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GW020:Harvard Humanitarian Initiative on Building Better Response Launches



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Nathaniel Raymond has over a decade of experience as a human rights investigator specializing in civilian protection during complex humanitarian disasters, the treatment of prisoners in national security settings, and crimes of war.

Based at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, he leads the Satellite Sentinel Project’s (SSP) day-to-day collection and analysis of satellite imagery and other information to produce SSP’s reports on the current human security situation in Sudan.

Raymond was a 2010 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Security and Human Rights Reform Fellow.Previously, Raymond served as Director of the Campaign Against Torture at Physicians for Human Rights, as well as lead investigator into the 2001 Dasht-e-Leili massacre in Northern Afghanistan.

The mission of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is to relieve human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide. HHI fosters collaboration at Harvard University in order to:

~ Improve the effectiveness of humanitarian strategies for relief, protection, and prevention;

~ Instill human rights principles and practices in these strategies;

~ Educate and train the next generation of humanitarian leaders.


~ Being Human: Shortly after 9/11, Nathaniel Raymond worked on the Dasht-e-Leili massacre case in Northern Afghanistan, which launched his career as a war crimes investigator.

In late 2010, he received a call. That was the birth of the Satellite Sentinel Project in Sudan.

~ How Satellites Help: Conflicts usually arise in non-permissive environments. In such areas, remote sensing technology can be very valuable for humanitarian responders and agencies.

Find out how engaging in situational awareness and evidence collection can help.

~ Tech Talk: Nathaniel tells us about the regulations placed on selling and producing commercial imagery. Tune in to understand the technical difference between the resolution of sub-meter and meter.

~ Anatomy of a Conflict: The result of the work that they do with the Satellite Sentinel Project, this project in Sudan aims at creating a relatively definitive history of the conflict of Sudan until a pattern emerges.

Nathaniel tells us how the evidence collected by the project helped save lives.

~ Global Communication Networks: Humanitarian responders are using social media, algorithms and sensor networks to automate their responses in crisis situations. Nathaniel likes to call this an “organismic network response”.

~ The Rise of the Micro Satellite: A micro satellite is the size of a college-dorm-room mini fridge. The biggest perk – its minimal cost! With a dozen quality resolution sensors up there, science is hoping to improve predictions during disasters.


Nathaniel’s every job has focused on service related to people affected by mass killing, disappearance, torture – some of the worst things humans can do to other humans.

Working against war crimes has made Nathaniel realized that change takes a long time. We need to focus on approaches and principles, instead of results. He stresses on commitment to long term, multi-year, vision based processes that develop diverse perspectives to conflict resolutions.

One must be ready to sacrifice, and also know how to prioritize. One must know when to choose one’s well being over helping others.

As humans, we must commit to the cycle, to change – nothing is constant. Sometimes, we may be on the dark side of the earth, but soon enough, we will see the light.

Giving Warriors means…

Nathaniel remembers his hero, Bishop Bob Denning. He recalls a story told by Denning, about a warrior and a cup of tea.

Nathaniel believes that we need to include ourselves in the giving. Self care is vital.

A Giving Warrior is someone who struggles with big things. Someone who can give, and someone who can receive knowing that receiving is also a type of giving.


Leave None to Tell the Story by Alison Des Forges


http://www.HHI.Harvard. edu


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