On Friday, I was forced to do what everyone dreads. Arriving 45 minutes late into a live comedy set, I had to noisily make my way to the seat my boyfriend had ‘considerately’ reserved for me – right at the very, very front. I was predictably seized upon by the comedian. As I was being mercilessly mocked, we eventually came to discuss my profession. And here, thankfully, I received a compliment of truly ‘comic’ proportions. After explaining my job, the comedian exclaimed “Oh, so you guys are kind of like Batman, then?!”
Let me explain. I have just started to work for the international NGO Crisis Action. We aim to protect civilians from and within armed conflicts around the world. Yet, you won’t have heard of us. Perhaps like Bruce Wayne, we work behind the scenes; creating campaigning strategies to stop conflict and protect those on the ground. Instead of seeking our own public profile, we multiply the strengths of others by bringing humanitarian and human rights organizations together. Through building and driving forward these coalitions, we mobilize global civil society, compelling people in power to respond to armed conflict.
In its seven years, Crisis Action has worked on some of the world’s worst conflicts: from Darfur and Burma to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Afghanistan. Most recently, we have supported hundreds of Arab NGOs to convince the Arab League to respond to mass violence in Libya and Syria.
A small organization with big ambitions, we are delighted to have just been awarded the 2012 MacArthur Award for Creative and Innovative Institutions. The award will help us to continue our campaigning work – fortunately we aren’t obliged to wear capes and tights.