Press Release: Fostering New Research and Researchers for Humanitarian Operations

The CUNY Graduate Center, in cooperation with other New York City universities, has received a $450,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for an initiative that will help to better understand the complexities of humanitarian operations in the context of armed conflicts. Working through a newly established Inter-University Consortium on Security and Humanitarian Aid (IUCSHA), the project encompasses research fellowships for graduate students and recent Ph.D.s, forums for the presentation of sponsored research, and an electronic network to disseminate important findings and news. In the long run, the work will help facilitate future humanitarian efforts by providing follow up research and expertise that cannot normally be developed under crisis conditions.

The Graduate Center's Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, directed by Presidential Professor Thomas G. Weiss, serves as the secretariat for the IUCSHA. In addition to The Graduate Center, New York University and New School University are full-fledged members of the consortium, while Columbia University is participating but funding its students from other Mellon Foundation support.

Conflict invariably produces immediate humanitarian challenges. Over the longer term, humanitarian action also has serious implications for security, as it can lead to further conflicts between social, ethnic, or religious groups‹examples abound in the Balkans, Asia, parts of Africa, and, to a lesser extent, the Western world. In the midst of these dynamics, non-governmental and UN agencies do what they can to provide humanitarian assistance. The IUCSHA will provide a platform to enhance scholarship and analysis of these involved actions, while proving useful to practitioners in the broader humanitarian community. The project is designed to build networks between younger researchers and analysts and inter-governmental and non-governmental agency personnel working on humanitarian protection, relief, and post-conflict reconstruction. The IUCSHA will generate research and analysis pertinent to current humanitarian work while simultaneously investing in the next generation of scholars in New York City.

Research fellowships of up to $10,000 will be available to doctoral and post-doctoral students to conduct fieldwork as well as archival research and interviews. Grantees will present their findings at seminars, which will also include established scholars and practitioners as participants. For information on fellowship applications, the first of which are due January 15, 2003, contact the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at 1-212-817-2100, email, or explore the program more fully on its website,

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York. According to a recent National Research Council report, more than a third of The Graduate Center's rated Ph.D. programs rank among the nation's top 20 at public and private institutions.

Submitted on: OCT 1, 2002

Category: Press Room | Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies