Friday, 13 June 2014

Emergencies and Affected Peoples Conference (Natural Disasters and Opportunities for Action Part 5)

Today is the last day of my posts on this blog and I have decided to use it for a shameless plug. If it counts at all, it is absolutely related to the theme of my posts this week!

On 4 July, my colleagues and I will be hosting a conference entitled Emergencies and Affected Peoples: Philosophy, Policy and Practice. Through focused discussion between academics and practitioners, this conference aims to raise awareness of those issues that affect people during natural disasters, conflicts, humanitarian emergencies, etc. Our panellists will offer philosophical and practical insight into humanitarian issues in the hope that, together, we can improve both theory and policy. Really, so that we help those affected.

We will have a keynote speaker, Professor David Alexander (UCL). Originally a geographer and geomorphologist, David has devoted decades to the study and dissemination of knowledge on the topic of natural hazards. He is an expert who makes risk and response manageable as a topic of study. For me, he is someone who confirms that, while there are many disasters that we can’t fix, there is a lot we can do.

After our keynote speech we will have four panels – each with a practitioner and an academic. The panel topics were developed as an opportunity to bridge the gap between disciplines and approaches and help us get to some common ground. The panel topics are:

  • The Agency of Affected People
  • Rebuilding and Reconstruction
  • Long Term Implications of Refugee Situations
  • A Way Forward for Communities

The idea for this conference is quite obvious when you think that my conference organizers and I work in Global Ethics. We have varied interests (surrogacy, education, natural disasters, et al) but we are all working on applied ethics and are trying to influence matters that affect people. There is also an obvious (and direct) link between my research on natural disasters and the emergencies component of the conference.

Like other academics, we want to influence the literature in our particular fields. This conference will give us an opportunity to take this influence one step further and hopefully impact how people think about those affected by natural disaster, conflict and war. Through this, we as individuals are asserting the importance of human life. For me, this conference represents my rejection of helplessness and my opportunity to ‘lighten a little the torments’ of those affected by natural disaster.

To register for the conference, please email with your name and affiliation. The conference is free to attend but registration is required as space is limited.

You now have no excuse for feeling helpless.

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