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Why Should “We” Help “Them”? The Politics of Search and Rescue on the Mediterranean Sea

November 28, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Hernan Del Valle, Doctors Without Borders, Radcliffe Inst. Fellow

Hernan del Valle has led humanitarian aid operations for the past 15 years. His work has taken him across five continents assisting people affected by armed conflict and forced displacement. He was involved in Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) operations in the Mediterranean Sea, which over the past three years rescued tens of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing Libya toward Europe in fragile boats. As MSF’s head of humanitarian affairs and advocacy, del Valle was a privileged witness to the difficult political challenges that emerged for MSF throughout this operation, not only in its relation with European governments but also engaging with a civil society bitterly divided by debates on migration.

His work at Radcliffe reflects on the role of and challenges for MSF in assisting people marginalized by state policy in this context. It explores the fundamental questions that emerge around borders, exclusion, identity, nationalism, citizenship, and fundamental rights in contemporary Europe.

Del Valle is a lawyer who specialized in international law and human rights at the University of Buenos Aires, in Argentina. He holds a master’s degree in politics of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has conducted work in forced migration at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in South Africa. He has been a guest speaker on the politics of aid and forced migration at Boston University, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Oxford, the University of Tokyo, and the University of Vienna.

WIPs are an opportunity for researchers to share their work while it is still in formulation. A WIP generally starts with a formal presentation, followed by a lively question-and-answer period. The series is open to all Harvard affiliates. If you are a member of the general public, please email Lena Ransohoff a few days in advance.


November 28, 2018
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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FXB 710
651 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115 United States
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Lena Ransohoff