--- Announcement ---
World Conference of Humanitarian Studies
4-8 February 2009
World Conference of Humanitarian Studies
4-8 February 2009
Humanitarian crises caused by conflict or natural disaster
have increasingly become the subject of study of a range of disciplines,
including international relations, international law, development studies,
anthropology, conflict studies, and migration studies. In addition, new
research groups are being formed that focus especially on humanitarian action.
In particular, the present growth of these fields in countries regularly struck
by crises is significant. Yet, there is no venue where these scholarly communities
can meet and debate their different insights and understanding of humanitarian
crises, in dialogue with policy actors and implementing agencies. The
Universities of Bochum,
Since the early 1990s, the manifestations and understandings of humanitarian crises have been constantly changing: From post-Cold War optimism to caution when numerous intra-state conflicts started and/or ended, to become dominated by the Global War on Terror and its grand conflicts. Recurring droughts and climate change have altered our perception of disasters from sudden and exceptional events to repeating or chronic forms of crises. Response mechanisms to humanitarian crises have likewise undergone rapid developments, ranging from new forms of integrated response combining diplomatic, military and development approaches; new judicial instruments including the Criminal Court of Justice and UN-Resolution 1325 that advances women’s leadership in the resolution of crises, and – in the domain of natural disasters – mounting attention for disaster preparedness. Humanitarian action has become highly professionalized, yet continues to be beset by challenges including the positioning of principled humanitarian aid in relation to other interventions, flaws in the infra-structures of aid, and the coordination of the numerous old and new actors that have entered the scene. Media attention has become more critical, and populations receiving aid have frequently become sceptical about its results.
Although humanitarian studies are part of many different academic domains, we propose to define the nascent field as mono- or multi-disciplinary studies that analyze
the causes and dynamics of humanitarian crises;
the politics, representation, and effects of humanitarian crises;
the responses to crises, including local coping practices as well as political, military and humanitarian interventions;
the dynamics of response policies, programs and organizations;
the processes of rehabilitation, as well as establishing linkages with development, peacebuilding, and security.
There are – fortunately – no commonly accepted methodological or theoretical approaches to the study of humanitarian crises. Yet, calls for more reflection about humanitarian action abound and criticism is common. There remains a dire need for independent, in-depth research into the realities of humanitarian crises. Much research takes place at the policy level; implementation processes and local aspects urgently require more attention. Most of the humanitarian scholars are based in the North, outside of the main crisis areas, thus replicating some of the shortcomings of humanitarian policy.
The World Conference of Humanitarian Studies provides a meeting ground of these different scholars and practitioners. It aims to reflect one of the key characteristics of humanitarian studies: the close collaboration and dialogue with policy makers and practitioners. Hence, it is open to participation by all these groups. As a World Conference, it aims to establish a global representation of humanitarian studies and foster interdisciplinary debate on a grand scale. Its central aims are
to provide a meeting ground for academic communities and practitioners concerned with in-depth research on humanitarian issues;
to take stock of the current theory, debates, and issues of humanitarian studies;
to reflect on current practice and identify opportunities for improving humanitarian practice; and
to involve Southern scholars and practitioners more strongly into humanitarian politics, responses, debates, and studies.
In sum, within the humanitarian community, as well as
within the budding humanitarian studies field, debates take place, but they
tend to be too sporadic, mono-disciplinary, Northern, and isolated. We want to
facilitate these debates on a larger scale at the World Conference for
Humanitarian Studies on February 4-8, 2009 in
Australia National University, Department of International Relations, Canberra
|Mihir Bhatt||Director Disaster Mitigation Institute, Gujarat|
|Bojko Bučar||Head Centre International Relation, University of Ljubljana|
|Ian Christoplos||Researcher Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences (SLU); humanitarian consultant|
|Dennis Dijkzeul||Professor in the Management of Humanitarian Crises, Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict, Ruhr University Bochum|
|Horst Fischer||Director GTZ, Brussels|
|Paul Harvey||Editor Disasters, Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute, London|
|Joost Herman||Director of the Humanitarian Action Master Program, European Board Member NOHA (European Inter-University Network on Humanitarian Action)|
|Dorothea Hilhorst||Professor of humanitarian aid and reconstruction, Wageningen University|
|Ailsa Holloway||Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town|
|Eva von Oelreich||Director Standing Committee Humanitarian Response, Geneva|
|Hugo Slim||Chief Scholar at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva|
|Abby Stoddard||Center on international cooperation, New York University|
|Peter Walker||Director Feinstein International Center, Tufts University|
|Ben Wisner||Research fellow DESTIN, LSE; and Benfield Hazard Centre, University College London|
|Roger Zetter||Director Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford|
Deadline for submission of panel suggestions: 1 February 2008.
Deadline for submission of paper abstracts: 1 September 2008
Deadline early bird registration: 1 November 2008
Registration: 200 Euro
Early bird registration: 150 Euro
(PhD) students: 100 Euro
Thea Hilhorst: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joost Herman: email@example.com
Dennis Dijkzeul: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website and contact:
Please review the Guidelines for Participants on the Conference Website (to be disclosed soon) for detailed information and other important deadlines.
Participants and occasion
An estimated number of 500 participants from a variety of institutions, universities, NGOs and other relevant organisations, associations, governmental departments, and intergovernmental agencies.
Academy building, Broerstraat 5 ,