Russia-Ukraine Dialogues: humanitarian impact

This panel of LSE IDEAS’ Russia-Ukraine Dialogues discussed the humanitarian impact of the conflict, hearing from organisations working on the ground with refugees and internally displaced people. Speakers provided details of the support provided by the Mercy Corps and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. 



 The webinar was held on 10 May 2022.

Meet the speakers and chair

Maria Avdeeva is the Research Director at the European Expert Association. She focuses on international security, cooperation of Ukraine with the EU and NATO in combating hybrid threats and emerging security challenges. She analyses information operations, efforts to counter disinformation, and threats to democracy. Maria has developed her expertise through working at the National Institute for Strategic Studies and several international research projects. She is the author and instructor of a course on Information Security, conducted as part of a National Security Course.

Bertrand Blanc is Senior Emergency Coordinator for UNHCR's refugee response in the Republic of Moldova. He was part of UNHCR’s Emergency Service in Geneva before his deployment to Moldova days before the start of the war to support the Moldovan government in leading the coordination of the refugee response. Mr Blanc has worked for UNHCR for the past 15 years during which he has gained solid experience in emergency management as head of office and/or emergency coordinator in a number of crises, including in Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti, Ethiopia, the Sahel region, Jordan, Pakistan and Myanmar. Prior to joining UNHCR, he worked for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris on Refugee issues.

Agnieszka Kosowicz, President of Board, Polskie Forum Migracyjne. 

Michael Young is Mercy Corps’ Ukraine Response Director, overseeing its crisis response work in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova. He has worked with conflict-affected and displaced people for over 25 years, starting with the resettlement of Bosnian refugees in the U.K. in the mid-1990s and including periods serving as a field manager, technical advisor, and Country and Regional Director in crises in South-Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and the Northern Caucasus region of the Russian Federation. His work has spanned humanitarian, post-crisis recovery, peacebuilding and development assistance with a focus on fragile states.

Leon Hartwell is the Sotirov Fellow at LSE IDEAS and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington D.C. His research interests include conflict resolution, genocide, transitional justice, diplomacy, democracy, and the Western Balkans. Previously, Hartwell was CEPA’s Acting Director of the Transatlantic Leadership Program and a Title VIII Fellow.  From 2012 to 2013, he was also the Senior Policy Advisor for Political and Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe, where his work included government and civil society engagement, political reporting, peace building projects, and supporting human rights defenders. In 2019, Hartwell completed a joint doctoral degree summa cum laude at Leipzig University (Germany) and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). His thesis analyzed the use of mediation in the resolution of armed conflicts.