Inclusivity at IHSA Conference

IHSA/ SciencesPo conference on: New realities of politics and humanitarianism: between solidarity and abandonment

On 3-5 November 2021, The International Humanitarian Studies Association and SciencesPo jointly organise the International Conference on Humanitarian Studies (ICHS).

The conference will be held in Paris, and we will hopefully be able to organise the conference (partly) on site and face-to-face.

In any case, we are committed that the conference will be inclusive, with online participation, activities in multiple locations and additional activities before or after the dates of the conference.

In the period of Covid-19, we have become accustomed to hybrid conferences where participation (partly) happens online. In the case of the ICHS-2021, we would like to take the idea of hybrid conferencing to a next level. An important objective of the International Humanitarian Studies Association is to become more inclusive. Inclusivity has many dimensions, and so far we have identified 4 for our strategic attention:

  • We want debates in the IHSA to be more accessible for members whose primary language is not English, and who are more comfortable in French, Spanish (and eventually Arabic).

Example measure:
We make sure to include blogs in different languages in the weekly IHSA selection.

  • We want participation in IHSA activities inclusive and accessible for participants from different areas in the world.

Example measure:
A recent webinar was organized at two different time slots, to enable participation of people in different time zones.

  • We recognize that in addition to the global discussion and networking in IHSA, there may be needs for discussion and networking at regional levels.

Example measure:
We are taking initiatives to organize regional IHSA activities and networks, currently in Latin America.

  • We want to encourage different formats for engagement, i.e. inclusivity beyond the classic academic written debates.

Example measures:
We have a facility at the IHSA website where we have collected films and documentaries for use in education, we have organized the weekly selection of Blogs, and our last conferences had a mix of regular panels, roundtables and exhibitions.

The upcoming IHSC will be a wonderful opportunity to advance inclusivity in all these dimensions, and we very much encourage the teams that take on the streams of the conference to consider creative ways to make the conference, multi-local, multi-temporal and hyper-inclusive.

Some of the possibilities already considered or even set into motion:

  • The IHSC coincides with the climate summit in Glasgow (COP) from 1-12 Nov. which we see as an opportunity to organize satellite activities both in Scotland and Paris.
  • We are exploring what the best online platform is to enable simultaneous translation of sessions and panels.
  • We are considering multiple events around ethics of humanitarian studies (theme 2) leading up to the conference.