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At Any Price? Negotiating Access to Crisis Zones

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November 15th 2012, 7:00 pm — 8:30 pm
Location: Mercy Corps Action Center

What: At Any Price? Negotiating Access to Crisis Zones. Staff from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Mercy Corps participate in a live panel discussion that will explore these issues from headquarters and on-the-ground perspectives. Moderated by OPB's David Miller.

When: 7 pm, Thursday, November 15th.

Where: Mercy Corps Action Center, 28 SW First Avenue, Portland, Oregon, 97024.

RSVP: Free and open to the public. Please register here.

In many crises, aid agencies are only able to provide assistance through negotiations — with armed groups, health authorities or community leaders — and compromising basic principles is sometimes the price paid for being able to act. These humanitarian negotiations are life-and-death issues for people in need, but they also raise troubling political and ethical dilemmas for the organizations engaged in them. Join Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Mercy Corps for a live panel discussion that will explore these issues from headquarters and on-the-ground perspectives. Moderated by Oregon Public Broadcasting's David Miller, the program will feature experienced MSF and Mercy Corps staff members who will share firsthand experiences from overseas assignments. Panelists will describe the often complicated process of negotiating as they struggle to define what compromises are acceptable in order to provide lifesaving aid to people in crisis zones.

Panelists include:

Nick Lawson, (pictured above) is director of field human resources for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). He began working for the organization in 1997 as logistical and administrative expert in an MSF project in southern Sudan, during that country’s brutal civil war. Since then he has held 11 other positions within the organization, which have taken him to humanitarian hotspots like Afghanistan, Burundi, East Timor and Malawi.

Colette Kerr is a Portland-based nurse who has done extensive emergency work with MSF in Liberia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Chad since 2007. Colette returned in October from a 14-month assignment managing MSF’s humanitarian responses to malnutrition, measles, meningitis and armed conflicts in several locations in east and central Africa.