University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events > CGHR Expert Practitioner Series: Working in Human Rights, Peacebuilding, Humanitarian Aid and Development

CGHR Expert Practitioner Series: Working in Human Rights, Peacebuilding, Humanitarian Aid and Development

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Yvonne Frankfurth.

Talk will be followed by drinks reception in the Alison Richard Building. Room to be confirmed (see screen at Reception).

To help us with organisation, please register your interest by emailing: yiif2@cam.ac.uk

The Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR) has launched a practitioner seminar series, partnering with expert speakers from key organisations to delve into the gritty realities of what working in field like human rights and international development really involves.

Sorcha
 O’Callaghan
 is 
the 
Head 
of 
Humanitarian 
Policy 
at 
the 
British 
Red 
Cross.
 She 
works 
on 
a 
range
 of
 different
 issues
 including
 humanitarian
 principles,
 civil
 military
 relations,
 resilience
 and
 accountability.
 Sorcha
 previously
 worked
 as
 Research
 Fellow
 at
 the
 Overseas
 Development
 Institute.
 She
 led
 the 
Humanitarian
 Policy
 Group’s work
 on 
protection 
of 
civilians
 and
 published 
on 
protection,
 livelihoods
 and
 humanitarian
 principles.
 She
 previously
 worked
 on
 and
 in
 Sudan,
 where
 she
 coordinated
 the
 Sudan
 Advocacy
 Coalition,
 a
 consortium
 involving
 Care,
 Christian
 Aid,
 International
 Rescue
 Committee,
 Oxfam
 GB,
 Save
 the
 Children
 UK,
 Tearfund.
 With
 a
 background
 in
 law,
 Sorcha
 previously
 worked
 in 
the
 refugee 
and 
asylum 
sector 
in 
Ireland.


The sphere of work known variously as the ‘Third Sector’, ‘Development and Humanitarian Aid’ or simply – doing good in tough places – is notoriously impenetrable, and frustratingly difficult to navigate for the uninitiated. For somebody hoping to pursue a career within this field, the range of agencies and institutions, initiatives and centres is at the very least bewildering. Most areas intersect, and organisations work with an array of crosscutting issues and contexts. Yet what at first glance can appear to be a morass of very similar organisations doing generally related things, is in fact often sharply delineated, with different sectors requiring surprisingly different competencies and operating under quite specific mandates. Working as an international human rights advocate would demand a different skill set and working environment from a project officer of a first phase emergency response – and both would have relatively different routes to entry. And a Master’s degree isn’t always the best option. Cambridge University educates and trains many of the best young minds in the country and provides a critical insight into the issues surrounding international politics, security, development and humanitarianism. But with little clarity around what is involved in working in this sector, attempting to translate this theoretical knowledge into a meaningful start to a career can be a minefield. With this in mind, the CGHR series will allow students to listen and speak to a selection of high-level experts working in these fields, and address key issues and questions. What impact can you have on people’s lives working with Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch? What are the challenges facing emergency relief workers at the British Red Cross? How does the UK Government’s Department for International Development influence peace-building and security during civil conflicts overseas? What role does policy research at the Overseas Development Institute play in provoking change? There will be four one-and-a-half hour seminars throughout Lent 2012, designed to equip students with an in-depth and critical look at what each area involves; the type of work carried out, contingent challenges and essential competencies. The first hour will introduce the speaker, chaired by a discussant from CGHR , and will open up to the audience in the second hour to provide the opportunity for students to engage with the topics discussed.

This talk is part of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events series.

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