This Irish Research Council project is focused on the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War, the Mediterranean refugee crisis. The project, entitled ‘Haven: Intervening for Human Security in the Mediterranean Humanitarian Crisis’, has two core aims: (1) to develop a collaborative body of research that addresses the root causes of the crisis and offers an alternative envisioning of Western interventionism via the UN concept of ‘human security’; and (2) to initiate a series of public events where these critical perspectives can be constructively disseminated to relevant stakeholders and more broadly in the public sphere.
The project collaborates with a leading Irish NGO advocate for global justice, Galway One World Centre (GOWC), and builds upon existing strengths and capacities at both GOWC and NUI Galway in terms of expertise and experience in research and education on geopolitics and international development. Combining the work of GOWC with research expertise at NUI Galway via the Geopolitics and Justice Research Cluster and award-winning teaching via the MA in Environment, Society and Development (MA-ESD), the aim is to establish a successful programme of cross-disciplinary and collaborative research activities and outputs.
The project will involve the following core outputs and legacy targets:
- The hosting of a public symposium on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Europe, involving a broad assemblage of academics and NGO practitioners in international development and humanitarianism. In addition, we aim to involve the refugee community in Galway and beyond and to incorporate Irish government perspectives from Irish Aid and the Irish Naval Service.
- The development of Masters-level research on humanitarian intervention by linking students on the MA-ESD programme with the expertise and networks of GOWC. The range of international students we annually have on the programme will also contribute to the production of critical knowledges from not just Euro-centric perspectives.
- The dissemination of critical scholarship from the collaboration is the final core ambition to realising the project goals. Facilitating the production and publication of MA dissertation research will fulfil an important aspect of a successful dissemination strategy, but we are also keen to collaboratively publish the broader critical reflections as widely as possible.
As envisioned by the Irish Research Council, it is vital that we “harness the knowledge and expertise of both our researchers and NGOs” in addressing global challenges. We believe the Haven Project can deliver an important contribution to this vision for critical collaborative research and knowledge dissemination. The project has a firm eye on the potential impacts and benefits of critical knowledge in, and with, the public sphere. Informed and constructive knowledges are ultimately key to networking a new consensus on a more humane and human security-centred approach to Western interventionism. The benefits we ultimately envisage range from the classroom to government circles, in terms of teaching and learning impacts.
Professor of Geography
Programme Director, MA-ESD
Associate Director, Moore Institute for Humanities
National University of Ireland, Galway