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About the Meeting
2016 marks a critical time for the United Nations, Member States, and civil society as together they address the early challenges of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and as they look to agree upon the aims of the World Humanitarian Summit being held in May 2016 in Istanbul.

These hallmark efforts, as well as others recently undertaken by the UN system, reflect both the spirit and letter of the UN Charter’s Preamble, which emphasizes and reaffirms “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” Alongside these aims, the promotion of justice, social progress, and better standards of life in larger freedom are critical facets of ensuring that the global development and humanitarian agendas are “fit for future”, and that the UN itself will be “fit for purpose”.

These efforts also call upon and encourage international organizations, states and individuals to think very differently about the theory and practice of sustainable development and humanitarianism. They require establishing effective mechanisms to facilitate robust dialogue among key stakeholders and affected communities; harnessing new technologies and pursuing innovative approaches to resolving multilateral challenges threatening livelihoods; and devising and applying forward-leaning solutions that harmonize state and non-state efforts to attain the multilateral goals of development and dignity.

What are the most pressing challenges facing the various actors involved in global development and humanitarianism, and how should these challenges be tackled? Are the humanitarian and development systems condemned to a perpetually fraught relationship with one another or can stronger and mutually reinforcing partnerships be forged across and between them? What types of innovations would catapult individual donor and agency pursuits beyond the realm of narrow interests and toward aligned, collective action forged through common vision, analysis, implementation, and assessment? In what ways can beneficiary communities be integrated meaningfully into the strategic and field-level pursuit of development and dignity? How can and should the prevailing norms associated with sustainable human development and humanitarianism be infused throughout these endeavors? What role(s) can or should private actors, as well as the global knowledge and information economy, play in these transformations?

The 2016 ACUNS Annual Meeting will explore these and other related themes. In cooperation with our host institution, Fordham University, ACUNS invites its members and interested scholars, practitioners, and students to join us in New York City for what promises to be a timely and critical debate.