Expert meeting

Key Humanitarian Concepts in Historical Perspective - The relevance of study and writing of humanitarian history

This summer The Hague was the setting for the fifth biannual World Conference on Humanitarian Studies. From 27 to 29 August, humanitarian scholars and practitioners from all over the world shared their thoughts and discuss the latest developments. The conference is an initiative from the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA), and this edition was jointly organized by KUNO.

Side Event: Key Humanitarian Concepts in Historical Perspective – The relevance of study and writing of Humanitarian History

Humanitarian History is a strong academic section in the United Kingdom; in the Netherlands however almost non-existent. This side event made room for a debate to explore the relevance of humanitarian history:  What can we learn from humanitarian history? And how can it influence current humanitarian action?


= Prof. Bertrand Taithe, University of Manchester

= Dr. Pierre Fuller, University of Manchester

= Dr. Regina Gruter, NIOD, Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

= Dr. Raymund Schütz, Netherlands Red Cross

= Ton Huijzer, KUNO

Click here to read the full report. 

The International Humanitarian Studies Association

The theme of the conference was: (Re-)Shaping Boundaries in Crisis and Crisis Response. The IHSA website explains:

“The World Humanitarian Summit called for stronger bridges between humanitarian aid and development, and urged a rethink of humanitarian governance and practice with much more space for authorities, service providers and populations of crisis-affected settings. This leaves many questions open regarding the importance of humanitarian principles and the effectiveness of the humanitarian response.

This conference invited panels that examine boundaries from all different angles, ranging from the intentions and practices of government control, international law, the ways in which people organize themselves in the face of crisis, and the rapid transformation of technological limits and the boundaries of humanitarian action.”

There is much more information on the World Conference on Humanitarian Studies on the website of the IHSA.

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