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Swiss fund new Harvard humanitarian research programme

The Swiss government has donated 1.8 million dollars to Harvard University for the creation of a new programme on humanitarian policy.

The announcement was made to coincide with the official launch of the Swiss House, the new Swiss science and research consulate in Cambridge, Massachussets.

The donation was announced at the inauguration ceremony by the Swiss ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Jeno Stählin. He said the three-year grant would fund the Programme on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, which would be conducted in cooperation with the United Nations.

The Swiss official said it was part of a continuing policy of lending expert
support to UN operations in complex emergencies, and helping them to develop
more effective humanitarian strategies in times of crises.

At a time when the international community were facing an intensification in
brutal crises, the programme would aim to inject innovative ideas and critical analysis to support international organizations in their efforts to respond effectively to these new realities, according to the Swiss government.

The programme will advise UN agencies and non-governmental organizations on
conflict prevention, peace-building and the protection of civilians in
conflict zones.

A key focus will be the use of information technology as a platform for
developing humanitarian strategies. These technologies will be used to
create networks of academics, policy makers and humanitarian workers in the
field.

The programme will be headed by Claude Bruderlein, a Swiss lawyer currenhtly
working as a advisor on humanitarian affairs to the Office of the UN
Secretary General in New York

The government said it expected the programme to become a significant asset in the quest for new strategiesto improve the protection of civilians at the beginning of the 21st century.

by Roy Probert


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