For Immediate Release
September 19, 2002

USAID Administrator Addresses Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
Fritz Institute, Georgetown University Respond to Need for Tools and Technology

USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios delivered the Inaugural Fritz Institute Lecture on Humanitarian Relief at Georgetown University today outlining six principles for responding to complex humanitarian emergencies.

Observing that both the number of complex humanitarian emergencies and their tragic consequences are increasing worldwide, Natsios emphasized that "the first purpose of disaster assistance is to save lives and reduce human suffering." Second, "in a complex humanitarian emergency, assistance should reinforce stability in a society and weaken those forces tearing a society apart." Third, those coordinating relief efforts must "understand the economic and cultural context of the conflict.before the response begins." Fourth, policymakers must be constantly aware that "the rule of unintended consequences operates at an accelerated level in complex humanitarian emergencies." Fifth, "the relief to development continuum is not a continuum; it is not neat; it is not orderly" and frequently recovery processes will experience setbacks. Finally, Natsios stressed the importance of an "integrated, coherent strategy" for relief efforts.

Georgetown alumnus Lynn C. Fritz, founder and Director General of the Fritz Institute, a non-profit organization that brings together business best practices and academic research to augment the capabilities of global humanitarian relief organizations, described the lack "of tools, of technology, and of infrastructure to support disaster victims and disaster relief." Fritz emphasized the need for resources and professional education to stem the tide of humanitarian disasters that have claimed the lives of 39,000 and affected 170,000 people every year for the last decade.

Natsios underlined the crucial importance of logistics, which he said "drives humanitarian relief," observing that fortunately "the logisticians pour water on my greatest schemes and it is very important for [those engaged in disaster relief] to have a greater understanding of logistics."

Administrator Natsios' speech marks the beginning of a partnership between the Fritz Institute and the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) at Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. The partnership is founded on a gift to ISIM from the Fritz Institute that supports teaching, research and workshops aimed at improving international responses to natural and manmade disasters, with particular emphasis on complex humanitarian emergencies. The gift expands support to the graduate-level certificate program on Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies and creating mid-career leadership training for officials in government, international and nongovernmental agencies involved in disaster relief; as well as workshops on improving logistics in humanitarian emergencies.

"The gift will allow us to augment our course offerings on refugee and humanitarian emergencies and introduce a new mid-career training program for senior officials in relief agencies that respond to disasters throughout the world," said ISIM Director Susan Martin. "With this gift and our partnership with the Fritz Institute, we'll be able to help quantifiably improve disaster relief operations and, we hope, save many lives in the process.

About the Fritz Institute
The Fritz Institute strengthens the disaster management capabilities of relief organizations by mobilizing expertise, resources, and technology from the academic, business, and humanitarian fields worldwide. Through convenings, partnerships, and programs, the Fritz Institute seeks measurable improvements in the quality and process of delivering appropriate relief to the victims of disasters. For additional information, visit

About the Institute for the Study of International Migration
The Institute for the Study of International Migration [ISIM] at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service provides balanced, interdisciplinary analysis of the complicated issues raised by international migration. The Institute conducts research, convenes symposia and conferences on U.S. immigration and refugee law and policies as well as bilateral, regional, and multilateral approaches to migration and refugee policy. ISIM offers a certificate program for Masters level students who have a career interest in human rights and humanitarian issues, with special focus on refugee crises and post-conflict situations. ISIM has also established a Visiting Scholars program for academics and graduate students pursuing research on migration and refugee issues. In 2002, ISIM assumed the editorship of International Migration, one of the leading peer-reviewed journals in the field. To learn more, visit

About Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
The Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) is the world's largest school of international affairs. It offers interdisciplinary, intercultural and area studies programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The School's faculty includes both experts in their disciplines and practitioners with high-level experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. SFS graduates represent over 70 countries and are in leadership positions across the globe; to learn more, visit

About Georgetown University
Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on its three campuses. For more information about Georgetown University, visit

Georgetown University
Doug Shaw
Tel: + (202) 687-4327
Fritz Institute
Ivy Cohen
Tel: + (415) 637-8395
+ Press Release Archive
Home •  About Us •  Programs •  Research Center
Press Room •  Partners •  Contact Us •  Privacy Policy •  Site Map