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

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

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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 fields like human rights and international development really involves.

Dr Imogen Parsons heads the Africa Humanitarian Unit in DFID , where she oversees DFID ’s programmes in the Sahel and Central African Republic as well as working with DFID offices across the continent to ensure early warning and response to the crises as they emerge. She previously worked in the Stabilisation Unit’s Lessons and Civilian Capacity teams, and spent two years leading emergency responses for Save the Children. She holds a PhD in international relations from LSE , and a Masters in Development Studies. Countries she has worked in and on include Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, DRC , Libya, Afghanistan and Angola.

About the Lent 2014 series:

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 different routes to entry. Furthermore, 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. There will be four seminars throughout Lent 2014, 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 portion of the evening to provide the opportunity for students to engage with the topics discussed. The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

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

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