The Summer Course was a great success

Summer Course 2022

On Wednesday 31 August and Thursday 1 September, KUNO organized their annual Summer Course. After 2 years of online and hybrid summer courses, participants were finally able to come together in the Hague again for two days of inspiring and educational lectures, presentations and assignments. A very diverse group of participants signed up for this year’s course, coming from various development and humanitarian organizations, as well as from the NL Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Participants brought different expertise, ranging from program officers, to communication and fundraising specialists, to policy and advocacy workers. This mixed group fit perfectly with the interdisciplinary approach of the summer course, in which perspectives from academics, policy makers, and practitioners are combined.

The first day

After a short time of getting to know each other, professor Thea Hilhorst (ISS, Erasmus University) started the summer course by taking the participants through the history of humanitarian practice, explaining how large humanitarian crises have influenced and altered humanitarian thinking and acting. Her lecture left room for critical questions and set off an interesting discussion on eurocentrism in the humanitarian sector and localization. After a delicious lunch, the program continued with a workshop on ethical communication by the expertise center for humanitarian communication. After an interactive presentation on the colonial history of humanitarian communication, which raised critical questions about the tension between effective fundraising and ethical communication, the workshop ended with a group assignment in which participants analyzed and commented on several recent campaigns of Dutch (I)NGOs.

The second day

The second day of the summer course started with two presentations from the perspective of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Waldo Serno started the day by explaining the spere points and priorities of the Dutch humanitarian policy. He provided an honest and open reflection on the strengths and the shortcomings of Dutch humanitarian policy. This was followed by a presentation by Johanneke de Hoogh, in which she presented the preliminary findings of the almost finished IOB evaluation of Dutch humanitarian policy from 2015-2021. Afterwards, Iqbal Uddin (COAST Bangladesh) responded to these presentations from a global south perspective, which resulted in an interesting discussion on need for the localization of aid. In the afternoon, Benoit de Gryse (Stichting Vluchteling) gave the participants an inside into what humanitarian action looks like in the field. Tapping from his many years’ experience as a humanitarian practitioner, he explained the process of prioritizing when entering into a complex humanitarian setting, and the dilemma’s that one inevitably encounters. A final group assignment was handed to the participants, in which they received a real case study and had to discuss the conditions for their engagement in a complex context. The course finished with some rewarding drinks in the sun.

Thanks to all

The two-day course was a great success, not only because of the varied and interesting guest lectures, but also because of the interesting and diverse contributions of the participants, which enriched the program.

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Further readings