Monthly Archives: May 2014

Book Talks at Harvard University and TV interview in Boston on ‘Innovations in Refugee Protection’

Interview and book talk in Boston on May 7,2014, with focus on the Case study on ‘Vietnamese Boat People in Singapore’.
Organized and coordinated by the Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (Vietaid)
42 Charles Street., Suite E
Dorchester, MA 02122
conducted by Mary Truong, with Nghia Truong, VATV Producer (and interpreter)
The entire interview can be viewed here:

Previous book talks were held at Harvard University March 6, 2014 on ‘Innovations in Refugee Protection, A Compendium of UNHCR’s 60 Years, Including Case Studies on IT Communities in Humanitarian Operations, Vietnamese Boat People in Singapore, Chilean Exile and Namibian Repatriation, with a synthesis of innovations of the UN High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) since 1951, by Luise Druke, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Law School and Fellow, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
The book attempts to bridge the gap between academic and field work, the application of Joseph Nye’s concept of “soft power” as a methodological approach for understanding and solving political and ethical refugee protection dilemmas. Extending the refugee legal framework (1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol), UNHCR has increasingly used international human rights law, innovative technologies and new partners. Refugee protection is a responsibility primarily of states also in the face of challenges posed by increasing use of technology in humanitarian work and by power diffusion.

Reviews and Commendations:
1. «Druke has written a fascinating overview of the dilemmas facing those engaged in refugee protection. She chronicles the strategies used by practitioners in various cases to navigate the unavoidable political and ethical challenges of this work.»
(David Kennedy, Professor of Law and Director of Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School)

2. «This book draws on an impressive array of significant first-hand sources and original materials to bring out the challenges of protecting refugees in ever-shifting political landscapes. Understanding the past is fundamental to dealing with the present and planning for the future. Druke’s careful scholarship draws the connections here in ways which will be of great value to students and practitioners alike.»
(Erika Feller, Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees-Protection (UNHCR)) .

3. ‘It is a fantastic chance to have a window on Luise’s remarkable work and also to learn what it takes to draw lessons from this challenging work. I want to thank you for your presence in our community and for sharing your insights informally and in the book. Everyone here has moved once or more in your life. You know how dislocating that is. Imagine if it is under the circumstances that produce refugees. Imagine if it is in the circumstances where you have no confidence about your future. The prospects of actually providing real assistance under in those circumstances with quickly changing political environment. What is the role of law? What is the role of any kind of rights? It is a great idea. This book will actually demonstrate what is looks to actually make rights and law mean something on the ground. I am honored by your presence here.
And I want to commend the Library here for its support of this work and next time you are in the library and see someone working really hard, they may be working on a book as great as this one.’
HLS Dean Martha Minow delivered the final remarks at the HLS book talk March 6, at noon.
Videos on March 6, 2014:
Library, Harvard Law School:

CARR Center, Harvard Kennedy School, see you Tube Channel