The Community World Service Asia (CWSA)and the Humanitarian Action Initiative (HAI) of the Elliott School of International affairs, George Washington University organised a half-day conference at the start of 2022 Regional Humanitarian Partnership week, hosted by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the International Council for Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and CWSA. Marcus Werne (Regional director of UNOCHA), Takeshi Komino (Secretary General, ADRRN) and Keya Choudhary (Regional Representative, ICVA) opened the conference by outlining the state of humanitarian sector in the region and the challenges ahead, and provided a summary of the schedule of events.
CWSA and HAI intended to flip the script of many gatherings: rather than bemoan the obstacles, which are well known at this point, they wanted to hear about how they manage to act boldly and creatively to stand and deliver despite the innumerable barriers. The conference had three parts: an overview of the barriers; the strategies developed to overcome these barriers; and how these strategies can help chart a more productive path in the future.
Palwashay Arbab, CWSA’s head of communications, opened the proceedings, followed by Dr. Maryam Zarnegar Deloffre, Associate Professor of International Affairs and Director of HAI. Maryam summarised the intent of the conference in the following way: “Success is not downplaying the challenges, but despite the challenges being able to provide assistance. We need to reform the system, but we also need to focus on what’s working.”