Monday, September 14, 2015

The Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law

Thanks to money received from a special grant, Red Cross Mid-Central Pennsylvania Chapter Executive Director Stephanie Fost, along with Red Cross intern Kristen Garrity, participated in a special workshop focusing on the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law in Syracuse, New York, on Wednesday through Friday, September 9-11, 2015.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which includes the Geneva Conventions, is at the core of the global Red Cross network. For more than 20 years, the American Red Cross has promoted IHL through chapter-based courses aimed at building a public understanding of the rules governing armed conflict and war in order to protect human life and dignity in the worst of circumstances. 

This train-the-trainer style workshop introduced Exploring Humanitarian Law, a Red Cross program designed to fit seamlessly into a wide-variety of secondary and post-secondary courses, including history, international studies, political science, human rights, peace/conflict studies, anthropology, psychology/sociology, pre-law, military science, and security studies. Engaging primary source materials, including news accounts, photos, videos, letters, and hands-on activities, work together to connect students with current events. Students who participate benefit by improving their analytical skills as they explore different perspectives on the rules of conflict, the effect war has on human life and human dignity, and their personal connections to it.

Fost and Garrity returned from the experience energized and eager to share what they learned with the rest of their colleagues. Their hope is to be able to promote to area educators the program and its high-quality lesson plans and primary source materials.