Saving Lives in Dire Times

Hosted by the Department of International Development

Online and in-person public event (MAR.2.04, Marshall Building)


Mark Lowcock

Mark Lowcock

Head of UNOCHA (2017-2021)

Minouche Shafik

Minouche Shafik

Director of LSE

Ian Madison

Ian Madison

LSE Fellow and Programme Co-Director, International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies


Kathryn Hochstetler

Kathryn Hochstetler

Professor of International Development

Relief Chief is Mark Lowcock’s behind-the-scenes account of his experience as the world’s most senior humanitarian official—the UN Relief Chief. In his four years on the job, Lowcock coordinated the work of UN agencies, the Red Cross, and countless national and international humanitarian groups to save lives and protect the most vulnerable. His tenure spanned the biggest explosion in humanitarian need in modern history.

Part memoir and part manifesto for reform, Relief Chief depicts the brutality, misery, and inhumanity inflicted on innocent people in crises. Lowcock recounts what people he met in dozens of countries, especially women and children, told him about their plight. He warns that crises will continue to get worse without a renewed global effort to tackle their causes. But Relief Chief is also an uplifting story of lives saved and suffering reduced, and a powerful agenda for solving crises faster and better in the future.

Join Mark Lowcock, Minouche Shafik, Kathy Hochstetler and Ian Madison for the book launch of Relief Chief

About the speakers and chair:

Mark Lowcock (@SirMarkLowcock) was appointed United Nations Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator in May 2017 and served in that role until June 2021. He was previously Permanent Secretary of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. As one of the most distinguished international public servants, Lowcock has spent more than 35 years leading and managing responses to humanitarian crises across the globe. He has authored opinion articles for The Washington Post, Financial Times, The GuardianThe TimesLe Monde, CNN, and others. He was twice awarded medals by Queen Elizabeth II for services to international development and public service, including Knighthood in 2017. He is a Visiting Professor of Practice in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Global Development. 

Minouche Shafik is Director of LSE. Prior to this she was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. An economist by training, Baroness Shafik has spent most of her career straddling the worlds of public policy and academia. After completing her BSc in economics and politics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, she took an MSc in economics at LSE before completing a DPhil in economics at St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford.She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2015, a Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords in 2020, and an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy in 2021.

Ian Madison is an LSE Fellow and Co-Director of the International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies (IDHE) programme at LSE. His research, carried out in Kosovo and Tanzania, focuses on how people adapt and respond to political and environmental crises in fragile settings. Ian holds a PhD in International Development from the University of Oxford and an MSc in IDHE from LSE. Beyond academia, Ian has worked on issues related to resilience, natural resources, and community engagement for the World Bank, NGOs, government, and environmental consultancies.

Kathy Hochstetler (@hochstet) is the Head of the Department of International Development and Professor of International Development. She holds a PhD in Political Science (Minnesota), but has always been interested in the interdisciplinary study of environment and development. She has researched this theme from many angles - global environmental negotiations, regional trade agreements (Mercosur), and through the study of national environmental movements, environment policy, and democratic institutions, primarily in South America.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and refreshments will be served for those attending in person.

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