In recent decades, several phenomena have become increasingly more frequent at national, regional and global scales. We have witnessed numerous major-scale natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes or floods, in both developed and developing countries. Japan, for example, experienced the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Civil wars, terrorism and organized crime also have increased. Moreover, HIV/AIDS and malaria, poverty and environmental destruction also pose serious global-scale threats.
Conflicts, in combination with natural disasters, cause complex damage and bring about emergency situations, such as disorder or anarchy. Thus, international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) have started to term such situations “complex humanitarian emergencies”. Various actors — the UN, NGOs and others —have continued to bring relief to those stricken by large-scale natural disasters or complex humanitarian crisis, such in the case of Sumatra, Haiti, China, Japan or Somalia.
The Global Seminar Japan – 28th Shonan Session, to be held on 3–6 September 2012, will take a closer look at how global humanitarian assistance helps people after natural and man-made disasters, saves lives and provides continuing support for rebuilding and regeneration.
The seminar will focus on global humanitarian assistance in the twenty-first century from the perspective of its norms, actors, recipients, current status of humanitarian crisis and assistance. Participants will address the policy debate about how to (and who should) tackle these issues, and the proper role of the UN, as well as the potential for unsafe situations, the needs of both the people who receive support and those who assist them, and the establishment of norms for dealing with these issues. (According to a UN General Assembly resolution, the norms are humanity, neutrality and impartiality; the concepts of “Human Security” or the “Responsibility to Protect” are also thought essential.)
Participants will be challenged to think academically about the diverse security issues between nations and people, and about the challenges for humanitarian assistance and the meaning of security in our modern, globalized society where security is no longer ensured by the framework of sovereign nations enacted under Westphalian sovereignty.
The seminar is open to Japanese and foreign students at Japanese universities and young professionals residing in Japan. For details on the seminar and the application procedure, please visit the UNU-ISP seminar website.
The application deadline is 31 May 2012.