Through its tradition and through the presence of major international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Geneva is intricately involved in worldwide humanitarian action. Thus, as has been the case from the start in 1995, the program of Webster’s event has been prepared in close consultation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). As in the past, this event was also held under the auspices of the Government of the State of Geneva, and with the Patronage of the Swiss Foreign Minister, Mrs. Micheline Calmy-Rey.
Humanitarian action is a demonstration of hope and of human values. Its focus is on individuals and communities in situations of vulnerability, risk, need and oppression, regardless of national origin.
Both the major humanitarian organizations and NGOs have become increasingly aware that the panic and trauma of affected populations, their sense of community and their outlook, also need to be tended to. Saber Azam and Otto Hieronymi highlighted that this was especially so in the case of forced displacement. Psychological and mental health issues remain important even beyond the initial period of crisis, protection and assistance. Some members of displaced and refugee populations may require continued care even once the need for legal protection and material assistance has come to an end. Geneva has been a pioneer of this field, as witnessed by the contributions of Claire Colliard and Christine Meinhardt.

Alexandre Vautravers and Lori Werner
Webster’s Annual Event
Robert Spencer
Geneva: A Capital for Humanitarian Action
Oliver Coutau
Origins and Practice of ‘Humanitarian Psychology’
The Recognition and Institutionalization of Trauma
Alexander Vautravers and Sara Hagey
Collective Responsibility: A psychological Red Thread Between Irregular Warfare and Disproportionate Response
Erica Pasini
Psychological Vulnerability of Individuals and Communities at Risk
Psychological Dimensions of International Humanitarian Law
Michel Veuthey
Valor and Vulnerability: Youth Interventions in Two Asymmetrical Conflicts – Soweto and 1st Intifada
Angel Cintron
Sovereignty’s Challenge: Human Rights and the Responsibility to Protect
Sarita Cargas
Top UN Peacebuilders and Advocacy for Women, Peace and Security
Gry Tina Tinde
Designing Appropriate International Responses and Interventions for Women Victims of War Rape
Neda Farsad
Psychological Vulnerability of Refugees
The Psychology of Refugees
Saber Azam
Multiple Identities and the Psychological Aspects of Refugee Status
Otto Hieronymi
Refugee Status, Nationality and Citizenship: Legal Ambiguities and Psychological Grey Areas
Ted Bikin-Kita
Rules and Regulations: The Child Soldiers Case
Peter Van Krieken
Assessing the Psychological Needs of Refugees and IDPs Living with HIV/AIDS
Frances Narvaez
‘Helping the Helpers’ – Psycho-Social Care for Humanitarian Workers
The Violent Targeting of Aid Workers: Tracking Trends
Nicholas Burtscher
Managing Transitions between ‘Field’ and ‘Home’: Facing the Psychological Impact of Humanitarian Crisis
Roslyn Thomas
Social Support, Institutional Support: A Key element in the Prevention of Burn Out and PTSD
Christine Meinhardt
A Study on the Psychology of Traumatic Events of Relief Workers
Trisha Howard

Alexandre VAUTRAVERS, Lori WERNER (eds.), Psychological impact of humanitarian crises, Geneva, Webster University Geneva, 2011 (263 pp.)