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From the Editors

Virtually every humanitarian agency talks about their commitment to building – or enhancing – Southern capacity. Several readers and advisors encouraged us to produce an issue looking at the complex issues around this much-used but rarely-defined term. To our surprise, our call for papers did not produce the flood of articles we expected. The only previous occasion on which we received so few theme articles was when we published an issue focusing on older displaced people. Perhaps this tells us something about lack of fit between rhetoric and reality? Do international agencies still define ‘capacity building’ in a way which implies that Southern recipients have no capacity to start with? Is the capacity-building industry a North-driven, patronising and uni-directional transfer of knowledge? Is there genuine commitment to helping nationally-based organisations respond to future crises? The articles in this issue address these and other questions.

Apologies for the delay in getting this issue of FMR to you. In view of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq we prioritised the special issue – ‘Iraq’s displacement crisis: the search for solutions’ – which is being distributed with this regular FMR.

If you are reading our magazine for the first time you may be interested to know that FMR is published in English, Arabic, Spanish and French by the Refugee Studies Centre of the University of Oxford. It is distributed without charge to 174 countries and the full text of all issues is online at If you read this but are not on our mailing list and your organisation would like to receive hard copies of future issues, please use the tear-off form on the back cover or contact us (details opposite). We will need to know your name, organisation’s name, full postal address and which language edition you wish to receive.

FMR 29, to be distributed in October 2007, will focus on humanitarian reform. The theme of FMR 30, to be published in the New Year, is environmental displacement. Information about future issues is at

FMR is totally dependent on grant income, receiving only logistical support from the University of Oxford. If you are able to support us – or can give us funding advice – we would like to hear from you. We are always keen to keep costs to a minimum. If you no longer wish to receive FMR please let us know.

As always, we are keen for FMR to present the voices of displaced people. We would like to increase the number of articles written by those directly affected by forced migration. Don’t be put off writing for us if English is not your first language. We are more than happy to work with you to help develop your ideas into an article format in order to share your experience with others.

With best wishes

Marion Couldrey & Tim Morris
Editors, Forced Migration Review

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