Tag Archives: humanitarianism

Two Swarthmore Alumni Celebrated as Part of 2020 Nobel Peace Prize-Winning Food Program

Two Swarthmore alumni shared in the recognition as the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020.

Allison Oman Lawi ’91 is director, ad interim, for the Nutrition Division at WFP at headquarters in Rome, while Andrea Stoutland ’83 is special assistant to the director of human resources. The WFP was recognized Oct. 9 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for its efforts to combat hunger and contribute to improving conditions for peace, and for leading in efforts to prevent the weaponization of hunger in war and conflict.

Woman with Somali refugees in a refugee camp in Southern Ethiopia.
Oman Lawli, pictured with Somali refugees in a Kobe refugee camp in Southern Ethiopia, is director, ad interim, for the Nutrition Division at WFP.

The WFP helps to save lives in emergencies, build prosperity, and support a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change. In 2019, the organization provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who were victims of acute food insecurity and hunger. According to Executive Director David Beasley, the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the WFP is recognition of the work of the agency’s staffers who, under dangerous and unstable conditions, bring food and assistance to hungry children, women and men across the world.

“It would be difficult to express what this means to me, but given my major at Swarthmore was a self-designed Peace Studies (Sociology, Anthropology and Religion) you might get an idea,” says Oman Lawli. Now living in Rome, she had been based at the regional bureau in Nairobi, Kenya, since 2014 where she was a senior regional nutrition advisor including programs on social protection, school feeding, and HIV. 

Stoutland (right), seen here with the Deputy Country Director for Yemen (left) and a Yemeni woman  celebrating her graduation, serves as a assistant to the director of human resources for the WFP’s Nutrition Division.

“I always have believed that how we attempt to distance ourselves from the suffering of others is the measure of our dislocation with ourselves, and service to others is the only way to close that distance,” says Oman Lawi, whose thesis was on the political use of a food as a weapon of war in the Eritrea–Ethiopia conflict. “I have a beautiful job, I love the work that I do, and to have it recognized by the Nobel committee is more than I ever dreamt possible.” 

Stoutland recently moved to Rome in her new role as special assistant to the director of human resources; WFP has over 19,000 employees worldwide. “Before Cairo I spent two years in Juba, South Sudan, heading emergency operations,” she says. “Yemen is one of WFP’s biggest and most complex operations, and the Nobel Peace Prize recognizes the work it does there, together with non-governmental organizations and local authorities, providing food in very challenging contexts.”

According to the WFP, climate shocks and the global pandemic are pushing millions more to the brink of starvation. They continue to work with government organizations and private sector partners who share core values of integrity, humanity and inclusion.

“Humanitarian work is so rewarding because you have this privilege of trying to right the wrongs and support people and do what you can to bring the world back into balance,” says Oman Lawli. “I am humbled by this work — being able to provide food or running nutrition programs for those that have suffered a shock or crisis — it reminds me that all of us are only one major shock away from needing help from someone else and I am genuinely grateful for an opportunity to do my part. It is heartbreaking to know anyone will go to bed hungry, and to know this is a reality for hundreds of millions of people around the world is devastating.  So many things cause hunger; our behavior, our greed, our distancing from one another. I believe that working to end hunger can help bring peace in the world and to end conflict.”

This post originally appeared in Swarthmore News & Events.

Humanitarian Predicaments: Protracted Displacement and Palestinian Refugee Politics

Please join us on Wednesday, February 6th for a lecture by Ilana Feldman (Anthropology, George Washington University), who will be visiting campus as part of the “Contending Visions of the Middle East” series. Ilana’s lecture draws from her recently published book “Life Lived In Relief” (University of California Press, 2018).
life lived in reflief
February 6
4:30 – 6:00 PM | SCI 101
Humanitarian Predicaments: Protracted Displacement and Palestinian Refugee Politics
Ilana Feldman (George Washington University)

Palestinian refugees’ experience of protracted displacement is among the lengthiest in history. In her breathtaking new book, Ilana Feldman explores this community’s engagement with humanitarian assistance over a seventy-year period and their persistent efforts to alter their present and future conditions. Based on extensive archival and ethnographic field research, Life Lived in Relief offers a comprehensive account of the Palestinian refugee experience living with humanitarian assistance in many spaces and across multiple generations. By exploring the complex world constituted through humanitarianism, and how that world is experienced by the many people who inhabit it, Feldman asks pressing questions about what it means for a temporary status to become chronic. How do people in these conditions assert the value of their lives? What does the Palestinian situation tell us about the world? Life Lived in Relief is essential reading for anyone interested in the history and practice of humanitarianism today.

Sponsored by the President’s Office Andrew W. Mellon Grant, The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and the Departments of Political Science, History, Sociology / Anthropology, and Peace and Conflict Studies. For a full schedule of spring events, please consult our website: https://contendingvisions.wixsite.com/mysite

War on Humanity: Healthcare under Attack in the Syrian Conflict

The Arabic Section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, the Islamic Studies Program, the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, and the the Health & Societies Program at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility are pleased to present:

A lecture by Dr. Hani Mowafi, Yale University
War on Humanity: Healthcare under Attack in the Syrian Conflict

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Scheuer Room at 7:00 p.m.

Alaa Al-Faqir_A damaged hospital in the town of Tel al-Shehab in Deraa, Syria July 23, 2015The Syrian war, now in its 7th year, has been one of the most brutal modern conflicts in the world. With estimates of over half a million deaths since the war’s inception and roughly 13 million displaced the conflict’s effects for Syria and the world will be long lasting. Combatants on all sides but primarily those allied with the Syrian government have used indiscriminate military force against civilian populations. In addition, the deliberate targeting of medical facilities and personnel, in flagrant violation of international law and global norms, has created a new dimension of brutality – one that is being emulated in other conflicts around the world. These violations in the way war is waged have occurred largely with impunity and have grave consequences for the future impact of armed conflict on civilian populations. Dr. Mowafi will discuss some of the unique elements of the Syrian conflict and its impact on civilian populations as well as highlight efforts to combat these developments on both the international and individual level.

Dr_Hani_Mowafi_medDr. Mowafi is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Chief of the Section of Global Health and International Emergency Medicine at Yale University. His interests are in developing the science and practice of emergency care with emphasis on low- and middle-income countries where the burden of emergency conditions is greatest and is combined with an unmet need for emergency services.  Dr. Mowafi’s current research includes evaluation of health data from a network of hospitals operating inside war-affected Syria and modeling household income effects of road traffic injury in rural Uganda.  He has 15 years of experience in consulting and research in emergency medicine and global public health.

For further information about this event, please contact Khaled Al-Masri: kalmasr1 *at* swarthmore.edu

Confronting War Crimes in the Middle East and Africa

Confronting War Crimes in the Middle East and Africa

A conversation with Sofia Candeias, international lawyer and member of the United Nations Team of Experts on Sexual Violence and the Rule of Law

Friday, February 17th, 2017
4:30 pm Kohlberg 115

Come listen to intimate reflections of those working on the front lines of today’s conflict and post-conflict contexts. In “Reflections from the Field”, a new speaker series at Swarthmore, diplomats, journalists,
activists, and humanitarians will discuss what they do, why they do it and how they came to do it.

An international lawyer and member of the UN Team of Experts on Sexual Violence and the Rule of Law, Sofia Candeias’ work focuses on the promotion
of accountability for sexual violence crimes. In her current role, she covers the global refugee crisis, with a special focus on Iraq and Syria, as well as the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and
Mali.

Prior to joining the UN Team of Experts, Sofia was the Criminal Justice Coordinator at the International Center for Transitional Justice where she focused on supporting national efforts on the investigation and prosecution of international crimes in Colombia, Congo, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Uganda. She has held posts with the UN in Congo, was a member of the Legal Advisory Section of the War Crimes Chamber in Sarajevo, and served as a Legal Officer with the Serious Crimes Unit in UNMISET in East Timor. Sofia began her career in 2003 at the newly established International Criminal Court.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science, Global Affairs Program at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and Peace and Conflict
Studies.

Dr. Sa’ed Atshan to join faculty in Peace and Conflict Studies

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Sa’ed Atshan will join the Peace and Conflict Studies program for the fall semester of 2015!

Sa'ed Atshan

Professor Atshan will offer a range of exciting new courses!:

  • PEAC 003 Crisis Resolution in the Middle East (Spring 2016)
  • PEAC 015 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies (Fall 2015)
  • PEAC 043 Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change (Spring 2016)
  • PEAC 053 Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Fall 2015)
  • PEAC 103 Humanitarianism: Anthropological Approaches (This is a two-credit seminar, cross-listed with ANTH) (Spring 2016)

Dr. Atshan graduated from Harvard University in 2013 with a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies. He holds an M.A. in Social Anthropology from Harvard, an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a B.A. in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from Swarthmore College. He is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

Over the past six years, Atshan has regularly taught “Introduction to Peace and Justice Studies” in the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Tufts University, where he has also taught courses on “The Arab Spring and Nonviolent Strategic Action” and “Gender, Sexuality, and Human Rights in the Middle East.”

Dr. Atshan designed and taught courses at Harvard and Brown on social movements in  the Middle East and the Arab Spring, among other topics. He has earned four of Harvard’s excellence in undergraduate teaching awards along the way.

Sa’ed has won multiple awards and fellowships from important organizations that include the National Science Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation, and in 2009, he was awarded a Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace.

In addition to his work on humanitarian politics and aid intervention, Atshan has conducted research into nonviolent Israeli and Palestinian social movements, countering old characterizations of nonviolence as foreign to the region. Instead he discovers and reveals “co-resistance” or coalition and joint struggles for social justice between Israeli and Palestinian activists.

Professor Atshan has worked with a range of organizations that include Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Seeds of Peace International Camp, the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department, and Medical Aid for Palestinians, all indicating his commitment to the practical pursuit of peace and justice to which our field aspires.

We look forward to having such an innovative scholar and teacher join our program!