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Better Outcomes: Exploring New Responses to Fragility, Conflict and Violence

Thursday, March 5, 2020

6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

85 Waterman Street, Room 130

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Loss of life. Cities in ruin. Schools, hospitals abandoned. Scarce food or jobs. Loss of safety, dignity, hope. The impact of today’s violent conflicts are wide reaching, not only destroying lives and physical infrastructure but also social and economic systems.

In an era of protracted warfare, humanitarian action must go beyond the short-term emergency response. Humanitarians are being asked to rebuild and sustain water and health systems, to provide means for people to regain economic autonomy, and to help restore communities’ resilience. The narrowly defined concepts of ‘humanitarian’ and ‘development’ are being dynamically reshaped, requiring new forms of partnerships built on expertise, skills, and influence to respond to the long-term effects of conflict, violence and fragility.

Please join President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer and Watson Institute Senior Fellow and former World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim in a lively discussion with Dr. Adam Levine, director of Watson's Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies, on how the challenges of protracted conflict demand focus and action from the humanitarian and development communities. Introduction by Layla Beckhardt '20, International Relations concentrator.

Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies
Watson Distinguished Speaker Series

Jim Yong Kim M.D., Ph.D., is Vice Chairman and Partner at Global Infrastructure Partners, a fund that invests in infrastructure projects across several sectors around the world.

From July 2012 to February 2019, Kim served as the 12th President of the World Bank Group. Soon after he assumed that position, the organization established two goals to guide its work: to end extreme poverty by 2030; and to boost shared prosperity, focusing on the bottom 40 percent of the population in developing countries.

During Kim’s tenure, the World Bank Group supported the development priorities of countries at levels never seen outside of a financial crisis. Along with partners, the World Bank achieved two successive, record replenishments of the institution’s fund for the poorest countries. The World Bank Group also launched several innovative financial instruments, including facilities to address infrastructure needs, prevent pandemics, and help the millions of people forcibly displaced from their homes by climate shocks, conflict, and violence.

A physician and anthropologist, Kim’s career has revolved around health, education, and improving the lives of the poor. Before joining the World Bank Group, he served as the President of Dartmouth College and held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. From 2003 to 2005, Kim served as Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department. He led WHO’s “3 by 5” initiative, the first-ever global goal for AIDS treatment, which greatly expanded access to antiretroviral medication in developing countries. In 1987, Kim co-founded Partners In Health, a non-profit medical organization that now works in poor communities on four continents.


Peter Maurer is the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (appointed in 2012). Under his leadership, the ICRC carries out humanitarian work in over 80 countries. As President, Mr. Maurer has a unique exposure to today's main armed conflicts and the challenges of assisting and protecting people in need. He travels regularly to the major conflict theatres of the world including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan and Myanmar. As the ICRC’s chief diplomat, and through the ICRC’s principled, neutral approach, Mr Maurer regularly meets with heads of states and other high-level officials as well as parties to conflict, to find solutions to pressing humanitarian concerns.

Mr Maurer has served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Switzerland as well as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York. As a diplomat he worked on issues relating to human security, including mine action, small arms and light weapons as well as on the responsibility of states in the implementation of international humanitarian law.