JESUIT UNIVERSITIES HUMANITARIAN ACTION NETWORK (JUHAN)
2017 Student Leadership Conference
College of the Holy Cross – Worcester, MA
Theme: Principles in Crisis: Refugees and Responsibilty
The conference theme, “Principles in Crisis,” references the moral and ethical frameworks, as well as guiding principles, that motivate and channel the global response to human suffering. Humanitarians, across faith traditions, espouse principles like the “humanitarian imperative,” whereby the international community provides assistance wherever it is needed. Simultaneously, the conference theme reminds us that we face dilemmas in the rush to assist; it compels us to consider the consequences of well-intentioned actions and to reflect on the practical meaning of compassionate deeds.
The conference focus topic, “Refugees and Responsibility,” highlights the needs of the displaced. Refugees lie at the heart of humanitarian response, as the conditions that foster displacement – conflict, famine, ecological disaster – signify acute social and political breakdown. Just as refugees are compelled to cross borders by conditions of vulnerability, so too are we morally compelled to respond to human suffering wherever it exists. And yet, with refugees at numbers unseen since World War II, media and political discourses reflect a fraying consensus on the rights of vulnerable populations. This conference surveys efforts, from Syria to South Sudan to Central America, to respond to mass displacement emergencies. It explores the tensions between political systems and humanitarian principles and reflects on our relationship with human suffering.
This conference is sponsored by the Dean’s Office at the College of the Holy Cross and supported by the DonelanOffice of Community-Based Learning (Holy Cross), Peace and Conflict Studies (Holy Cross), and the JUHAN network.