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Using Neutrality to Protect Humanity

By Hayley Walker and Valdeir Faria Filho

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are functioning in our global society, some better than others. Some are well-known (CARE, Amnesty International, Red Cross) and use effective marketing techniques, lobbying efforts, and provide programs internationally. Others are small, local organizations that work to make life better for specific groups of people. Regardless, these diverse and varying NGOs have multiple commonalities, though they may not be fully visible on the surface. All, however, embark on missions to protect humanity.

The World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) is an international organization that aims to unite NGOs and promote peace and wellbeing across the globe. WANGO offers resources and support to create connections among organizations striving to create a more just, sustainable world for all. As a proponent of networks and collaborations, WANGO sheds light on the synergy that results from global organizations working towards a common goal. With widespread government support, exceptional visionaries, and dedicated donors, WANGO has worked for the past 17 years to encourage NGOs to connect across borders and without boundaries, and to hold steadfast to the following guiding principles (WANGO Code of Ethics):

  • Responsibility, service, and public mindedness
  • Cooperation beyond boundaries
  • Human rights and dignity
  • Religious freedom
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Truthfulness and legality

NGOs, in the broadest sense, cannot be for profit organizations, must be independent of government, must not interfere in domestic state affairs, and must not advocate violence (Kaloudis, 2017). However, there comes a time when disaster relief and humanitarian organizations must interfere—or rather, intervene—in domestic affairs in an effort to protect humanity. Non-governmental organizations are frequently caught in the cross-fire of waring territories, failed states, and desperate civilians, with one goal in mind: to provide relief for those in need.

During times of crisis, NGOs rely deeply on their neutrality to aid them in reaching the most people possible. In accordance with WANGO’s principle of working towards cooperation beyond boundaries, neutrality refers to refraining from taking sides on issues regarding political, cultural, religious affiliation, or other sensitive issues that may result in conflict. That does not mean that NGOs disappear or go into hiding during such conflicts, but rather work harder to serve all affected—regardless of their stance on the issues. Impactful NGOs uphold the policy of not “taking sides,” and this is crucial to the safety of workers, volunteers, donors, and civilians. However, in recent years NGOs have faced difficulty in mitigating suffering as impartial entities, in part due to assumed association with national governments or international organizations (Brechenmacher, 2015).  Aid and relief of organizations urge conflicting parties to respect their neutral stance as they provide desperately needed services to civilians, but reality does not always allow provide for this ideal situation. State militaries may claim alliances with NGOs, and rebel forces may see this alliance as a threat to their progress. NGOs, however, frequently default to the emphasizing the value of impartiality in conflict zones and assert their neutral stance to relieve human suffering—a practice that is often debated. In order to reach civilians who may be trapped or displaced deep within war zones and conflict arenas, NGOs must carefully negotiate with opposing parties. They must ensure they remain under enough security to serve, but enough neutrality to relieve the suffering civilians from all sides.

Nonprofit Student Council Appoints New Officer Positions

 

New Council Officers will help maintain institutional knowledge, better represent part-time students, and provide greater oversight and inclusion for all NSC affairs.

SAN FRANCISCO – With its mission to, “provide a unified voice for students with a focus on promoting and improving the MNA program at the University of San Francisco,” the Nonprofit Student Council (NSC) has appointed three new officer positions, better serving the Nonprofit Administration (MNA) student body, and advancing NSC’s mission.

  • Preserving NSC’s institutional knowledge, and harnessing prior leadership experiences, Bea Duncan has been appointed as Immediate Past-President – having served as President in 2016-17, now providing insight and best practices to NSC.
  • Increasing the Council’s directive for greater part-time student engagement and representation,

Katriellle Risa Veslenio (right)  has been appointed Part-Time Ambassador.

  • Lastly, providing greater oversight, increased access, and overall compliance with program and university protocol, Greg Finkelstein (below) has been appointed as Director of Standards and Practices, also chairing the same named committee.

“I am excited by these positions and our new officers, as they memorialize our significant efforts to increase engagement and representation, making sure all MNA students have access to having their voice heard,” stated NSC 17-18 President, Greg Justice.

Moving forward, the Council also hopes to appoint Part-Time class representatives.

For general NSC information, please feel free to contact NSC@usfca.edu, or contact Lense Eshete – leshete@dons.usfca.edu– for release-related inquiries.

Founded in August 2015, the Nonprofit Student Council is the official student association for the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program, providing a unified voice for MNA students, engagement in professional activities and opportunities, and practicing the transformational leadership needed to enhance the missions of University of San Francisco, USF’s School of Management, and the overall MNA program.  Follow NSC on Twitter @usfnsc, or visit us online at: www.usfnsc.org.