US Foreign Policy

Humanitarian Crises in the Middle East and Africa: Examining Causes, Consequences and Policy Choices

Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Stimson Center

To commemorate the new partnership between the Stimson Center and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, we are pleased to convene a panel comprised of scholars and scholar/practitioners from both institutions. This discussion examined the ongoing humanitarian crises in the Middle East and Africa and explored what academic work reveals about underlying causes, how field work further illuminates our understanding of how affected populations interact with international efforts, and whether any of the policy choices facing decision makers in Washington – and at the U.N.- can produce more effective outcomes.  

WHAT: A discussion on policy and academic insight on humanitarian crises in the Middle East and Africa.

Ragui Assaad
, Professor, Humphrey School
Assaad researches labor policy and labor market analysis in developing countries with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa.  He was a contributor to After the Arab Spring, Economic Transitions in the Arab World (Oxford 2012)and editor of The Egyptian Labor Market in an Era of Revolution (Oxford 2015).  Assaad is a Research Fellow of the Economic Research Forum in Cairo, Egypt and serves as its thematic director for Labor and Human Resource Development. He is also Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany and a non-resident senior fellow with the Global Economy and Development program of the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. He served as Regional Director for West Asia and North Africa for the Population Council, based in Cairo, Egypt, from 2005 to 2008. Assaad has served as a consultant to the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, the Ford Foundation, UNICEF and UNDP.
Aditi Gorur, Director, Protecting Civilians in Conflict, Stimson Center
Aditi Gorur is a Fellow of the Future of Peace Operations program at Stimson. Her primary research focus is on preventing and responding to violence against civilians, particularly in the context of peacekeeping operations. Before joining Stimson, Gorur worked with the Indian Institute for Human Settlements in India, the Asia Foundation and the Center for Liberty in the Middle East in Washington, DC, and the Melbourne University Law School in Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in development studies and a law degree with honors from the University of Melbourne.

Eric Schwartz, Professor and Dean, Humphrey School
Schwartz is dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and has a 30-year career in senior public service positions in government, at the United Nations, in the philanthropic and non-governmental communities, and in academia. In 2013, Schwartz was appointed by President Obama to serve on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and currently serves as a Commission vice chair. Prior to his arrival in Minnesota, Schwartz served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, having been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2009. Working with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he served as the Department of State’s principal humanitarian official, managing a $1.85 billion budget, as well as State Department policy and programs for U.S. refugee admissions and U.S. international assistance worldwide.  He also served as UN Deputy Envoy for Tsunami Recovery between 2005 and 2007, and, during the Clinton Administration, served at the National Security Council.
Ellen Laipson (Moderator), Distinguished Fellow and President Emeritus, Stimson Center
Laipson served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Stimson from 2002 to October 2015. She joined Stimson after 25 years of government service. Her last post was Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council (1997-2002). She also served on the State Department’s policy planning staff, the National Security Council staff, and the Congressional Research Service. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the Advisory Councils of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.  She served on the board of the Asia Foundation (2003-2015).  She was a member of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board from 2009-2013, and on the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board 2011-2014. Laipson has an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and an AB from Cornell University.

Middle East
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