Trojan Horse or Saving Grace? Islamic NGOs in Humanitarian Assistance

Valerie Percival and Mike Brison

Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University

While faith-based organizations have long been a staple in the delivery of humanitarian assistance, the role of Islamic groups in delivering this assistance has recently generated controversy.   Islamic charities have been accused of channeling financial assistance to terrorist organizations, and providing social services to win the support of local populations for radical political agendas.  In this presentation, Valarie Percival and Mike Brison explore the delivery of humanitarian assistance by Islamic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in northern Pakistan.  While the number of Islamic groups providing essential services does appear to be growing, this phenomenon is perceived very differently by the international relations/intelligence and the humanitarian communities.  The former tends to view these organizations as a threat, while the latter recognizes the broad spectrum of Islamic NGOs and the important role that they have played in reaching vulnerable and hard to access populations during humanitarian crises.  As will be outlined in this talk, significantly different policy prescriptions flow from these contrasting perspectives, and the feasibility of these different policy approaches is explored.

Valerie Percival is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Health and Foreign Policy Initiative at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University.  Prior to this position, she worked on health and foreign policy at the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs; was the director of the International Crisis GroupÕs office in Kosovo; worked as a field officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the borders of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia; and researched the relationship between environment and violent conflict with the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the University of Toronto.  Her current work examines the links among conflict, peace, and health; the challenges of rebuilding health systems in post-conflict states; and the role of international diplomacy and foreign policy in shaping global health priorities.

Mike Brison completed his undergraduate degree at Dalhousie Universtiy in Political Science and History. He is currently an MA candidate at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton. His main area of focus is Global Health, with research interests ranging from infectious disease management to humanitarian action.

Thursday, 2 February 2012
12:30 - 2:00 pm
Alumni Boardroom, 617 Robertson Hall
Carleton University
Metered public parking is available
in Parking Garage P9, adjacent to Robertson Hall
Light sandwich lunch will be provided.
Registration is requested by Monday, 30 January 2012
Register on Eventbrite

The CSDS Speaker Series events are free and open to the public.
For more information visit
or call 613.520.2600 ext 6671