US Capitol

Upcoming conference in Washington DC, Capitol Complex Date TBA

"Aid In Peril; Humanitarian Aid and Regional Instability"

Surely no one in the field of humanitarian aid can have escaped the knowledge of the unprecedented escalation of the targeting of aid workers during this last decade. More and more aid workers are being attacked by extremist groups putting both aid workers and US foreign policy objectives in peril.

Working with Congressman Sam Farr, the Stephen D Vance Foundation is hosting a conference entitled, "Aid in Peril: Humanitarian Aid and Regional Instability". This one day conference will convene experts from various fields and interested parties to initiate a dialogue with the goal of discovering new strategies and methodologies to increase the safety and security of the international aid worker.

Invitees include NGOs, USAID, the US Department of State, the United Nations, and other relevant parties. The event will be simulcast both by cable television via CSPAN as well as streamed live over the internet.

The aim of this conference is two fold; to draw public awareness to the issue to help facilitate the necessary changes in aid policies, and to add its support for the campaign to have 2010 be declared by the United Nations, "The Year of the Humanitarian".

The problems are complex and the solutions vary, but clearly, NGOs should not be expected to anticipate evolving levels of violence while also constrained by operating costs that, by design, require them to fend for their own security. NGOs should have access to a broader spectrum of support during dramatic shifts in regional stability in order to both protect their workers as well as to achieve their contractual goals.

Additionally, the victims of these attacks are not only American citizens but citizens from around the world; therefore, a unilateral approach to the issue must also coincide with an international appeal. The message must be made clear that this trend can no longer be tolerated for any aid worker, regardless of nationality.

Substantive Discussions Include:

  • Identifying successful strategies for operating aid missions in unstable environments and finding ways in which to leverage them into broader behavioral practices and mission expectations.
  • Regional and religious perceptual shifts of the intent of donor nations and how these changes have impacted those in the field and our aid objectives.
  • Raising expectations of recipient nations to better clarify the aims and goals of accepting foreign aid to their own citizen base.
  • Identifying key features inherent in the competitive bidding process which may contribute to insecurities on the ground, and to propose new processes to mitigate them.
  • Possible utilization of an ombudsman or other disinterested party to better the lines of communication between NGOs and their funding agencies.

Substantive Goals of the Conference:

  • The framing of a "rules of conduct" for funding agencies in consideration of foreign aid objectives and for NGOs to adhere to while implementing aid.
  • Endorsement to the United Nations for 2010 be declared the year of the "Protection of the Humanitarian Aid Worker"

Conference Participation:

This conference, "Aid in Peril: Humanitarian Aid and Regional Instability" will take place in the Cannon Caucus Room in Washington DC. Your attendance is not only encouraged but essential. Date TBA.

Many voices and opinions should be heard for a thorough discussion of this issue, therefore all directly contacted individuals and organizations are asked to present their own case specific experiences for review. Though time constraints make it improbable that all ideas can be presented in person, all submitted materials will be published and made available to attendees.

The Stephen D Vance Foundation ( was established by colleagues, friends and family members of Stephen DeWitt Vance, a 27 year veteran of humanitarian aid work who was shot and killed in Peshawar Pakistan in November of 2008.

To Register:

Please enter your information in the contact page and indicate that you want to register for this event in the comments area.

Follow us on Twitter @AidInPeril Twitter

Help Protect Humanitarian Aid Workers World Wide

home | 2010 | news | protect aid workers | gallery | contact us add this

The Stephen D. Vance Foundation has a non-profit pending status
© Stephen D. Vance Foundation - All rights reserved