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6th IHSA Conference: New realities of politics and humanitarianism: between solidarity and abandonment

3 November - 5 November

New realities of politics and humanitarianism: between solidarity and abandonment

Let’s meet at the International Humanitarian Studies Association Conference organised this year at Sciences Po Paris. Humanitarian Alternatives will be on-site throughout the conference. Pre-orders of our next November issue will also be available. A presentation of the review is scheduled for Wednesday 3 November at 12.30. The conference will be hybrid and all sessions will be accessible online. For more information click here.

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


3 November
5 November
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Sciences Po Paris
27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris, 75007 France


International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA)