Strategies for Humanitarian Aid Workers Who Come Into Conflict with Armed Groups

Event Date: Wednesday December 13, 2006
Time: 8:30-10:00 A.M. (Continental Breakfast at 8:00)
Location: Pound Hall, John Chipman Gray Room, 2nd Floor, Harvard Law School

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Ruth Allen, Program Officer, Mercy Corps
Gerard McHugh, President, Conflict Dynamics Intl.
Jim Tull, International Conflict Management Specialist

Please join representatives from Conflict Dynamics International (CDI) and Mercy Corps for a discussion about their joint Humanitarian Negotiators Training Initiative (HNTI), which explores the unique situation that aid workers often face: negotiating with non-state armed groups in conflict contexts as well as other complex emergencies. In 2006 UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Operations funded HNTI trainings in Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The session will explore “humanitarian negotiations” as an emerging priority for UN and NGO actors and share information about a recent manual on the topic, co-developed by CDI and the UN’s Office of Coordination on Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The HNTI team will discuss initial lessons from trainings to date and how the skills are being applied by UN and Mercy Corps staff in the field. The HNTI is rooted in the interest-based negotiation approach and incorporates tools and skills Conflict Management Group brought to its 2004 merger with Mercy Corps, a humanitarian relief and development organization with sustained field experience in conflict situations.

Ruth Allen is a Program Officer for Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organization operating in more than 40 countries. As part of Mercy Corps’ technical team focused on civil society and conflict management, she supports new program development, conflict analysis and capacity building for related programs, particularly in Africa. One of Ruth’s areas of specialization is facilitating the participation of women and youth in peacebuilding initiatives, including work with the Initiative for Inclusive Security, UNICEF, and Seeds of Peace. She is also Mercy Corps’ lead on the Humanitarian Negotiators Training Initiative, a partnership with Conflict Dynamics International.

Gerard Mc Hugh is Founder and President of Conflict Dynamics International, a Cambridge-based-not-for-profit organization working to prevent and resolve violent conflict and to alleviate human suffering resulting from conflicts and other crises around the world. From July 2005 to March 2006 Gerard also served as Coordinator/Team Leader of the United Nations Security Council Panel of Experts on the Sudan. Prior to establishing Conflict Dynamics in 2004, Gerard worked as a consultant and advisor to national governments, intergovernmental organizations and academic institutions on humanitarian affairs and conflict resolution.

Jim Tull is an International Conflict Management Specialist providing process assistance and training in the areas of negotiation, communication, consensus building, mediation and dispute resolution. Mr. Tull has consulted and trained in over 50 countries around the globe, helping non-profits, governments and corporations to deepen their understanding and heighten their effectiveness in the face of conflict. Jim spent eight years working with the Conflict Management Group where his work included consultations to the governments of Bolivia, Guyana, Venezuela and Colombia on their national conflicts. He has also worked extensively with intergovernmental organizations and private companies.

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