Podcast available (in Norwegian): Rescue operations in the Mediterranean – a pull factor?

Monday 25 November the NCHS, Nordhost/UiO:Norden, and the University of Oslo Faculty of Law co-hosted an event at Litteraturhuset in Oslo on rescue operations in the Mediterranean sea, and whether there is any validity to claims that such operations act as a pull factor encouraging more migrants to take the dangerous sea route towards Europe.

Speakers at the seminar included researchers, humanitarian practitioners from Médecins Sans Frontières and the Norwegian Refugee Council, and politicians from various Norwegian political parties, all presenting their views on European migration policies in light of recent migrant deaths at sea and public debates on the issue. The Italian Ambassador to Norway attended the seminar, asked for the floor and was invited to comment towards the end.

A recording of the seminar (in Norwegian) is now available, and can be accessed here.

Antonio De Lauri to give NMBU Annual Lecture in Global Development Studies

NCHS co-Director, Antonio De Lauri, is to give the NMBU Annual Lecture in Global Development Studies Friday 6 December 2019. The lecture is an annual event in association with the university’s Master Programme in Global Development Studies. De Lauri’s lecture is titled “The Politics of Humanitarian Intervention: Militarization, Diplomacy, Compromise”, and will in particular discuss (1) the difficulty in prioritizing humanitarian principles in contingent situations, (2) the exploitative dimension of humanitarian discourses in broad international political agendas, and (3) the current professionalization of humanitarian negotiations as a key instrument of foreign policy.

To register for the event or read more about the NMBU Annual Lecture, see here.

Podcast available: Sandvik on ‘Humanitarian wearables and digital bodies’ at University of Oxford

On Wednesday 13 November 2019, Kristin Bergtora Sandvik (PRIO/University of Oslo) spoke at a seminar hosted by The Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, titled “Humanitarian wearables and digital bodies: problems of gifts and labour”. A recording from the seminar is now available.

To access the podcast, click here.

Call for papers: Humanitarianism challenged

Four year after the Agenda for Humanity : humanitarianism challenged
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 25 March 2019
Call for papers


On May 23-24th 2016, close to 9000 representatives from humanitarian agencies, governments, academics and leaders of crisis-affected communities uniquely gathered in Istanbul to address the crisis of legitimacy and capacity of the so-called humanitarian system. This even – prompted by the unprecedented refugee flows in the Middle-East and Europe – followed a series of regional consultations supposed to overcome the Western-centric nature of humanitarian assistance. Although the event did not lead to the adoption of a clear plan for institutional reform and avoid discussing contentious issues, it led to the adoption of the Agenda for Humanity, a five-point programme aiming to “outline the changes that are needed to alleviate suffering, reduce risk and lessen vulnerability on a global scale”.

The strategic areas identified build on the framing of the Sustainable Development Goals and focus on ambitious targets such as ending conflicts, upholding norms to safeguard humanity, leaving no-one behind, ending needs and investing in humanity. Four years after its adoption, this rhetorical commitment to change has made its way into the discourses and practices of humanitarian organizations. Strategies to achieve “aid localisation”, the “triple nexus” – referring to the interlinkages between humanitarian, development and peace actors – or “vulnerable people empowerment and resilience” abound, reflecting the fractures of the humanitarian system.

Yet, as humanitarian agencies focus on technical ways of implementing changes, structural challenges to global solidarity are left out from the analysis. Since 2016, attacks on humanitarian values have never seemed so acute. The rise of nationalistic and far right parties and their coming to power in Brazil, Italy or Hungary daily challenge the capacity to maintain humanitarian commitments, in particular towards migrant populations. Humanitarian law and norms are under siege in contemporary patterns of violence. The goal of “leaving no one behind” has evacuated debates on the use of the concept of vulnerabilities as a political tool to build hierarchies within crisis-affected populations. Lastly, the localisation agenda has seen crisis-affected governments exercise a stronger grip on humanitarian activities, aligning aid with their priorities and closing civil society independent space.

In this context, the objective of this conference jointly organized by Globalisation Studies Groningen, the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) and the Norwegian Network on Humanitarian Studies is to unpack the political nature of the humanitarian enterprise, using the core responsibilities of the Agenda for Humanity as a starting point for the analysis. The even brings together scholars and practitioners to address the following questions:

  • How do changes in international and domestic politics alter humanitarian commitments?
  • How is the Agenda for Humanity’s narrative used to further political agenda?
  • What are the implications of the Agenda’s core responsibilities on the power dynamics shaping the humanitarian field ?

We welcome paper proposals addressing these questions and fitting with four overarching key themes:

  1. Humanitarian aid and/ in conflicts and urban violence: normative framing, political uses and impacts
  2. Humanitarianism under siege: nationalism, illiberal humanitarianism and humanitarian commitments
  3. Leaving no one behind and the political construction needs and vulnerability
  4. Unpacking the localization move: actors, dynamics and impacts

Interested participants are welcome to submit a 500 word abstract proposal addressing one of the above-mentioned themes. Abstracts should address the theme of the conference through a theoretical or empirical approach. Participants are encouraged to be explicit about a) the research question or problem structuring their contribution b) the theoretical framework of their analysis and c) their methodology. Abstracts should be submitted by email to humanitarian-conference@rug.nl.

The deadline for submitting paper is on January 6th. Decisions on acceptance will be made by January 10th. Draft papers are expected by March 15th.

After the conference the best papers / presentations will be selected by the organizing team for publication in a special issue of the Journal of International Humanitarian Action.

New edited volume: Status and the Rise of Brazil

Esteves, P., et al., 2020. Status and the Rise of Brazil: Global Ambitions, Humanitarian Engagement and International Challenges. London: Palgrave Macmillan

The book is edited by Paulo Esteves, Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert and Benjamin de Carvalho, and explores the evolution of Brazilian foreign relations in the last fifteen years, with a special emphasis on its engagements in international cooperation, broadly seen. The edited volume has three thematic focus areas: diplomacy, international peace and security, and international development cooperation. Drawing on a wide range of methodologies, the book presents a combination of different approaches that seek to address how Brazil’s international ambitions can be understood in the light of shifting domestic contexts; explore Brazil’s investment in different types of foreign aid, from development aid to assistance in humanitarian emergencies; and consider Brazil’s view and approaches to foreign aid, humanitarian assistance and international peacekeeping operations.

About the editors:

Paulo Esteves is Associate Professor in the Institute of International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert is Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway, where she is Research Director of the Dimensions of Security Department, and Director of the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies (NCHS).

Benjamin de Carvalho is Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) in Oslo, Norway. 

The edited volume is an output of the BraGS project, funded by the Research Council of Norway’s LATINAMERIKA program. The BraGS project was led by Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert (PRIO), including the participation of co-editors Benjamin de Carvalho (NUPI) and Paulo Esteves (IRI PUC Rio). The book includes contributions from BraGS project members Eduarda Hamann (Igarapé Institute) and Torkjell Leira (independent), as well as several other contributors.

Read more about the book here.

Strenghtening competencies for humanitarian negotiations

NCHS researcher Kristoffer Lidén (PRIO) participates in a professional roundtable on the development of competencies of humanitarian organizations for negotiations at the frontlines organized by the Center for Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN) in Berlin 26-27 November. For a detailed program, with introductions to the different topics addressed, see here.

Speakers included H.E. Dr. Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance, Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Grainne Ohara, Director of International Protection, UNHCR, Rehan Asad, Chief of Staff, World Food Programme (WFP) and Claude Bruderlein, Director of CCHN. The event also featured a launch of the 2019 version of the CCHN Field Manual on Humanitarian Negotiations, which can be read here.

Antonio De Lauri to give Jorge Dias Memorial Lecture at University of Lisbon

Antonio De Lauri, Senior Researcher at CMI and co-director of the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies, is to give the Jorge Dias Memorial Lecture on 21 November 2019 at The Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas (ISCSP), University of Lisbon. The lecture is titled “Negotiated Humanitarianism: Diplomacy, Compromise and Principles in Complex Emergencies”.

Read more here.  

Kristin Bergtora Sandvik on ‘Humanitarian wearables and digital bodies’ at University of Oxford

On Wednesday 13 November 2019, Kristin Bergtora Sandvik (PRIO/University of Oslo) spoke at a seminar hosted by The Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, titled “Humanitarian wearables and digital bodies: problems of gifts and labour”.

Sandvik is a professor of legal sociology at the Faculty of Law, University of Oslo and a Research Professor in Humanitarian Studies at PRIO, and the coordinator for the Humanitarianism research group. She has previously been the Director for the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies. Her research agenda focuses on the development of a political and legal sociology of humanitarianism.

Read Sandvik’s most recent blog posts on the NCHS blog on the weaponization of killer trucks, new directions in humanitarian governance, and protecting children’s digital bodies through rights.

NCHS Annual Lecture 2019 by Morten Rostrup now available

This year’s NCHS Annual Lecture was given by Professor Morten Rostrup, senior physician at the Department of Acute Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo. In addition to being a specialist in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine, Rostrup has 23 years of experience in medical humanitarian action, and has been working with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in numerous war zones, epidemics and natural disasters.

For the Annual Lecture, Morten Rostrup asked: Is independent medical humanitarian assistance possible in today’s conflicts? The lecture features comments by discussant Dorothea Hilhorst (ISS, Erasmus University in the Hague), and introduction by Andrea Silkoset (PRIO). Watch the recording here.

Åpen for nominasjoner: Chr. Michelsens pris for fremragende utviklingsforskning

Hvem har skrevet den beste artikkelen innen utviklingsforskning?
Chr. Michelsens pris for fremragende utviklingsforskning (kr 50 000) skal synliggjøre og inspirere til utviklingsrelatert forskning av høy kvalitet og relevans.

Nå kan du nominere bidragene som har utmerket seg i 2018/2019. Vinneren blir tildelt Chr. Michelsens pris for fremragende utviklingsforskning.

Prisen tildeles forskere under 40 år for fremragende vitenskapelig artikkel innen utviklingsrelaterte studier. Arbeidet bedømmes etter vitenskapelig kvalitet og relevans. Prisen skal fortrinnsvis benyttes til vitenskapelige formål.

Kandidater til prisen kan nomineres av enkeltpersoner eller institusjoner innen 31. januar 2020. Kandidater må ha bopel i Norge og/eller være norsk statsborger.  Arbeider som nomineres til prisen må være publisert i løpet av de to foregående år. Arbeider som ble publisert i 2018 eller 2019 kan nomineres til prisen i 2020. Nominering skjer til styret.

Prisen tildeles på CMIs årsfest i Universitetsaulaen i Bergen 16. mars.

Les mer om prisen og nominer på
http://www.chrmichelsenspris.no/.