Antonio De Lauri takes over as NCHS Director

The Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies (NCHS)  has been a joint collaboration between CMI, NUPI and PRIO since its establishment in 2012. The leadership and administration of NCHS rotates between the institutes, and after having been led from PRIO since 2012, it is now going to CMI for the next four-year period. 

Antonio De Lauri  (Research Professor at CMI) becomes the NCHS Director in the period 2021-2022 and Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert (PRIO) will be the NCHS Co-Director in the same period, alongside Stein Sundstøl Eriksen  (NUPI) continuing in his role as Co-Director. Emily Hume (CMI) will take over from Andrea Silkoset (PRIO) as NCHS coordinator.

Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert has been Director of NCHS since 2016, then taking over from Kristin Bergtora Sandvik who led the Centre from its foundation in 2012. The NCHS was in the first period funded through a Research Council of Norway project, “Protection of Civilians: From Principle to Practice” (2012-2016). New funding was secured for the period 2019-2022 with network funding from the NORGLOBAL program of the RCN, leading to the establishment of the “NCHS: Research Network on Humanitarian Efforts”, led by Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert. Maria continues as project leader for this network in the coming period.

New ERC grant awarded to Antonio De Lauri

NCHS Co-Director Antonio De Lauri has been awarded the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant for his project War and Fun: Reconceptualizing Warfare and Its Experience.

While several of the projects De Lauri is currently working on relate to aspects of humanitarian studies, this project will stengthen our understanding on the deep and long-term effects of war on soldiers and veterans. The project has a duration of five years, and will bring three new post docs and one new PhD student to the project team based at CMI.

You can read more about De Lauri’s new project at CMIs webpages by clicking this link.

AidAccount project to set up Humanitarian Lab

The AidAccount project, which studies accountability in civic and professional humanitarian aid, has officially started with a virtual 3-day kick-off meeting that involved participants in Norway, the UK, Uganda, Somaliland and Sri Lanka. During the kick-off, NCHS director Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert joined the team to inform about NCHS and opportunities for synergies with the project.

Besides discussing the practical and academic details of the project – through a presentation of a literature review and working group discussions on the three case studies – the AidAccount team spent a day discussing the set up of its Humanitarian Lab. The AidAccount Humanitarian Lab aims to support knowledge-based policy decisions and cultivate relationships between researchers, humanitarians, policy makers, donors and aid recipients that will lead to sustained interactions and collaborative learning. Through co-creating knowledge approaches and interactions with key stakeholders, the lab explores new ways to promote research relevance.

The lab functions as a methodological tool as well as a tool for dissemination and impact. It was set up to provide a regular meeting space in key locations for the study (including Oslo, Kampala in Uganda, Burao in Somaliland, and Jaffna in Sri Lanka) and the team will also experiment with creating a virtual space between differently located stakeholders. The official start-up of the lab is in summer 2021, but we encourage those interested in learning more or taking part, to contact project leader: Cindy Horst.

Vacancy: Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies Coordinator

We are looking for a Coordinator for the NCHS in a 50% position from 1 February 2021 – 31 December 2022. The position will be based at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Bergen, Norway. The application deadline is 27 November 2020.

NCHS forms a platform for exchange among researchers and establishes stronger and more tailored mechanisms for mutual exchanges with policy makers and practitioners, as well as the broader public, thus improving the quality of research and practice in the humanitarian sector. Specifically, the NCHS runs a network connecting relevant ongoing research on humanitarian efforts, in Norway and internationally.

For more information and details on how to apply, follow this link.

Tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Help with the day-to-day running of the centre activities
  • Serve as the contact person of the NCHS network
  • Manage the NCHS’ webpage, blog, mailing list, Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • Plan and organize conferences, workshops, seminars, and network meetings
  • Represent the NCHS at external meetings and take notes from such meetings
  • Participate in meetings and activities of NCHS
  • Develop connections with relevant stakeholders (e.g. MFA, humanitarian organizations, etc.)
  • Perform other tasks as agreed with the NCHS Director

We are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications:

  • A Bachelor or a Master degree in the social sciences or humanities, or other relevant fields, preferably on a topic relevant to the NCHS
  • Some relevant work experiences
  • ICT skills
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently, as well as being a team player
  • Fluency in English. Good knowledge of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language is preferred
  • Excellent writing skills

Afghanistan Week 2020: Digital events 16-19 November

What goes on behind closed doors in Doha, where representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan government gather to negotiate the end of more than 40 years of war? Will Afghanistan’s powerful warlords support, sabotage or co-opt a negotiated settlement? How might the Taliban seek to Islamicize Afghanistan’s constitution and legal framework, and what would be the consequences for women and human rights? How much space is left for free speech and political activism in Afghanistan? And can any peace deal be sustainable without broader involvement of the Afghan population?

These are amongst the themes that will be explored during the 2020 Afghanistan Week, which takes place between the 16th and 20th of November.

The Afghanistan Week is a bi-annual event where politicians, journalists, academics, and activists from Afghanistan, Norway and beyond come together to address key issues facing the country, as well as to stimulate debate and understanding about Afghanistan in Norway. This year, the Afghanistan Week will be in a digital format and thus accessible to a global audience.

The Week is organized by the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC), the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the Nansen Centre for Peace and Dialogue (NCPD), with support from Norad, Fritt Ord and the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies (NCHS).

For more information about the program, go to the homepage of the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee, and press the attending buttons on their Facebook page.

Virtual workshop held on education in conflict and exile

Over four sessions in October, 20 academics and practitioners from around the world met virtually to discuss the question of how education can enable refugee individuals and communities to build durable futures when there is great uncertainty about where these futures will be? Recognizing the protracted nature of refugee situations, the latest UNHCR education strategy prioritizes the integration of refugees into the national education systems of host countries. While this strategy may increase refugee children and youth’s access to ‘inclusive and equitable quality education’ (SDG4), it fails to recognize the limbo in which refugees find themselves in low- and middle-income host countries: they are non-citizens who cannot access the durable futures that education promises them. The workshops were organized as part of the research project Refugee Education: Building Durable Futures (REBuilD) led by PRIO Research Professor Cindy Horst.

Education and Aspirations

  1. Teleological Violence: Disjunctures between refugee aspirations and structural constraints on progress among Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia – Amanda Poole, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Jennifer Riggan, Arcadia University (Discussant: Jo Kelcey)
  2. Refugee education for Syrians in Jordan. Disrupting, transforming or determining aspirations? – Hiba Salem, University of Cambridge (Discussant: Vidur Chopra)
  3. Hope and optimism despite small odds: understanding the aspirations for resettlement-based overseas scholarships of young people in Dadaab camps – Hassan Aden, Peace Research Institute Oslo (Discussant: Sally Bonet)

Education and Citizenship

  1. Educating beyond the nation state? insights from the Palestinian case – Jo Kelcey, Lebanese American University (Discussant: Hiba Salem)
  2. National and transnational citizenship in South Sudan and beyond – Merethe Skåras, MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society (Discussant: Sarah Dryden-Peterson)
  3. What refugee young people want their teachers to know about how their current education can help prepare them for their futures – Vidur Chopra, Sarah Dryden-Petersen, Carmen Geha, Joumana Talhouk (Discussant: Maha Shuayb)

Justice in education

  1. Decolonial pedagogies and young refugees’ higher education trajectories in conflict and exile, Giorgia Dona, Afaf Jabiri, Aura Lounasmaa, Jessica Oddy, Corinne Squire, University of East London (Discussant: Amanda Poole)
  2. Quality schooling for displaced children: a global perspective informed by children from Syria (film), Eleanore Hargreaves, UCL London (Discussant: Merethe Skåras)
  3. Language for an unknowable future: language of instruction and refugee children’s experiences of exile – Celia Reddick, Harvard University (Discussant: Carmen Geha)

Education for unknown futures

  1. What is the Point of School Anyway?”: Refugee Youth, Resettlement Tunnel Vision, and Educational Violence. Sally Wesley Bonet, Colgate University, New York (Discussant: Hassan Aden)
  2. The political economy of refugee education in low- and middle-income countries –   Shelby Carvalho & Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Harvard University (Discussant: Cindy Horst)
  3. Determinants of Refugee Children Educational Performance: A comparative study of refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Australia – Maha Shuayb, Mohammad Hammoud, Samira Chatila, (Discussant: Eleanore Hargreaves)

A humanitarian Nobel? A blog series on the WFP Prize in context

The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP) for “its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, and food insecurity and food aid are much-discussed topics in humanitarian studies. How does food aid affect humanitarian situations where it is provided by international actors like WFP? How to avoid that food aid is instrumentalized in conflict settings? Further, WFP has in recent years been both praised and criticized for its approach to innovation, new technologies and digitization. While shifts from ‘food’ to ‘cash’ are recognized as important innovations, the use of digital technologies come with significant challenges in humanitarian and conflict settings.

In the WFP Nobel blog series, we examine the implications of the award and critically engage in debates on food (in)security, food aid, innovation and technology and the WFP as a humanitarian actor.

You may read the first blog post in the series titled A Nobel for the WFP: A non-political Peace Prize for humanitarian multilateralism? by clicking the embedded link. More posts will follow in the time to come and be made available at the NCHS blog.

Are you interested in contributing to the series? Reach out to NCHS Director Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert at margab@prio.org or to NCHS Coordinator Andrea Silkoset at andsil@prio.org.

Watch recording of seminar on humanitarian negotiations with armed groups

If you missed the online seminar The Frontlines of Diplomacy: Humanitarian Negotiations with Armed Groups, organized by NCHS, CMI and Bergen Global on 1 October, you may now access a video recording of the event.

Humanitarians operate on the frontlines of today’s armed conflicts, where they regularly negotiate to provide assistance and to protect vulnerable civilians. This can be understood as humanitarians actively engaging in humanitarian diplomacy. Compared to traditional forms of diplomacy by state-diplomats, particularly the frontline humanitarians typically negotiate from a position of weakness. What kind of challenges humanitarians face at the frontlines of diplomacy with armed groups? Then, what strategies and tactics are available for humanitarians to overcome the power asymmetric?

The seminar featured a presentation by Ashley Jonathan Clements, and comments by Marte Nilsen and Salla Turunen. A full video recording is available below.

Vacancy at Norwegian Centre for Human Rights: Full time, 2-year project assistant position for project portfolio on refugees and migration

Full-time, 2-year position available as Research Assistant at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. Deadline to apply is 2 October.

The research assistant will assist in the implementation of the project portfolio of Professor Maja Janmyr. Her on-going projects investigate the implementation of the international refugee regime in the Middle East (particularly Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia), as well as in Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The projects are financed by the European Research Council (ERC) and the Research Council of Norway (RCN). Research methods include empirical fieldwork and the analysis of legal and other written sources. Currently, three projects are being researched within this portfolio:

The successful candidate will be based at the NCHR as part of a team of researchers and work closely with the project leader, Professor Maja Janmyr. The research assistant is expected to contribute actively in the different stages of the research process and carry out administrative tasks as listed below:

  • Collect written sources and create and manage databases.
  • Assist in financial management and reporting on the above-mentioned projects.
  • Assist in the day-to-day following-up of the project network
  • Assist in the production of various printed and online publications including academic articles and blog posts. This also entails responsibility for maintaining various social media accounts and webpages associated with the projects.
  • Assist in the organization of meetings, seminars and conferences.
  • Complete miscellaneous tasks as agreed with the project leader.

The list of responsibilities is indicative, and the work description will be adjusted according to the skills and qualifications of the person employed.

We are seeking a person who is flexible, and who enjoys taking on new challenges. As a research assistant, you will be expected to handle a range of different tasks throughout your workday, and to execute them systematically and with attention to quality and detail. The successful candidate must be able to work both independently and as part of a team.
 

Requirements for the position:

  • A Master’s degree in international human rights, law, sociology, political science (or other relevant social science fields). The applicant must have passed the final exam(s) and delivered the master’s dissertation for evaluation.
  • Excellent ICT skills (especially Microsoft Word and Excel, and web/social media platforms).
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills, with an ability to show initiative and work independently.
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • Work and residence permit in Norway.

Desirable skills for the position include:

  • Proficiency in Norwegian.
  • Relevant experience from research in the field of migration and refugee studies.
  • Experience of budget management and research administration.

We offer:

  • Salary scale NOK 456.400 based on full time position (Job Code 1020 Research Assistant with a master’s degree).
  • Flexible working hours, but with a regular work schedule.
  • Working space at the NCHR in attractive premises in central Oslo.
  • Group life insurance and membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

Application

The application must be submitted electronically to the applications@nchr.uio.no. Please indicate in the “subject”-field: “RESEARCH ASSISTANT”. Please attach only documents in doc, pdf, odf or rtf format.

Applications should be written in English and include:

  • Application letter (not more than 2 pages) describing your interest in the field of migration and refugee studies and your specific reasons for applying for this particular position.
  • CV listing relevant education including list of grades, experience, qualifications.
  • An example of written work (such as a master’s dissertation or other publication).
  • Names and contact details of two referees.

Application deadline: 2 October 2020. The most qualified applicants will be invited to an interview. We aim at concluding the recruiting process in October.

Start/end date: The Research Assistant is a 100 % full time, temporary position for the period of two years. The starting date is as soon as possible but no later than 1 January 2021. A six-month trial period is applicable.

Questions

Questions regarding the position may be addressed to: Professor Maja Janmyr (maja.janmyr@nchr.uio.no) or Head of administration Teis Daniel Kjelling (t.d.kjelling@nchr.uio.no or phone 22842012).

Watch recorded seminar on the relationship between peace operations and humanitarian assistance

If you missed the online seminar The relationship between peace operations and humanitarian assistance: enabling or harmful?, organized by NCHS and the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) on 9 September, you may now access a video recording of the event.

Peace operations are one of the most important international mechanisms for contemporary conflict management and are often undertaken in places which faces the worst humanitarian crises in the world. It is thus common that their mandates include providing protection and assistance to humanitarian actors and assistance efforts. How effective is the support provided by peace operations to humanitarian assistance? Has UN operations unwittingly caused harm in some situations? Have humanitarian actors put peacekeepers in harm’s way or otherwise complicated their ability to achieve their mandates? How does humanitarian and peacekeeping actors coexist, coordinate and cooperate in different country settings?

The seminar featured case studies presented by Carlo Koos (CMI), Lise Morjé Howard (Georgetown & EPON) and Natasja Rupesinghe (NUPI & EPON), comments by Kari Osland (NUPI) and Kristoffer Lidén (PRIO) and was moderated by Cedric de Coning (ACCORD & NUPI). A full video recording is available below.