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John Mitchell
Director of ALNAP

John Mitchell
Director of ALNAP

Hello, can you introduce yourself?

I am John Mitchell, director of ALNAP. I have been working with Groupe URD for 11 years now. Groupe URD was one of the founding members of ALNAP. François has been to more ALNAP meetings than anyone ever, maybe even more than me. He’s the most consistent contributor to ALNAP. We worked together on five case studies about participation in emergencies ; we produced the handbook on participation.

The highlight of my experience with Groupe URD was ALNAP’s 10th birthday in Plaisians. We were invited to enjoy the beautiful weather, but it rained the whole time. Having the meeting in a circus tent is a good memory, and I will remember the electricity power out.

What is your perception of Groupe URD’s role in the humanitarian sector? Can you tell us more about how you see Groupe URD’s role, its positioning, specificities, added value?

I think Groupe URD are very important for the humanitarian community. They represent something very special.
It is a value-driven organisation, motivated by values, humanitarian values. That approach comes across in the way they do everything ; they understand the voices of the people, and the importance of participation. It’s not just rhetoric with them, they actually apply it in the field. This is something that is becoming more and more unusual as the system is becoming bigger and bigger. Groupe URD works according to their values and principles. It has a very particular way of doing things that is very precious. Groupe URD shouldn’t change, and keep doing things the way they do.

Groupe URD are promoting human values, but they still have the scientific approach when required. It’s not just about talking and being with people, not just about solidarity, they also develop tools. Groupe URD are not afraid of technology. A certain courage, a very special organisation…

What are you wishes and hopes for Groupe URD’s future?

I wish you flourish. The Groupe URD does things that are very important. They cherish the values of humanitarian action, and I hope they keep working the way they do. My hope is that the light continues to shine.

Do you wish to add anything to this?

François has been quite critical about some Anglo-Saxons elements of ALNAP. The things he has said have been very helpful. Someone speaking up his mind the way he does is very useful. We embrace his criticism.