We’re starting off the new year with some big news to share.
At the end of March, IRIN will officially become The New Humanitarian.
Because you’re our valued readers and supporters, we wanted you to be the first to know.
Plans to change our name have been a long time in the making – since we left the UN to become independent in 2015.
I know many of you have a fondness for “IRIN”, awkward as the acronym may be, but our new identity signals a shift we have been developing for years.
As regular readers of our coverage, you know the world around us is moving fast.
The drivers of humanitarian needs are changing, thanks to new threats like climate change, decentralised and longer-lasting conflicts, and a geopolitical landscape that makes the resolution of crises at the international level more challenging.
The impacts of humanitarian crises are changing too, becoming more global in their repercussions. The exodus of refugees from Syria is one of many examples.
And finally, the humanitarian response to crises is changing, with new players emerging to fill an increasing gap between needs and response, including the private sector, development actors, citizen volunteers, and social media activists.
For all these reasons, humanitarian crises are on on the radar as never before.
And while fear and prejudice have sometimes been the response to these new challenges, especially as rabble-rousers and nationalists gain a voice in more countries, this is not the whole story. Ordinary citizens are demonstrating solidarity with those in need. People have taken to the streets to march for refugee rights, action on climate, and more accountability for those who abuse their power. And communities around the world are not only declaring themselves havens for refugees and migrants, but in many cases offering concrete support and assistance as well.
In many ways, humanitarianism has been democratised. It is no longer the exclusive domain of governments and the UN – nor is it only about disaster relief and aid delivery. Today, a generation of new humanitarians is emerging – demanding a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation.
And we need to speak to this wider audience.
As journalists, we have an important role to play in serving globally-minded people who want to understand and engage with the world around them by explaining complex issues and encouraging conversation and debate – especially as populist governments gain more power, and the message of isolationism gets stronger.
And yet quality, fact-based journalism about international affairs is becoming rarer and harder to discern amidst the noise of fake news, even as it is more needed.
The New Humanitarian seeks to fill this gap.
In a nutshell: we produce news for an upended world (and those who want to improve it).
Our mission remains the same: to inform the prevention of and response to humanitarian crises. But we seek to build on our historical audience of decision-makers and practitioners in the humanitarian sector by taking the urgency and importance of these issues to a much wider audience.
As part of this transition, we also hope to serve you better. We will be redesigning our web platform to be more user-friendly, revamping our newsletters, and producing more of the investigative journalism you have said you value so much. You can also look out for new content partnerships – including with the Fragile States Index and the World Economic Forum – as well as more events for you to participate in, mirroring our online conversations offline and giving you a chance to get to know the people behind The New Humanitarian.
We will be publicly launching our new name and visual identity at the end of March. Make sure you follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletters to get the latest updates.
In the meantime, we are humbled to be your trusted source of news, insight and analysis on humanitarian crises in times of ever-greater complexity, and to give you the information you need to make the change you want to see in the world.
The countdown to The New Humanitarian starts now. Stay tuned!
Heba Aly, Director