Batten’s Gelsdorf Speaks with The Washington Post, NPR’s Marketplace About the Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine

Photo illustration by Alexandra Angelich, University Communications
Photo illustration by Alexandra Angelich, University Communications

As Russia’s war in Ukraine closes in on a month, news outlets across the country continue to turn to Batten Professor Kirsten Gelsdorf for insight into the humanitarian side of the crisis. Gelsdorf, who is also UVA’s director of global humanitarian policy, has 20 years of experience working in the humanitarian sector, most recently serving as chief of the policy analysis and innovation section at the United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This fall, she will teach LPPS: 3295 Global Humanitarian Crises Response, which is open to all UVA undergraduates.

In an article for The Washington Post, Gelsdorf spoke about the history of humanitarian corridors, how such corridors are being used in Ukraine and why they should be one piece of a comprehensive civilian-protection strategy. “A risk with them is that sometimes they’re used as a diplomatic bargaining chip, rather than a way to implement all the obligations under international humanitarian law,” Gelsdorf said. “They need to be done in collaboration with negotiating for wider protection of civilians and access to populations in need.”

Gelsdorf was also interviewed for NPR’s Marketplace in a segment about cash assistance as a form of humanitarian aid with a focus on Ukraine. She provided background information on the importance of cash transfers in emergency contexts and the planned scale of these interventions in Ukraine’s humanitarian response. Gelsdorf also noted that humanitarian aid organizations have utilized cash aid for over a century. “Clara Barton used it. She was the founder of the American Red Cross. She used cash relief as part of the Franco-Prussian War response in 1870.”

In addition to national media appearances, Gelsdorf was featured by UVA Today in an article about the scale of the crisis in Ukraine and how people outside the country can help.

Garrett Hall at Sunset

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