On May 23-24, Dr. Oreste Foppiani, associate professor of International History and Politics and IR department head, and Dr. Michel Veuthey, associate professor of International Law, vice-president of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, and Deputy Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the UN Office in Geneva, participated in and spoke at the UN World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), in Istanbul, Turkey.
Foppiani and Veuthey had the opportunity to participate in some high-level meetings such as that on “Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity” and some special sessions such the one on “Migrants and Humanitarian Action” and that on “Humanitarian Principles,” where they could express their views on some specific themes and issues, which represent the main concerns of heads of state and government all over the world. Additionally, they could participate in noteworthy side events such as that concerted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ), or that by the American Red Cross, the IFRC and the ICRC, or that by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Webster University Geneva’s IR Department Head was invited to participate in the first-ever WHS organized by the United Nations by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien together with over eighty academics from all over the world. This invitation was consequent to the twenty-first edition of the International Humanitarian Conference on the theme “Toward the WHS” and the IR Department’s twenty-year-long engagement in humanitarian affairs such as migration and refugee studies.
The academics invited to the summit were coordinated by Dr. Robert Smith, Chief of the WHS Secretariat in Geneva, and met three times to discuss the commitments of professors and researchers in the humanitarian field. These meetings brought to the writing of a statement of six major commitments. The statement was suggested by Prof. Theodora Hilhorst, President of the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA), elaborated by a half-dozen scholars including Dr. Foppiani, edited by an additional score of academics, and finally signed by over fifty professors and researchers. This statement of commitments is now public and has been already translated in many languages and posted on numerous university and research institute websites.
Dr. Veuthey produced a highly praised report on the WHS, which can be read here.