Our colleague Michelle Nicholasen at Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, interviewed Harvard FXB Director Jennifer Leaning about her experience as co-chair of The Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria and the “Burden of War” on the Syrian people:
Q: At the highest level, what is the nature of the Lancet team’s work?
A: We are looking at what I have coined the “burden of war” on civilian populations. We are unpacking the notion of “burden” to put all the factors and variables together—loss of life, obliteration of homes and infrastructure, destruction of habitat, assaults on culture and memory, and stunting of prewar possibilities. We will attempt to show this fractured picture to the public health community and say, if this is not a public health problem, what is? In this process of excavation and exploration, we will aim to stimulate and perhaps require the public health community to take war seriously and study it more, with much more expertise developed around means and methods. We’re working with public health officials, doctors, and scholars who want to assemble all of the facts before they cohere around a recommended policy approach. Obviously, this war is wrong. This war is horrible to human beings and devastating to the established political and social structures of the Middle East.
Check out the full interview on their blog, here.
For more on our work in Syria:
- Watch a video about the weaponization of healthcare in Syria produced by the Harvard School of Public Health
- Read Harvard FXB’s call to enforce international law in Syria
- Read about a recent FXB/SAMS panel: Stories from Aleppo: Medical Workers under Siege.
- Read the FXB statement on the founding of the Syria Commission.