skip to primary navigationskip to content

CGHR Practitioner Series: Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International - Director of the Asia­‐Pacific Programme

Doing good in tough places: working in human rights, peace building, humanitarian aid and development

Lent 2012: 5‐6.30 pm followed by drinks reception. Alison Richard Building (check Reception for Room), Sidgwick Site

The sphere of work known variously as the 'Third Sector', 'Development and Humanitarian Aid' or simply -­‐ doing good in tough places -­‐ is notoriously impenetrable, and frustratingly difficult to navigate for the uninitiated. For somebody hoping to pursue a career within this field, the range of agencies and institutions, initiatives and centres is at the very least bewildering. Most areas intersect, and organisations work with an array of crosscutting issues and contexts. Yet what at first glance can appear to be a morass of very similar organisations doing generally related things, is in fact often sharply delineated, with different sectors requiring surprisingly different competencies and operating under quite specific mandates. Working as an international human rights advocate would demand a different skill set and working environment from a project officer of a first phase emergency response -­‐ and both would have relatively different routes to entry. And a Master's degree isn't always the best option.

Cambridge University educates and trains many of the best young minds in the country and provides a critical insight into the issues surrounding international politics, security, development and humanitarianism. But with little clarity around what is involved in working in this sector, attempting to translate this theoretical knowledge into a meaningful start to a career can be a minefield. With this in mind, the CGHR series will allow students to listen and speak to a selection of high‐level experts working in these fields, and address key issues and questions. What impact can you have on people's lives working with Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch? What are the challenges facing emergency relief workers at the British Red Cross? How does the UK Government's Department for International Development influence peace-­‐building and security during civil conflicts overseas? What role does policy research at the Overseas Development Institute play in provoking change?

Download the flyer in Adobe PDF format

Talks:

1 February: Tom Porteous, Human Rights Watch ­‐ Deputy Program Director

Tom Porteous is the deputy program director at Human Rights Watch and is based in Washington DC. He joined Human Rights Watch in 2006 as the London director responsible for communications and advocacy in the United Kingdom. Porteous has a background in journalism, diplomacy, and UN peacekeeping. In the 1980s and early 1990s he was a freelance correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, the BBC, and other media, first in Cairo and later in Berlin, Algeria, and Morocco. He worked in UN peacekeeping operations in Somalia and Liberia. He also served as conflict management adviser for Africa in the UK's Foreign Office from 2001 to 2003. Porteous studied classics at Oxford University.

15 February: Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International, Director of the Asia­‐Pacific Programme

Sam Zarifi leads on providing strategic and political advice for Amnesty International’s work in the Asia-­‐Pacific region. Managing a programme of more than 30 people, he is responsible for Amnesty International’s research, campaigning and crisis response in the region. Before joining Amnesty International, Sam Zarifi held senior posts at Human Rights Watch for eight years, where he served as the Asia Deputy Director and later as the Washington Advocate, covering the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He has conducted emergency research missions to Afghanistan, Iraq and Nepal, and has worked on human rights issues across Asia, including China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

29 February: Sorcha O'Callaghan, British Red Cross, Head of Humanitarian Policy

Sorcha O’Callaghan is the Head of Humanitarian Policy at the British Red Cross. She works on a range of different issues including humanitarian principles, civil military relations, resilience and accountability. Sorcha previously worked as Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute. She led the Humanitarian Policy Group’s work on protection of civilians and published on protection, livelihoods and humanitarian principles. She previously worked on and in Sudan, where she coordinated the Sudan Advocacy Coalition, a consortium involving Care, Christian Aid, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK, Tearfund. With a background in law, Sorcha previously worked in the refugee and asylum sector in Ireland.

14 March: Rebecca Dale, UK Department for International Development, Senior Conflict Advisor

Rebecca Dale is Senior Conflict Advisor at the UK Department for International Development for the Middle East and North Africa. She has been a conflict advisor at DFID since 2007 and prior to this was policy advisor at the humanitarian NGO, International Rescue Committee, in Sudan. She has worked for the United Nations as Special Assistant to the Resident Coordinator in Rwanda and with Oxfam, seconded to the Rwandan Ministry of Rehabilitation. Rebecca studied PPE in Oxford and holds a Masters degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.