Headington Institute Winter eNewsletter
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Iraq: A Complex Humanitarian Emergency
Linda Wagener

Photo credit: Rachel Unkovic, International Rescue Committee

The number of displaced persons in Iraq is estimated to be at least 2.8 million, or one out of every 10 Iraqis. This staggering number represents those displaced before and after the 2003 U.S. led invasion. Most recently, the vast majority of Iraqis who have fled the Islamic State (ISIL) remain concentrated in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

U.N agencies and humanitarian organizations continue to increase their assistance. Interventions include distribution of emergency food assistance and relief items, shelter support, hygiene awareness campaigns, and sanitation infrastructure improvements.

In November, Brent Stenberg and I traveled to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) to provide on-site training and support for the management staff of a humanitarian organization with a long history in this region. This organization has faithfully provided critical services to many of the half million internally displaced persons (IDPs). While some of the staff are international citizens deployed to help, Winter 2015 approximately 60% of their staff are, themselves, displaced persons from Iraq.

Our work with the staff included training and consultation on the unique stresses they encounter in their work. In this group, the stresses of work are inseparable from the stresses and trauma in their personal lives. As we learned from the deeply moving personal narratives shared with us, many of the staff and their families have been displaced multiple times, until it has become their permanent way of life. Maintaining resilience under such circumstances is difficult. For most, the future is murky. They long for a stable home where they can safely live and work with their families. Yet they cannot picture when and where that will happen.

As I think back now, I see their faces and hear their voices. The map of Iraq for me is personal, alive, and specific. I pray for a future with meaning and purpose for those we met and for so many millions searching for a corner of the world where they can live in peace.
From the President
December is a time for reflection, as the year draws to a close and we anticipate 2016. To those who have supported the Institute and helped us provide care to aid workers and emergency responders, I sincerely thank you. You have helped make our 15th year of operation our most successful one. You've encouraged us to innovate, take bigger risks, and grow. 

While I'm happy with all that's been accomplished, I'm growing more troubled by the increase in violence and trauma worldwide. Like swells in the ocean, it feels like the wave of despair and suffering has again risen to new heights this year. As the number of victims grows, so does the number of responders who help communities recover from humanitarian emergencies. So, our job of offering them psychological support also grows bigger, far beyond what we imagined when we began in 2001. I wish there was no need for what we do, but that's not the case. The need is growing, and we're determined to find new and better ways to promote the personal and team resilience and trauma recovery of responders everywhere. They need and deserve our help.

Thanks for partnering with us in this work. - Jim Guy

Welcoming Roslyn

In October, Roslyn Hernandez joined the Headington team as administrative assistant. In addition to her work at
the Institute, Roslyn is pursuing graduate studies. Prior to joining the Institute, Roslyn worked as an administrator
for a leasing office and an educator and youth mentor. Living for a few years in Mexico fostered her enthusiasm
for languages, particularly Spanish. One of Roslyn's greatest passions is film studies; she practices film criticism
by writing film reviews for campus publications. Her other passions include photography, reading and gastronomy.

Welcome Roslyn!
Examine App 

          We are pleased to announce the latest release of the Examine App â€“ free from the App Store for all
          iPhone/iPad users.

          This app guides the user through meditation and reflection exercises to promote personal resilience, gratitude,
          and inner peace. Since we first released the Examine App in 2012 as a tool for personal reflection, it has been
          downloaded more than 4,000 times. The latest release includes compatibility updates for recent iOS versions.
Sexual Assault

In September, Alicia Jones presented a report at the CHS Alliance Sexual Violence Conference in London as part of a day long conference addressing the continuum of care needed for humanitarian survivors of sexual assault. The Headington Institute is involved in an inter-agency effort to research and address care and prevention for those impacted by gender based and sexual violence in humanitarian settings. As part of this effort, we have begun providing security focused gender based discussions and management consultations in order to address critical incident response and organizational factors within agencies that increase vulnerability. We are committed to making fieldwork safer for aid workers around the world.

To learn more about this project, please read this press release on Sexual Violence in Humanitarian Contexts.

 Click on the links below for more Headington information and resources.
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