Feb 20

Past Event

Humanitarian Space, Humanitarian Principles: Experiences from Iraq and Afghanistan

Event Materials


The basic principles of humanitarian action are being challenged from all sides. Governments and the United Nations often seek to use humanitarian assistance in support of political and economic objectives. New actors are arriving on the scene, including military forces, for-profit contractors, and private philanthropists, each with their own interests and with understands of humanitarian principles that are quite different than those of UN agencies, the ICRC, and established non-governmental organizations. Upholding neutrality of humanitarian action and protecting humanitarian space is increasingly difficult – and perhaps nowhere as much as in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Friday, February 20, from 12:00-2:30pm, as part of an ongoing series on humanitarian issues, the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement hosted a roundtable on the challenges of maintaining humanitarian space in Afghanistan and Iraq. Following an overview of the issues by Brookings Senior Fellow Elizabeth Ferris, two researchers from the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University will present the results of their research on the state of the humanitarian enterprise in these two countries. Other panelists will provide comments.

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Event Agenda

  • Moderator

    • Joel Charny

      Vice President for Policy, Refugees International

  • Panelists

    • Antonio Donini

      Senior Researcher, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

    • Portrait: Elizabeth Ferris

      Elizabeth Ferris

      Co-Director, Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement

      Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy

    • Greg Hansen

      Independent Researcher and Consultant, Feinstein International Center

    • Geoff Loane

      Head of Delegation, Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada

      International Committee of the Red Cross

    • Susanne Schmeidl

      Senior Research Fellow, Griffith University (Australia)


February 20, 2009

12:00 PM - 2:30 PM EST

The Brookings Institution

Stein Room

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.


For More Information

Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement

(202) 797-6168