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For the past twenty years Somalia has experienced one of the most devastating and intractable humanitarian crises the world has known. Decades of ethnic infighting and failed attempts at installing an effective state have left over 1 million people displaced within the country, and around 3 million food insecure.

The urgent need for humanitarian assistance in the country, coupled with the extreme lack of humanitarian space available under current conditions, calls for a radical rethinking of how humanitarian action can and should take place. Humanitarian agencies are actively struggling to develop new implementation methodologies that can cope with the volatility of the situation, but deeper thinking is needed across the humanitarian community about how the humanitarian deadlock can be broken.

This workshop addressed the question of humanitarian action in Somalia by convening academics, policy makers, and humanitarian practitioners with expertise and interest in Somalia to share their current thinking on the situation and to consider creative solutions to the humanitarian deadlock.

The workshop focused attention upon five key themes:

  1. Humanitarian space: What are the particular challenges that humanitarian organisations face in delivering relief and protection in the Somalia context?
  2. Innovative humanitarian methodologies: How can humanitarian organisations, of any persuasion, develop more innovate methodologies for delivering relief and protection?
  3. The role of Islamic charitable funding and agencies’: How can Islamic charities and relief agencies play a more powerful role in delivering relief and protection in Somalia?
  4. The role of the Somali diaspora: How can the Somali diaspora be more effectively engaged in planning, financing and facilitating humanitarian relief efforts in the country?
  5. The role of the Media: How the mass media frame the humanitarian crisis? The role of information communications in supporting humanitarian action.


Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA