Bad Malaria Drugs
Humanitarian and Non Governmental Organization Safety & Security
- Do no harm, do know harm - Since 2005 -
A recent issue of The Economist features an intriguing article titled, The Science of Civil War: What makes heroic strife. It talks about how computer models are being developed that can predict the outbreak and spread of civil conflict. It's a fascinating read with some obvious implications for humanitarian security practitioners. (There's a lively discussion on whether this type of technology is really even viable at the always interesting Small Wars Journal.)
Unfortunately, no links to additional information sources were included with the article; typical for print pieces being leveraged to online. Oh well. If you want to learn more about the programs discussed, here are your clickies:
I just finished reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. From the title you might think it’s a self-help book targeted toward introverts; one of those I’m OK, You’re OK, pop-psychology guides to feeling better about yourself. That’s far from the case. The book is a fascinating look into the world of introverts (and extroverts). It’s very well written and Cain backs up her observations and opinions with lots of academic research that's been conducted on outgoing and inward people.
While not a safety and security-specific title, there are a number of take-home messages in the book that are relevant for humanitarian security practitioners. Some points I keyed in on include:
There’s a lot of information in the book to take in and reflect upon. It gives introverts valuable context on their personalities, but it also provides extroverts with a better sense of how the other half lives (introverts account for anywhere from one third to one half of the population). Managers will especially find the book worthwhile as it provides insights into a topic that is rarely discussed in organizational dynamics references. There are even a couple of chapters devoted to parents of introvert children.
It’s a given that cultural awareness is one of the cornerstones of good humanitarian safety and security practices. An equal amount of, if not more, attention should also be paid to understanding human behavior. Books such as Quiet are must reads for security professionals interested in taking their practice to the next level.