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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).

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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.

Rebecca Dale is Senior Conflict Advisor at the UK Department for International Development for the Middle East and North Africa. She has been a conflict advisor at DFID since 2007 and prior to this was policy advisor at the humanitarian NGO , International Rescue Committee, in Sudan. She has worked for the United Nations as Special Assistant to the Resident Coordinator in Rwanda and with Oxfam, seconded to the Rwandan Ministry of Rehabilitation. Rebecca studied PPE in Oxford and holds a Masters degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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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