Edge Dwellers Café Podcast: Altruistic humanitarianism and transitional justice with Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings

Ben Habib is joined in this episode by Dr Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies at the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership at Deakin University.  We discuss the humanitarian sector, humanitarian aid in North Korea, transitional justice for a post-Kim DPRK, and reflect humorously on the North Korean studies community.  We also muse on living in Melbourne vs Hong Kong and Seoul, mental health in academia, and owning one’s mental health demons.

See original show episode show notes via PodBean.

00:00:00  Introduction.

00:03:34  Nazanin reflects on her career journey into the humanitarian sector.

00:09:54  Living in Melbourne as non-locals…is it the most liveable city in the world?

00:12:49  Private personal space vs living life in public in Hong Kong, Seoul and Melbourne.

00:14:32  Critically unpacking the ‘saviour’ impulse of aspiring humanitarians.

00:17:18  Humanitarianism starts at home, rather than ‘out there’.

00:20:08  Relationship between research and practice in the humanitarian sector.

00:23:23  Funding shortfalls, palliatives for structural problems, and preventive vs reactive aid.

00:27:53  Deconstructing ‘localisation’ in the humanitarian sector.

00:32:34  The dance between bureaucratic coordination and grassroots autonomy in humanitarian aid programs.

00:34:36  Centering North Korean people through a perspective of ‘solidarity with’.

00:39:19  The challenges of representing North Korean voices.

00:45:16  How the international community gets in its own way in delivering humanitarian assistance in the DPRK.

00:49:34  The ecosystem of different humanitarian organisations working in North Korea.

00:53:00  Prediction vs scenario mapping.

00:54:32  Anticipatory transitional justice for post-Kim scenarios in North Korea.

00:59:17  Are North Korean Studies scholars a bunch of weirdos?

01:03:51  Anxiety, guilt and the cult of productivity in academic labour.

01:10:01  Importance of being part of a community of scholars to feel like you belong.

01:10:44  Nazanin discusses her struggle with Trichotillomania and how she’s learned to own it.

01:18:19  Conclusion.

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About Dr Nazanin Zadeh Cummings

About Ben Habib, host of Edge Dwellers Cafe

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