A humanitarian Nobel? A blog series on the WFP Prize in context

The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP) for “its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, and food insecurity and food aid are much-discussed topics in humanitarian studies. How does food aid affect humanitarian situations where it is provided by international actors like WFP? How to avoid that food aid is instrumentalized in conflict settings? Further, WFP has in recent years been both praised and criticized for its approach to innovation, new technologies and digitization. While shifts from ‘food’ to ‘cash’ are recognized as important innovations, the use of digital technologies come with significant challenges in humanitarian and conflict settings.

In the WFP Nobel blog series, we examine the implications of the award and critically engage in debates on food (in)security, food aid, innovation and technology and the WFP as a humanitarian actor.

You may read the first blog post in the series titled A Nobel for the WFP: A non-political Peace Prize for humanitarian multilateralism? by clicking the embedded link. More posts will follow in the time to come and be made available at the NCHS blog.

Are you interested in contributing to the series? Reach out to NCHS Director Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert at margab@prio.org or to NCHS Coordinator Andrea Silkoset at andsil@prio.org.

Watch recording of seminar on humanitarian negotiations with armed groups

If you missed the online seminar The Frontlines of Diplomacy: Humanitarian Negotiations with Armed Groups, organized by NCHS, CMI and Bergen Global on 1 October, you may now access a video recording of the event.

Humanitarians operate on the frontlines of today’s armed conflicts, where they regularly negotiate to provide assistance and to protect vulnerable civilians. This can be understood as humanitarians actively engaging in humanitarian diplomacy. Compared to traditional forms of diplomacy by state-diplomats, particularly the frontline humanitarians typically negotiate from a position of weakness. What kind of challenges humanitarians face at the frontlines of diplomacy with armed groups? Then, what strategies and tactics are available for humanitarians to overcome the power asymmetric?

The seminar featured a presentation by Ashley Jonathan Clements, and comments by Marte Nilsen and Salla Turunen. A full video recording is available below.

Vacancy at Norwegian Centre for Human Rights: Full time, 2-year project assistant position for project portfolio on refugees and migration

Full-time, 2-year position available as Research Assistant at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. Deadline to apply is 2 October.

The research assistant will assist in the implementation of the project portfolio of Professor Maja Janmyr. Her on-going projects investigate the implementation of the international refugee regime in the Middle East (particularly Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia), as well as in Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The projects are financed by the European Research Council (ERC) and the Research Council of Norway (RCN). Research methods include empirical fieldwork and the analysis of legal and other written sources. Currently, three projects are being researched within this portfolio:

The successful candidate will be based at the NCHR as part of a team of researchers and work closely with the project leader, Professor Maja Janmyr. The research assistant is expected to contribute actively in the different stages of the research process and carry out administrative tasks as listed below:

  • Collect written sources and create and manage databases.
  • Assist in financial management and reporting on the above-mentioned projects.
  • Assist in the day-to-day following-up of the project network
  • Assist in the production of various printed and online publications including academic articles and blog posts. This also entails responsibility for maintaining various social media accounts and webpages associated with the projects.
  • Assist in the organization of meetings, seminars and conferences.
  • Complete miscellaneous tasks as agreed with the project leader.

The list of responsibilities is indicative, and the work description will be adjusted according to the skills and qualifications of the person employed.

We are seeking a person who is flexible, and who enjoys taking on new challenges. As a research assistant, you will be expected to handle a range of different tasks throughout your workday, and to execute them systematically and with attention to quality and detail. The successful candidate must be able to work both independently and as part of a team.

Requirements for the position:

  • A Master’s degree in international human rights, law, sociology, political science (or other relevant social science fields). The applicant must have passed the final exam(s) and delivered the master’s dissertation for evaluation.
  • Excellent ICT skills (especially Microsoft Word and Excel, and web/social media platforms).
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills, with an ability to show initiative and work independently.
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • Work and residence permit in Norway.

Desirable skills for the position include:

  • Proficiency in Norwegian.
  • Relevant experience from research in the field of migration and refugee studies.
  • Experience of budget management and research administration.

We offer:

  • Salary scale NOK 456.400 based on full time position (Job Code 1020 Research Assistant with a master’s degree).
  • Flexible working hours, but with a regular work schedule.
  • Working space at the NCHR in attractive premises in central Oslo.
  • Group life insurance and membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.


The application must be submitted electronically to the applications@nchr.uio.no. Please indicate in the “subject”-field: “RESEARCH ASSISTANT”. Please attach only documents in doc, pdf, odf or rtf format.

Applications should be written in English and include:

  • Application letter (not more than 2 pages) describing your interest in the field of migration and refugee studies and your specific reasons for applying for this particular position.
  • CV listing relevant education including list of grades, experience, qualifications.
  • An example of written work (such as a master’s dissertation or other publication).
  • Names and contact details of two referees.

Application deadline: 2 October 2020. The most qualified applicants will be invited to an interview. We aim at concluding the recruiting process in October.

Start/end date: The Research Assistant is a 100 % full time, temporary position for the period of two years. The starting date is as soon as possible but no later than 1 January 2021. A six-month trial period is applicable.


Questions regarding the position may be addressed to: Professor Maja Janmyr (maja.janmyr@nchr.uio.no) or Head of administration Teis Daniel Kjelling (t.d.kjelling@nchr.uio.no or phone 22842012).

Watch recorded seminar on the relationship between peace operations and humanitarian assistance

If you missed the online seminar The relationship between peace operations and humanitarian assistance: enabling or harmful?, organized by NCHS and the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) on 9 September, you may now access a video recording of the event.

Peace operations are one of the most important international mechanisms for contemporary conflict management and are often undertaken in places which faces the worst humanitarian crises in the world. It is thus common that their mandates include providing protection and assistance to humanitarian actors and assistance efforts. How effective is the support provided by peace operations to humanitarian assistance? Has UN operations unwittingly caused harm in some situations? Have humanitarian actors put peacekeepers in harm’s way or otherwise complicated their ability to achieve their mandates? How does humanitarian and peacekeeping actors coexist, coordinate and cooperate in different country settings?

The seminar featured case studies presented by Carlo Koos (CMI), Lise Morjé Howard (Georgetown & EPON) and Natasja Rupesinghe (NUPI & EPON), comments by Kari Osland (NUPI) and Kristoffer Lidén (PRIO) and was moderated by Cedric de Coning (ACCORD & NUPI). A full video recording is available below.

Humanitarian dictionary edited by Antonio De Lauri now available

The book Humanitarianism: Keywords, edited by Antonio De Lauri, is a comprehensive dictionary designed to serve practitioners, students and researchers when navigating the conceptual universe of humanitarianism.

The dictionary is open access, and includes contributions from several researchers associated with NCHS. You may access Humanitarianism: Keywords by clicking this link.

Open Position at PRIO: Senior Research Fellow With the AidAccount Project

PRIO has a vacancy for a two-year, full-time Senior Research Fellow (Post-Doc) position under the project Holding Aid Accountable: Relational Humanitarianism in Protracted Crisis (AidAccount), funded by the Research Council of Norway. The project team will collaborate with NCHS where relevant.

Working within the fields of social sciences or humanities, the candidate to be employed in this project will conduct fieldwork-based research focused on how accountability is understood and practiced by (local and transnational) citizens in complex and protracted humanitarian crises. The case to be explored by the Senior Research Fellow is the recurrent famines in Somalia. This work will result in two co-authored articles in English and a policy brief.

Applications are due October 2.

For more information about applying, click here.

Video recording available from the seminar ‘The Corona Crisis as a Humanitarian Problem’

On Thursday 20 August, the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) and NCHS jointly organized an online seminar on power structures and the study of humanitarian action, using the recent experiences from the pandemic as an entry point for discussion.

You may now watch a video recording of the event, available here.

Speakers included Dorothea Hilhorst (ISS), Mihir Bhatt (All India Disaster Mitigation Institute), Tanya Wood (CHS Alliance), and Kristoffer Lidén (PRIO).

Summary from roundtable discussion on protection of civilians in urban warfare

Many of today’s conflicts take place in urban areas where military targets are located close to civilians and civilian infrastructure. Explosive weapons, originally designed for open battlefields, are being used in cities and other populated areas. Targeting of civilian persons and objects is in direct violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects will, even if directed towards military targets, challenge fundamental IHL principles. These types of explosives carry high risk of collateral civilian losses and destruction of critical civilian infrastructure, which could have serious and long-lasting consequences for the civilian population.

In light of the process surrounding a political declaration to address the humanitarian harm arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas organized by Ireland, the Norwegian Red Cross organized a roundtable discussion with central Norwegian actors on 5 March 2020 in collaboration with PRIO and NCHS. The objective of the meeting was to coordinate and strengthen the Norwegian contribution to the process.

To read a summary of the discussions at the meeting (in Norwegian), click the link below.

PRIO Global Fellows with expertise in humanitarian studies

We are pleased to announce that Larissa Fast (University of Manchester) has been awarded the PRIO Global Fellowship, and that Dorothea Hilhorst (ISS) has had her PRIO Global Fellowship renewed. PRIO Global Fellows are academics with strong scholarly records and a commitment to the research agenda on peace and conflict. They all have their main positions elsewhere but work closely with PRIO researchers and regularly spend time in Oslo. Given the thematic expertise of these two scholars, they will also be cooperating with NCHS.

Larissa Fast is Senior Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies HCRI, University of Manchester. Her research addresses two fundamental problems: how best to protect civilians, particularly those who intervene in violent conflict, and how to make such intervention more effective, ethical, and responsive to local needs and circumstances.

​​​Dorothea Hilhorst is Professor of Humanitarian Aid & Reconstruction at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University in The Hague. Hilhorst’s research interests concern aid–society relations and development aspects of disasters, conflict and humanitarian aid, and the interactions between them.

We look forward to cooperating with these great academics.

“Kampen mot Korona: hva med flyktninger og asylsøkere?” Webinar 15. april

Onsdag 15. april arrangerer Det juridiske fakultet i OsloPRIO og Det juridiske fakultet i Bergen et webinar om de langsiktige menneskerettslige, rettssikkerhetsmessige og rettsstatlige konsekvensene av koronaepidemien for mennesker på flukt.


  • Hva er de største truslene mot flyktninger og asylsøkeres rettssikkerhet?
  • Hva må til for at korona-innskrenkningene ikke skal bli permanente?
  • Skaper koronaepidemien et mulighetsrom for å tenke nytt om norsk politikk og internasjonale institusjoners praksis?



Teknisk moderator

Følg webinaret på Zoom den 15. april fra 10:00 – 11:00: https://uio.zoom.us/j/458103734

Klikk her for full arrangementbeskrivelse.