James Orbinski presents Vernon talk on humanitarian action in the 21st century

World-renowned writer, physician and humanitarian Dr. James Orbinski will visit Vernon on Nov. 7 to discuss his book, An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the 21st Century. Orbinski’s talk is presented by UBC Okanagan’s Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, as part of its Distinguished Speaker Series.

One of the founders of the Canadian branch of Doctors Without Borders, Orbinski is a veteran of many of the world's most disturbing and complex humanitarian emergencies. He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) in 1999.

Orbinski is also the co-founder and chairs the board of directors of Dignitas International, a medical humanitarian organization working with communities to dramatically increase access to life-saving treatment and prevention in areas overwhelmed by HIV/AIDS.

“Dr. Orbinski’s presentation is a highly anticipated part of this year’s UBC Okanagan's Distinguished Speaker Series,” says Bernard Bauer, Dean of the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. “The theme of our series is the promotion of civil and sustainable society. Dr. Orbinski’s work helps bring civility to places where there is precious little, and he and his colleagues have dedicated their efforts to improving the lives of others throughout the world. We are delighted to bring the Speaker Series to Vernon with what is sure to be a powerfully engaging and memorable talk about the complexities of international humanitarian relief efforts in the 21st century.”

With unstinting candor, Orbinski explores the nature of humanitarian action in the 21st century, and asserts the fundamental imperative of seeing as human those whose political systems have most brutally failed. He insists that in responding to the suffering of others, we must never lose sight of the dignity of those being helped, or deny them the right to act as agents in their own lives.

Orbinski’s Nov. 7 presentation is free to the public and takes place at 7 p.m. at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre (3800 - 33rd Street, Vernon). Registration for seats at this event will open on Monday, Oct. 6, on the UBC Okanagan website: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/speakers.

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