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The Haven Project centres on collaboratively advancing the concept of ‘human security’. It seeks to put at centre stage the notion of human security by invoking the idea of a ‘haven’, a place of safety or refuge. The haven in mind here is not just a haven from the Mediterranean waters that have taken the lives of so many victims of the ongoing conflict in Syria and across the Middle East and North Africa; it also signals a conceiving of Western interventionism that places human security at the centre. Western interventionism has long been guided by military and economic definitions of security, involving repeated and frequently counter-productive mechanisms of military violence. On the contrary, this project aims to advance research and thinking on a vital alternative envisioning of intervention. It seeks to advance the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s concept of ‘human security’ from its Human Development Report from 1994 [1]. Attending to this core concept prompts investment in intervention of a different kind: in humanitarian assistance; in civil society support; in diplomatic initiatives; in rebuilding programmes; in sharing governmental expertise; and in enabling security mechanisms that are human-centred. The project is ultimately prompted by a sense of pedagogic responsibility to respond creatively and constructively to the increasingly precarious geographies evident in our current moment of global geopolitics – and its seemingly endless cycles and legacies of violent intervention. The UNDP’s Human Development Report from 1994 was largely ignored academically, yet ‘human security’ is a concept that can enable real traction in developing an alternative envisioning of Western interventionism in an intricately interconnected global world – interconnections so tragically playing out in the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe.

[1] United Nations Development Programme (1994) Human Development Report 1994. New York: Oxford University Press

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