General Information

Date May 26-27, 2016

Location Sciences Po Paris – Center for Political Research (CEVIPOF)

Contact persons Ayesha Ahmad, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Anaïs Rességuier This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download Workshop Booklet (PDF, 6.7 MB)


Topic and Aims of the Workshop

The workshop focuses on humanitarian action, i.e. the action that aims at saving lives, alleviating suffering and protecting human dignity during and in the aftermath of crises caused by disasters or conflicts (in particular, but not exclusively, activities of UN agencies and NGOs). The aim of the workshop is to explore lived experiences of humanitarian actors and invite discussion on relationships within humanitarian practice (such as relationships within humanitarian organisations, within affected communities, and between humanitarian actors and recipients of humanitarian assistance).
The workshop aims at engaging an interdisciplinary discussion on humanitarian ethics drawing from personal experience, empirical research, and/or conceptual inquiry in order to approach creatively and constructively ongoing practical issues in the humanitarian field today.

We are especially keen to address the following themes and questions:

  • Are there humanitarian needs beyond bodily needs? Psychological, political, cultural?
  • Dignity and non-material needs in humanitarian action
  • Beneficiaries’ engagement with humanitarian action
  • Increased professionalisation and standardisation of humanitarian action
  • Resilience of humanitarian actors
  • Technical versus relational aspects of aid
  • The ‘who’ as opposed to the ‘what’ of humanitarian action
  • Power asymmetries in humanitarian relationships

An additional aim of the workshop is to engage a discussion on humanitarian ethics bridging the Anglophone and Francophone worlds on these issues. The way humanitarian action is conducted in the French-speaking world is indeed different from its conduct in the English-speaking world. Similarly for research in ethics, there is a significant difference in the way it is done within these two traditions. This workshop precisely aims at developing bridges between these two traditions of humanitarian action and ethics. We believe that this bridging is crucial for the development of the essential but still young field of research in humanitarian ethics.

Keynote Speakers

We are especially pleased to announce the two following keynote speakers:

Dr Hugo Slim – Head of Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Author of Humanitarian Ethics. A Guide to the Morality of Aid in War and Disaster (Hurst, 2015).

Dr Matthew Hunt – Assistant Professor, McGill University (Canada). Founding member of the Humanitarian Health Ethics Research Group.


Please consult the Workshop Booklet (PDF) for the full programme and practical information.