Fellows' Presentation

Why Would "We" Help "Them"? The Politics of Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean Sea

Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo

Part of the 2018–2019 Fellows' Presentation Series

Lecture by Hernan del Valle RI '19

Free and open to the public.


Hernan del Valle was involved in Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) operations in the Mediterranean Sea, which over the past three years rescued tens of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing Libya toward Europe in fragile boats. As MSF’s head of humanitarian affairs and advocacy, del Valle was a privileged witness to the difficult political challenges that emerged for MSF throughout this operation, not only in its relation with European governments but also engaging with a civil society bitterly divided by debates on migration.

His work at Radcliffe reflects on the role of and challenges for MSF in assisting people marginalized by state policy in this context. It explores the fundamental questions that emerge around borders, exclusion, identity, nationalism, citizenship, and fundamental rights in contemporary Europe.


This event is part of Worldwide Week at Harvard 2018, which showcases the remarkable breadth of Harvard’s global engagement.