Watson Institute for Internation and Public Affairs
Brown International Advanced Research Institutes


Humanitarian Response and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Increasing Effectiveness and Accountability in the Age of Complex Emergencies

“Natural” disasters and political unrest pose chronic threats to human security. Separately or in tandem, they turn citizens into refugees and displaced people, stretch government capacity, and, increasingly, spark chronic disorder, instability or military conflict. What are the implications of complex emergencies, where natural and man-made factors combine, for the future of humanitarian action? This institute will convene an interdisciplinary and international group of academics and practitioners to develop a better understanding of the underlying political, social, and environmental factors that affect human security before, during, and after humanitarian emergencies. Topics will include the effectiveness and sustainability of existing disaster preparedness systems in different regions; best practices in humanitarian assistance delivery, training and monitoring; and the politics of compassion in disaster and conflict zones. Discussions will focus in particular on the ethical issues that arise at the intersection of human security and humanitarian assistance; rights-based approaches to humanitarian relief; and the potential for new technologies to transform humanitarian response.



Adam Levine is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of the Brown University Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship. His research focuses on improving the delivery of emergency care in resource-limited settings and during humanitarian emergencies. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review, published annually in Academic Emergency Medicine.


Robert Blair is Joukowsky Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Brown UniversityRobert Blair’s research focuses on peacekeeping and statebuilding after civil war, with an emphasis on rule of law and security institutions. He has conducted fieldwork on these and related topics in Colombia, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, and has worked in various capacities for the UN Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, the Political Instability Task Force, Freedom House and the Small Arms Survey. He holds an MA and PhD in Political Science from Yale University and a BA in Education Studies and Comparative Literature from Brown University. His research has been published in the American Political Science Review and other venues.