Negotiating "Humanitarian Space": International Humanitarian Aid Organizations in Conflict Zones

Dr. Daniel Beaudoin

Tel Aviv University, Humanitarian and civil-military adviser (2 credits)

The role of humanitarian aid agencies is thought to be to save lives and ameliorate suffering. Their level of success depends on varying factors, from a topography that might make communication and transport more or less easy, to the prevalence of corruption and insecurity in distribution chains and to the increasingly politicized nature of humanitarian aid. A significant factor in meeting humanitarian objectives, however, is the capacity of humanitarian officials to negotiate access to beneficiaries and to secure protection both for recipients and for staff in the context of often very sensitive political and military environments. This course provides a unique opportunity for critical reflection, analysis, and debate on the negotiation approaches of INGOs working in development, relief, and advocacy contexts. The course will study several conflict arenas, and also provide a case study of humanitarian advocacy and aid operations as conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Palestinian Territories.


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