As part of its contribution to MSF's critical self-reflexion, the CRASH regularly invites outside speakers, researchers and key civil society figures to come present their perspectives and their work on general issues that intersect with the concerns of humanitarian action.
Intended primarily for an internal audience - but open to others closely connected to the association - each conference is followed by an open discussion.
Unfortunately, most of the Conferences/Debates organised by the CRASH have so far been in French (these are available on the French website). The CRASH team hopes to organise English speaking conferences/ debates very soon, in the meantime please find below English versions of certain conferences.
Eyal Weizman. Forensic Architecture at work
15 February 2016
Eyal Weizman, the founder of « Forensic Architecture » at the Goldsmiths College (University of London) came to present the project as well as a number of his works at a MSF - Crash conference organised at MSF on July 2, 2015.
At the juncture of cartography and image analysis, judicial expertise and architecture, in places and situations of State violence, "Forensic Architecture" sheds light on the notions of crime by turning "spaces" into evidence.
Eyal Weizman has focused his work, in particular, on the Palestinian Territories and the Israeli occupation. He has analysed the architecture of the colonisation through the prism of surveillance technology, reflected on the convergence of political, military and humanitarian interests, and worked on reconstructing aerial attacks through examining images of rubble. Although not a new subject, this new angle provides totally new reflection on these complex issues.
Public round table organised by MSF on October 22 2013 " the polio eradication campaign put to test". With Dr Rashid Jooma, from Aga Khan university, Karachi, Dr Elisha Renne, professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan ; Johannes Everts, WHO technical expert and Dr Hamid Jafari, Director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative WHO.
The polio eradication campaign has indeniably and remarkably succeeded in tumbling down the number of polio cases worldwide.
But difficulties currently faced by the Programme -pockets of social resistance in several countries, reinfection of some countries, outbreak of epidemics associated with strains of vaccine-derived polio viruses- indeed challenge one of the main assumptions underlying the objective of the eradication itself : the full compliance of an entire population to a public health program. In order to overcome some of the above-mentionned difficulties, there is a growing tendancy, as observed in Pakistan or in Nigeria for instance, to adopt coercive measures either to protect vaccination teams or to enforce the vaccination itself. Some of those measures question the strategy of eradication at all costs.
The study of natural disasters from an anthropological viewpoint reveal a reality that differs markedly from the clichés we see in the media. This reality is uncovered in the work by Sandrine Revet on the mudslides that destroyed the cost of Venezuela in December 1999. By looking at this event in the local context, she describes how survival, aid and reconstruction activities are organised.
MSF's contributions to the changes in trans-national medicine
18 February 2010
The emergency and constraints of certain catastrophes force MSF teams to medical and operational audacity. To take new paths or stray away from official protocols is to run the risk of doing things less well, of perhaps doing harm and dilapidating resources. But to lack initiative is to make do with ineffective practices under the pretext of poverty, the ignorance of the affected populations, the respect of international recommendations, economic constraints or political authorities.
What can MSF do faced with these dilemmas? The publication directed by Jean-Hervé Bradol and Claudine Vidal, 'Medical Innovations in Humanitarian Situations. The work of Médecins Sans Frontières' retraces the arduous journey of innovation, focusing on five pathologies. It describes the measures which MSF has used to introduce and disseminate new practices. Nicolas Dodier shares with us his thoughts on MSF's contributions to the changes in transnational medicine.
Grounds for divorce ? MSF and the international criminal court
08 April 2009
In 1998 MSF decided to support the creation of the International Criminal Court. Whether as victims or witnesses, it seemed obvious that we should participate in this initiative in the name of the protection of populations and the construction of a ‘more just international public order'. 10 years later MSF stated that it ‘would not cooperate and would not transmit any information to the ICC'. The organisation needs to keep its distance from the ICC, as from any other political body.
How can we explain this change of position? Is it Justice or MSF that has broken its promises? What is our position regarding the arrest warrant issued in March 2009 against the President of Sudan and the consequent retaliation against NGOs working in Darfur? Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier looks back at the relations between MSF and judicial proceedings, the theme of a publication in the Cahier du Crash series in 2007 by Fabien Dubuet.
The reasons why we are accepted, tolerated or sometimes rejected in the contexts where we work are often obscure. Caroline Abu-Sada and her team of sociology student shed some light on these issues. In charge of this research project for MSF Switerzland, Caroline interviewed villagers, local authorities and staff members to find out how they perceive MSF and others humanitarian actors. With examples from Niger, Cameroun, Liberia, Kenya, Ouganda, Jordanie, Guatemala and Irak, she presents here the initial conclusion of her work.