this anniversary, the event brought together an expert panel of scholars and humanitarian practitioners to reflect on the humanitarian response to the earthquake, its impact on a world divided by the Cold War, and its continuing legacies both for the Armenian population, but also the humanitarian community. The panel comprised of:

  • Emeritus Professor Tony Redmond, HCRI Deputy Director and Professor of International Emergency Medicine at The University of Manchester
  • Dr Joanne Laycock, Senior Lecturer in Modern History at The University of Manchester.
  • Mr Ara Nahabedian, MD MS BS, Orthopaedic Surgeon (retired)

No Recourse! Project Launch and Graduation

5 December 2018

The event officially launched the new partnership project between WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together) and HCRI’s Drs Jenna Murray de Lopez and Rubina Jasani. The event also celebrated 10 Peer Researchers from WAST completing their training through an awards ceremony, with special guest speakers Farhat Khan and Zahra Alijah in attendance. The celebrations were followed by a drinks reception.

TEAMS training for Emergency Medical Teams

5 December 2018

The TEAMS consortium reported on the work they are undertaking on the design, development, delivery and evaluation of the TEAMS project. The project, funded by DG ECHO, aims to create an innovative operational training package focused on teamwork and simulation exercises to assist any Emergency Medical Team (EMT) in preparing for deployment. This year TEAMs have delivered training in Germany & Istanbul including through simulation exercise such as mass casualty incidents. This event was also livestreamed.

HCRI Research Series: 10 Years of HCRI, Jessica Fields

4 December 2018

For the HCRI Research Series, we were joined by Jessica Fields, (HCRI Honorary Research Fellow). Jessica spoke for approximately 45 minutes, before a Q&A with the audience. Jessica discussed, Legitimacy as a humanitarian principle? The history and politics of emergency management in India, 1947-present

HCRI Research Series: 10 Years of HCRI, Rubina Jasania, Jenna Murray de Lopez and Yamusu Nyang and fellow PEER Researchers.

20 November 2018

The speakers spoke about Women Asylum Seekers Together: Capacity Building and Collaborative Research with socially marginalised women in the UK.

HCRI Research Series: 10 Years of HCRI, Catherine Arthur and Anna Vainio

6 November 2018

For the HCRI Research Series, we were joined by Catherine Arthur (HCRI Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies) and Anna Vainio (Visiting Research Student). Each speaker spoke for approximately 45 minutes, before a Q&A with the audience. Catherine discussed, Political Symbols: How we Build Nations and National Identities and Anna discussed, Who decides what’s recovery?

HCRI Research Series: 10 Years of HCRI, Eric Lepp and Jenny Chapman

23 October 2018

For the HCRI Research Series, we were joined by Eric Lepp (HCRI Senior Tutor in Humanitarian Studies) and Jenny Champman (HCRI PhD candidate). Each speaker spoke for approximately 45 minutes, before a Q&A with the audience. Eric discussed, Side-by-sidedness: Resistance and Sanctuary in a Belfast hockey arena and Jenny discussed, Humanitarian Response in Thatcher's Britain, a study of the British response to the 1988 Armenian Earthquake.

HCRI Research Series: 10 Years of HCRI, Antoine Burgard and Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps

9 October 2018

For the HCRI Research Series, we were joined by Antoine Burgard (HCRI Postdoctoral Fellow) and Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps (HCRI Visiting Fellow). Each speaker presented for approximately 45 minutes, before a Q&A with the audience.  Antoine discussed, A Limited World of Possibilities? Understanding young Holocaust Survivors experiences of displacement and Marie-Luce discussed, Helping all the victims?  The ICRC and the Congo Crisis (1960-1965).

HCRI PhD Symposium

22 May 2018

The Symposium was a full-day event of panels with presentations our PhD students. This was a lovely opportunity to acknowledge students’ passion about their research and the hard work of staff that underpins it.

HCRI’s 10 Year Anniversary Official Launch: Film Screening of PILLI

16 May 2018

This was the launch event for a series of programmes celebrating HCRI’s 10 year anniversary.

PILI is a ground-breaking collaboration between the filmmakers and the women of Miono, Tanzania, whose real stories the film is based upon and who make up the ensemble cast of non-actors, 65% of whom are HIV positive. PILI is the first ever social-realist feature film to focus on women living with HIV in East Africa. It is one of the few films made in Africa that features an ensemble female cast and that uses almost entirely non-actors.

A drinks reception was held prior, to the film screening which was introduced by Professor Luke Georghiou (Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at The University of Manchester. This was followed by a Q&A session with the film producer, Dr Sophie Harman.

HCRI Research Seminar Series: Volunteered Geographic Information and Community Disaster Resilience

23 April 2018

For the HCRI Research Seminar Series, we were joined by our very own Dr Billy Haworth.

Doctors Worldwide: In Conversation with HCRI

16 April 2018

Mr Ibrar Majid and Dr Shazaad Ahmad, trustees of Doctors Worldwide, discussed their experience in medical humanitarian work and why they remain committed to working in global health, alongside their work as NHS Specialists. They discussed the work of Doctors Worldwide, including the current medical training project in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh and offered advice to students interested in getting involved in global health and development. There was also a Q&A with the audience.

HCRI Speaker Series Decolonising Intervention: International State building in Mozambique

19 March 2018

For the HCRI Speaker Series, we were joined by Meera Sabaratnam, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at SOAS University of London.

HCRI Speaker Series: Charitable donations to disaster victims: case studies from Nineteenth-Century Scandinavia

19 February 2018

For the HCRI Speaker Series, we were joined by Andrew Newby from Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies.

A panel discussion with HCRI and Engineers without Borders on ‘How we can better manager disasters?’

8 February 2018

Three panel speakers gave 15-20 minute presentations before, a Q&A session was opened up. The panel comprised of:

  • James Shraiky – Founder and Director of InterSCT and PhD Candidate at HCRI
  • Anisa Jafar – PhD and Research Associate with WHO and HCRI
  • Rana Khalaf – Independent Researcher / Consultant PhD Candidate at HCRI

Careers in Humanitarianism Day 2018

2 February 2018

Our fifth Careers Day was filled with presentations, discussion and advice from current leaders in the field of humanitarianism. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to learn, network and hear from the experts about where humanitarianism could take them.

Past events 2017

HCRI Landmark Lecture with Pierre Carli - The 2015 Paris Terrorist Attacks: Medical Management and Lessons Learned

23 November 2017

We were pleased to welcome Pierre Carli as the guest speaker at our 2017 Landmark Lecture. In 2015, the city of Paris was the target of a number of terrorist attacks, including a series of co-ordinated attacks on November 13th which targetted concertgoers at the Bataclan Theatre, people dining in cafes and restaurants, and football fans at the Stade de France. The attacks were the most deadly in France since World War II, with over 130 fatalities.

This lecture provided an insight into the response of the emergency services both during and after the attacks. 

Applying behaviour change-based health promotion strategies across the disaster cycle

21 November 2017

Dr Nancy Claxton a senior officer of health promotion in the community and emergency health department of International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC) in Geneva, talked about "Applying behaviour change-based health promotion strategies across the disaster cycle"

What Inspires Humanitarian Action?

10 November 2017

Project Trust (an overseas volunteering organisation) hosted its third Education Networking Event ‘What Inspires Humanitarian Action?’ in partnership with HCRI. The purpose of the Education Networking Event was to facilitate debate on ‘what inspires humanitarian actions?’, inspire young people to take humanitarian actions, to strengthen the partnership between The University of Manchester and Project Trust. The event was aimed at Returning Volunteers (RVs) from Project Trust, current University of Manchester students, school/college pupils, school/college teachers and members of the general public. Guests at the event heard from expert speakers on what inspires humanitarian action. This was followed Q&A and networking session.

World on the Move: Migration, Societies and Change

30 October-1 November 2017

The inaugural international conference entitled ‘World on the Move’. The two-and-a-half day conference was a huge success and provided an arena for discussions, debate and the development of future research projects. The Lab also partnered with TakeBack Theatre to produce an immersive theatre production based on Migration Lab research intended to be a thought-provoking piece which asks people to question their own roles in producing hierarchies of belonging.

Responding to Emergency Crises - Personal Reflections

24 October 2017

For this speaker series, we were joined by Gareth Owen (The University of Manchester Alumni and Humanitarian Director at Save the Children) for a personal reflection on the current state of the humanitarian enterprise and offering a personal opinion on how things need to change to face the enormous challenges of the 21st Century. 

Bringing participatory development into conflict analysis – experience from Rakhine state, Myanmar

26 September 2017

We were joined by Dr Anthony Ware (Hallsworth Visiting Scholar, Deakin University) from HCRI's opening Speaker Series for the 2017-18 events programme.

Aid, Conflict and Peace: collaborative research symposium

19 May 2017

This student-led and student focused event was organised by HCRI PhD students. multidisciplinary conference will bring together researchers and students from across the University with a shared interest in issues such as humanitarianism, conflict response and development, and in doing so provide an opportunity for students and researchers alike to share their skills, knowledge and research projects.

Histories of Humanitarian Action

19 May 2017

This HCRI Event brought together three authors who have recently published works on the history of humanitarian action:

  • Martin Barber, former UN Official, speaking about his book "Blinded by Humanity: inside the UN's Humanitarian Operations" (2015)
  • Eleanor Davey, HCRI academic, speaking about her book “Idealism beyond Borders: The French Revolutionary Left and the Rise of Humanitarianism, 1954-1988” (2015)
  • Jean-Herve Bradol, MSF, speaking about his and Marc le Pape’s book “Humanitarian aid, genocide and mass killings” (2016)

Each author used their book to reflect on historical moments in the humanitarian field and promote discussion on the lessons that can be learned for current and future humanitarian practice.

HCRI Speaker Series: Abuse of Human Rights in Conflict Situations – a Legal Perspective

10 May 2017

For this HCRI Speaker Series we are joined by Bethany Shiner, Associate Lecturer in Law at Middlesex University.

HCRI Seminar: Ending the Cycle of Famine in Ethiopia

19 April 2017

In this Speaker Series, John Graham (Country Director for Save the Children and visiting academic at HCRI) discussed his work in Ethiopia and his paper on the End of Famines in Ethiopia, the 2015-16 Response.

HCRI Seminar: Out of sight, out of mind, out of bounds - The Failure of Maritime Sanctions Enforcement against North Korea

22 February 2017

In this Speaker Series, John Graham (Country Director for Save the Children and visiting academic at HCRI) discussed his work in Ethiopia and his paper on the End of Famines in Ethiopia, the 2015-16 Response.

Past events 2016

HCRI Speaker Series with Dr Ilan Kelman, Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London

08 December 2016

Dr Kelman discussed "Disaster risk reduction in 2050" with reference to climate change and sustainable development goals, but focussing on aspects of vulnerability and society, rather than technological innovation. Elements included looking backwards as well as forwards, plus the firm connection of Disaster Risk Reduction being rooted in equity, justice, and governance.

What next for Syria? Civil War and the New Cold War

30 November 2016

On 20th September 2016, and despite a ceasefire that came into effect on 12th September, a UN aid convoy in Aleppo, Northern Syria, was attacked killing at least 20 people and destroying 18 trucks. After five years of conflict, and escalating tensions between Russia and western countries led by the U.S., this roundtable discussion brought together academics, aid workers, policy-makers and activists to reflect on the recent attacks in Syria and debate what can be done next.

Panellist included:

  • Rony Brauman: HCRI Director and MSF Director of Research, former President of Médecins Sans Frontières (1982 -1994) who has worked in the field of international medical assistance since 1977
  • Rana Khalaf: Independent Research Consultant with over 12 years of professional and volunteer work experience connected with Syria; recently completed her Academy Senior Fellowship with the Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House. Her work focuses on civil society, activism and governance
  • Fakhri Mansour: HCRI postgraduate student, formerly part of the UN humanitarian access team which designs and coordinates humanitarian convoys in Syria, including the one which was attacked in western Aleppo
  • Yasmine Nahlawi: Rethink Rebuild Society, Syrian Advocacy and Policy Coordinator, including research, political analysis and advocacy strategies to influence policy and practice.

HCRI Speaker Series with Gareth Owen OBE, Save the Children

19 October 2016

For this HCRI Speaker Series, we were joined by Gareth Owen OBE, Humanitarian Director for Save the Children. Gareth has worked in the aid sector for 25 years. He joined Save the Children in 2002 as an emergency adviser and became Humanitarian Director in 2007. He has led Save the Children’s responses to every major emergency over the past decade, most notably the Iraq conflict, the Asian tsunami, Cyclone Nargis, Haiti, Pakistan, East Africa, Niger and the Philippines. Gareth was awarded an OBE in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to emergency crisis response abroad.

In this Speaker Series event, Gareth talked about his work in humanitarian responses over the last two decades.

HCRI Inaugural Lecture with John Borton, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

13 October 2016

John Borton, Senior Research Associate at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and HCRI Honorary Lecturer, delivered our 2016 Inaugural Lecture. He spoke about the history of Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin).

Medical Emergency Relief International, Merlin, was founded by three friends in 1993, as a UK humanitarian agency specialising in the provision of frontline health care in areas of conflict and natural disaster, and in strengthening national health systems in fragile states. From its establishment, Merlin grew rapidly to become a significant actor in many international humanitarian operations including Rwanda, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Liberia, Pakistan, Haiti, Myanmar and Libya.

Drawing on his role as PI on the completed Merlin History Project, John Borton provided an overview of Merlin’s life, its achievements and the factors contributing to its transition into Save the Children. He concluded with a reflection on the critical changes that have taken place in the humanitarian sector over this 20 year period.

HCRI Landmark Lecture with Professor Lilie Chouliaraki, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

03 October 2016

This year's Landmark Lecture was delivered by Lilie Chouliaraki, Professor of Media and Communication at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has written extensively on media ethics (particularly the problem of mediated suffering), digital journalism and human rights/humanitarian communication.

The lecture focused on the dominant visual culture around the recent 'refugees crisis' in Europe. Drawing on a typology of relevant images across media, map out the field of visibility within which refugees become perceptible to European publics and examined the distinct forms of responsibility, which the refugees are associated with (monitorial, effective, activist, post-humanitarian). In conclusion, it raises questions about the capacity of these forms of responsibility to engage with refugees as human others and to promote a culture of care and solidarity, outlining alternative media practices that could possibly foster different visual cultures.

Fourth Annual Conference of the International Association for Peace and Conflict Studies: Mobilities, Peace, and Conflict

15 September 2016

This conference explored the nexus between mobility, networks, scale, and (in)security. It aimed to expand our knowledge of the conditions for peace under more mobile and networked forms of agency, and the role these processes have in shaping contemporary security, development, and peacebuilding policies. What type of peace and security might mobile and networked forms of agency imply, and what facilitates and blocks such aims?

The conference took place in Dublin and was hosted by Dublin City University’s Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction (IICRR) -

Contested Syria, Contested Knowledge: Insights, Challenges, and Lessons from Research and Grassroots Reporting

10 March 2016

Multiple conflicts continue to be fought in Syria, and the devastation wrought by five years of violence inflicted by states, and then non-state groups, continues to mount. It can seem difficult to make sense of what is happening, why the situation took this course, and what the prospects for justice and peace are. If anything, opinions and knowledge about Syria remain very divided.

This roundtable discussion featured insights from experts about Syria and its regional and international context. The panel included; 

  • Dr. Emilie Combaz, a researcher specialised in human rights
  • Dr. Sandra Pogodda, Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies, HCRI
  • Professor Dan Smith, Director of the Stockholm International Peace Reseach Institute (SIPRI) and Professor of Peace and Conflict at HCRI
  • Robin Yassin-Kassab, co-author of the 2016 book ‘Burning Country. Syrians in Revolution and War’ (2016), with Leila Al-Shami

HCRI Speaker series with Hafsah Naib and Shamel Azmeh

7 March 2016

In this Speaker Series event, Hafsah introduced her short film “Departing: Arrivals”. Shot in Manchester, the film documents the stories of Syrian refugees who have fled their homeland to find sanctuary in Manchester. Following the film screening, Hafsah discussed some of the challenges and contexts surrounding the issues raised in the film and open up the event for reflections, questions and discussion.

Shamel Azmeh is a Syrian academic. In his talk "The Political Economy Roots of the Syrian Uprising and Conflict" Shamel provided a brief perspective into the roots of the Syrian uprising in the context of the post-independence Syrian state institutions and political and socio-economic developments in the two decades prior to the crisis.

Star lecture – Healthcare in Humanitarian Emergencies

3 March 2016

Dr Amy Hughes gave the University's Star Lecture on Health Care in Humanitarian Emergencies. Drawing on examples from post‐conflict in northern Sri Lanka, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the West Africa Ebola outbreak and the recent Nepal earthquake, Dr Hughes explored the complexities, challenges and approaches to delivering health care during and in the aftermath of such events.

This lecture provided an insight into the world of health care in humanitarian emergencies, highlighting the multiple factors affecting this. Attendees were provided with an opportunity to consider career pathways available for those interested in working in health, logistics and the humanitarian environment.

HCRI Disaster Dialogue series with Terry Cannon

15 February 2016

The Disaster Dialogue series, hosted by HCRI, is a regular multi-disciplinary forum that responds to the urgent challenges posed by disaster events, including their interface with climate change and sustainable development.

In this presentation, Terry Cannon discussed key areas of work that overlap between development, climate change and disaster preparedness, in relation to three myths.

  1. People share the same priority for severe natural hazards with outsider "disaster managers"
  2. The myth of "community" - Does it actually exist, or do we pretend it is there in order to enable us to do our work?
  3. Whether governments actually care about their people

HCRI Speaker Series with Stuart Bowman

08 February 2016

Stuart Bowman is a Strategy Committee member and trainer for Peace Brigades International (PBI) with fieldwork experience in Indonesia. The interactive speaker series explored how ordinary people can deter violence in areas affected by conflict to support the work of local human rights defenders and other civil society organisations. 

Careers in Humanitarianism Day 2016

05 February 2016

The fourth Careers in Humanitarianism Day event consisted of presentations, discussions and advice from current leaders within the Humanitarian sector and included;

  • Professor Mukesh Kapila – professor of Global Health & Humanitarian Affairs, The University of Manchester
  • Roland B. Berehoudougou – Regional Manager of Disaster Risk Management, Plan International
  • Dr. Unni Krishnan – Head of Disaster Preparedness and Response, Plan International
  • Jane Cocking – Humanitarian Director, Oxfam
  • Dr. Simon Mardel (OBE) – consultant in Emergency Medicine
  • Andy Wheatley – Humanitarian Adviser, DFID
  • Ligita Kondrataviciute – Human resources administrator, GOAL UK
  • Dr. Shazaad Ahmad – Doctors Worldwide
  • Juliano Fiori - Head of Humanitarian Affairs, Save the Children
  • Murray McCullough – EU special representative, UN, UNDPKO in Timor
  • William Hamden – Director, Karen Hilltribes Trust
  • David Trott – Director and Project Consultant, Impact Charity Advisors Ltd