In the wake of disasters and amidst armed conflicts, how do aid providers navigate the laws that govern humanitarian assistance? Where a State refuses to allow assistance, do these actors still provide aid? What does this say about international law? I am honoured to be embarking on a PhD in Law and joining the remarkable community of Gates Cambridge scholars to explore these issues. I became interested in humanitarian assistance while doing fieldwork in Ethiopia for an MPhil in development studies at Oxford. It was that research which led me to work as an aid practitioner in the UK and West Africa, designing programs to improve the ability of Sahelian families to face shocks like food insecurity and flooding. However, feeling I lacked the practical and conceptual tools to address the more intractable challenges I saw in the field, I left to pursue a trans-systemic law degree at McGill. Through the course, and thereafter as a judicial clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, I developed a legal perspective for considering these questions. It is this perspective that I seek to develop further as part of my PhD, and in particular, to explore the legal regimes that facilitate and constrain humanitarian relief.
McGill University Law 2019
University of Oxford Development Studies 2011