The Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University have announced the launch of the “Ireland at Fordham Humanitarian Lecture Series.”

A significant multiyear partnership between the Government of Ireland and Fordham University, the lecture series will begin this month and run until June 2020 with events in New York, Dublin, and Geneva.

The series will consist of a number of distinguished lectures supported by more technical lectures and workshops that are open to all.

H.E. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations, in purple robe
Geraldine Byrne Nason, permanent representative of Ireland to the United Nations, at Fordham’s 2018 graduation ceremony for the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance

“Ireland and Fordham University have deep enduring connections,” said Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ireland’s permanent representative to the United Nations. “Our historic ties are rooted in our strong commitments to respect for human dignity and spirit. … As we look toward the humanitarian challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, gender equality, and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law, I can think of no better partner than Fordham. We believe that a better understanding of these complex issues is critical, as Ireland aspires to make a meaningful difference as a candidate for election to the U.N. Security Council, for 2021-22.”

Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, said the University is honored to take part in the project.

“Fordham is humbled and gratified by the trust that Ireland has placed in the University in creating this grant,” said Father McShane. “The lecture series brings fresh depth to the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs’ mission to educate men and women who are both committed to, and professionally trained in, helping the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters around the globe.”

Lectures will explore the challenges facing policymakers and humanitarians as they seek to ensure that aid reaches those in need, that humanitarian principles are upheld, and that civilians are protected. Specific topics of discussion will include humanitarian protection through international humanitarian law, humanitarian financing, climate and security, and more.

Brendan Cahill, executive director of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, said the new series “complements the overall work of our institute and the leadership in this sector by the Irish government. These lectures and events, by leading U.N., government, and humanitarian leaders, will further inform and provide new insights in providing assistance to the most vulnerable.”

Speakers will include high-level political leaders who will communicate pivotal messages in response to key questions such as: What challenges and opportunities exist in humanitarian action in the 21st century? How do climate and gender drive food insecurity and humanitarian need? And, how can humanitarian action strengthen the role of local actors in humanitarian responses?

The inaugural lecture of the series will be delivered by H.E. Mary Robinson, chair of international NGO The Elders and the first woman elected president of Ireland (1990-1997). She is a former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and an advocate for climate justice, gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building, and human dignity. This lecture will take place on Monday, April 29 at 6 p.m. in the United Nations Sputnik Lounge. Learn more and register here.



Nicole LaRosa is the senior director of University communications. She can be reached at [email protected] or 212-903-8810.