University of Oxford

Friedman Seminar with Daniel Maxwell

This Friedman Seminar features Daniel Maxwell, presenting a talk titled “Toward the World Humanitarian Summit.” This seminar was originally held on 4/6/2016.

The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) will be held in Istanbul May 22 – 24, 2016. Hailed as a “once in a generation” opportunity, the WHS must come to grips with the massive challenges facing humanitarian action globally, and chart a new course of action in the face of unprecedented demands on a system that is increasingly outdated, under-funded and overwhelmed by events. At the same time, it has become increasingly clear that there is not a single humanitarian “system,” but actually multiple systems, often operating side by side. Demands from the global south call for a more open and inclusive humanitarian system, with more emphasis on localizing response. Donors call for greater accountability and value for money. Critics call for better learning and use of evidence. And of course, everyone calls for more money and more dependable funding streams.

A global consultative process has helped to set the agenda of WHS, but many donors, governments, agencies, and think tanks have also weighed in separately with their own recommendations. The Feinstein International Center of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy has been jointly leading a study titled “Planning from the Future” which has conducted a thorough review of the burgeoning academic and grey literature on humanitarian action, and case studies in multiple humanitarian emergencies to assess the current challenges and capacities of many different humanitarian actors, in an attempt to background analysis and evidence for many of the questions facing the WHS.

Professor Maxwell will briefly address the question of what the WHS is, what’s on the agenda, what’s not, and what is behind some of the recommendations on the table? He will also present the findings of the “Planning from the Future” and the short-term and longer-term recommendations growing out of that study, which go well beyond the agenda of the WHS, and speak to the evidence shaping the agenda and outcomes of the WHS. Finally, he will address the relevance of the WHS to a broader nutrition agenda.

Daniel Maxwell is a Professor of Humanitarian Studies at Tufts University, and research director at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts. He leads the research program in food security and livelihoods in complex emergencies and teaches courses in food security and humanitarian action. Since 2012, he has directed the Masters of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) program. Prior to coming to Tufts, he was the Deputy Regional Director for CARE International in East Africa, and before that worked at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Land Tenure Center at the University of Wisconsin, and Mennonite Central Committee. His research focuses on famine and food security crises, livelihoods systems under stress, humanitarian policy and the humanitarian landscape, and the measurement of food security. Most of his recent work has been in East Africa and the Greater Horn of Africa.

His most recent book, Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collectives Failures, co-authored with Nisar Majid, has just been published (Oxford University Press, 2016). He also is the co-author, with Chris Barrett of Cornell University, of Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting Its Role (2005), which had far-ranging impacts on food aid practice and policy; and co-author with Peter Walker of , Shaping the Humanitarian World (2009). He holds a Masters Degree from Cornell University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

About the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy:
The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is the only independent school of nutrition in the United States. The school’s eight degree programs – which focus on questions relating to nutrition and chronic diseases, molecular nutrition, agriculture and sustainability, food security, humanitarian assistance, public health nutrition, and food policy and economics – are renowned for the application of scientific research to national and international policy.

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