On Friday 22 June, IOM and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) launched the Design for Humanity Initiative at the first Design for Humanity Summit at Fordham University in New York. The event explored how the intersection between design and humanitarian action can compel a more dignified, inclusive and sustainable humanitarian response to crises. More than 40 presenters from the design, humanitarian and academic communities, as well as the private sector, sat on panel discussions and delivered breakout sessions to an audience of more than 300 people.
Mr. Ashraf El Nour, Director of IOM Office in New York, delivered opening remarks in the event. Other speakers from IOM were Mr. Joseph Ashmore, Shelter and Settlement Expert, DOE and Ms. Jennifer Pro, Senior Programme Coordinator.
In the panels, discussion focused on how design compels an inclusive humanitarian response, contributes to the smooth transition of rapid-onset emergency response to more dignified spaces of resilience over time, and encourages private-sector innovation in humanitarian contexts. The breakout sessions addressed questions relating to refugees, asylum seekers, education in emergencies, the hierarchy of needs in humanitarian settings, mitigating the risks of gender based violence, health and housing. Participants included a diverse range of actors from the humanitarian field and design world: Airbnb, the Airbel Center at the International Rescue Committee, ARCHIVE Global, ART WORKS Projects for Human Rights, Asylee Designs, Boston Society of Landscape Architects, de.MO Design, Ennead Lab, Google, the Global Alliance for Urban Crises, Habitat for Humanity International, Ideation Worldwide, IDEO.org, Irish Aid, MASS Design Group, the Museum of Modern Art, Prudential, IOM and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The next step will be a Design for Humanity Yearbook and a campaign that will chronicle the diverse perspectives presented at the Summit. The second Design for Humanity Summit will take place in 2019 and expand to new locations worldwide. In addition, the IIHA and IOM plan to engage in deeper research to launch projects involving relevant stakeholders in New York and in the field, in pursuit of innovative humanitarian design projects around the world.
The report from the event can be accessed here
More information on the initiative and the summit can be found here.