Humanitarian aid workers in conflict: Myths, realities and opportunities of an 'impossible profession' by Alessandra Pigni (Visiting Research Fellow, ELAC, University of Oxford)

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building OX1 3UQ

This talk aims to offer an insight into a profession that is often misrepresented and misunderstood, e.g. aid workers are either do-gooders, heroes who paid the ultimate price, or bureaucrats profiting from people’s misery. But what does it actually mean to be an aid worker on a day to day basis? What are the psychological and ethical implications of aid work? With my talk I hope to invite those interested in aid work to reflect (and ask questions) about the opportunities and pitfalls of a difficult and meaningful profession.

Alessandra served as a psychologist with Médecins Sans Frontières in Nablus, Palestine (2008) and in post earthquake Sichuan, China (2009), and as a consultant with international and local NGOs in Palestine (2011-2014). Since 2011 she has been running the blog mindfulnext.org focusing on the mental health of aid workers, with a specific interest in the causes and consequences of burnout in aid organisations. She is currently Visiting Research Fellow at ELAC, University of Oxford and writing a book to support aid workers in the field.

This event is open to the public and a light lunch will be served outside the seminar room at 12.50pm.