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Blinded by humanity - book launch

Time (GMT +00) 18:00 19:00
Hero image description: Martin Barber's retirement from the UN Image credit:UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Image license:Creative Commons
Introduction: Sara Pantuliano - Director, Humanitarian Policy Group, ODI

Speaker: Martin Barber - author of Blinded by Humanity

Chair: Lord Malloch-Brown - former UK government minister (2007-9) and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General (2006)


Blinded by Humanity is an engaging examination of the UN’s efforts to accomplish its humanitarian aims and political goals, which at times may seem at cross purposes.  Martin Barber’s wide experience and frank analysis will interest UN watchers and humanitarian activists alike because it provides valuable insights on how to make the UN a more effective instrument for peace, security and human rights.’  – Kofi Annan

How to respond effectively to humanitarian crises is one of the most pressing and seemingly intractable problems facing the United Nations. In a new memoir, Martin Barber puts forward an engaging account of his humanitarian career, from Laos, Thailand, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, New York and, finally, his work in Abu Dhabi for the Government of the UAE.

The book touches on all the major UN activities – and headaches – including refugee work, coordinating humanitarian aid, peacekeeping, the huge problem of ‘de-mining’, and the complex internal workings of the UN Secretariat.  Running through the narrative are major questions for the future of humanitarian operations - how effectively have the needs of people affected by conflict been met? And how might the UN improve its response to these needs? 

In conversation with Lord Malloch-Brown, Martin Barber will share highlights of Blinded by Humanity, interwoven with anecdotes from his extensive career. The book launch will be preceded by a drinks reception and book signing, from 17:30-18:00.