Humanitarian Studies Conference

2021 Conference on Humanitarian Studies

New realities of politics and humanitarianism: between solidarity and abandonment

Dates: 3-5 November 2021
Place: Hybrid – Paris, France and Online
Partner and Co-organiser: Sciences Po

Panel themes
Theme 1 – Health and the Environment 
Theme 2 – Localising Humanitarian Studies
Theme 3 – Political Economy and Politics of Humanitarianism
Theme 4 – Technology and Innovation
Theme 5 – Migration, Displacement and Refugees

Important Dates
Call for panels opens
Call for panels closes
Call for papers opens
Call for papers closes
Conference dates
1 April 2021
15 June 2021
16 June 2021
1 Sept 2021
3-5 Nov 2021

New realities of politics and humanitarianism: between solidarity and abandonment

The 6th International Humanitarian Studies Conference will be organized in Paris, from 3-5 November 2021, by Sciences Po and the International Humanitarian Studies Association, with a significant scientific implication of the Center for International Studies (CERI) at Sciences Po. Additional partners will contribute to the streams and panels of the conference.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on humanitarian needs and responses in the last year and put solidarity  to the test. The competition over vaccines where poor and conflict-affected areas are at the bottom of the list to be served shows us the naked reality of humanitarian politics and it is feared this situation will  compound humanitarian crises even more. While the volume and range of humanitarian activities is higher than ever, the traditionally dominant actors in international aid, i.e., the US, the UK, and the EU, are turning away from the notions of solidarity and respect for the rights of refugees or disaster-affected citizens enshrined in international law towards securitization and criminalization of migration.  Together with ever more complex political arrangements, often imbued with populist authoritarianism, whether in Venezuela, India or South Sudan, what humanitarians can do on the ground is being restricted. Are we witnessing the increasing abandonment of crisis-affected people and the humanitarian project? How can solidarity and principled approaches be brought back to the center of the humanitarian endeavor?

The drive for localisation, increasing use of cash transfers, rapid changes in the use of technologies, increasing attention for disaster risk reduction and changing approaches to accountability and participation continue to have major impact on the way humanitarianism is organized, implemented and how it impacts crisis-affected people and communities. As humanitarianism increasingly seeks to build on local capacities and people’s resilience, questions can be raised as to what this means for the protection of vulnerable people.

The ambition of this iteration of the conference is to provide a critical forum for discussing the changes within humanitarianism and what these changing political realities mean for the protection and assistance to crisis-affected populations.

The 6th International Humanitarian Studies Conference will be as inclusive as possible. We call on panel organizers to consider creative ways to make the conference, multi-local, multi-temporal and inclusive. This will, among other ideas, be facilitated by:

  • Using a conference platform enabling simultaneous translation
  • Facilitating panels organized at different locations
  • Facilitating hybrid panels where participants can have remote presentations
  • Activities organized in the months leading the conference

Please, contact IHSA to learn how we facilitate these activities.

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Image by Katja Tsvetkova