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The Dilemmas of International Humanitarian Aid in the Twentieth Century

12-14 May 2011

Conference organized by the German Historical Institute and the Department of International History at the London School of Economics. The proceedings form part of the Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship established at LSE and GHIL.

Venue: German Historical Institute London

Convener: Prof. Dr. Johannes Paulmann, Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor 2009-10 (University of Mannheim)

The conference investigates cross-border aid in a European and global frame from the end of the nineteenth century to our times. It focuses on the dilemmas, contradictions and ambiguities of humanitarian commitment. In a historical perspective, humanitarian assistance covered a broad range of measures: emergency relief delivered to people struck by natural or man-made disasters; longer term efforts to prevent suffering from famine, ill health or poverty; or schemes such as international adoption, specific campaigns against human rights abuses, and humanitarian intervention by armed forces. The respective role of donors and recipients will be assessed in the context of colonial rule, decolonization, economic dependency, international politics and global governance. Non-governmental, governmental, religious and secular organisations and individuals were active in the field. Efforts and agency were determined, to various degrees, by needs as well as by politics, organizational or personal interests, and moral issues.

Call for Papers (PDF file)
Conference Programme (PDF file)

Conference report (PDF file), published in: GHIL Bulletin 34 (2012), Vol 1