The International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA), which is hosted at the Humanitarian Studies Centre at ISS, held its biennial conference at the beginning of November in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Held in collaboration with North-South University (NSU), and the Insights Network, the three-day conference featured a huge range of presentations and panel discussions on everything from migration, conflict, humanitarian education; and much more besides. The conference was also an opportunity to elect a new President and Board Members for the Association.
The International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA), brings together both researchers and practitioners from across the Humanitarian Studies spectrum and its related ‘sister’ subjects: including conflict studies, migration studies, environmental sciences; and international relations. The Association was founded in 2009 by a group of researchers including Dorothea Hilhorst (ISS), who stood down as the third president at the conference. IHSA has plenty of activities and opportunities for members, including working groups and expertise databases, but one of its biggest activities is the biennial conference.
This time, the conference was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, (and online!) and featured over 300 attendees. It highlighted over 60 different panels and roundtables held on a range of subjects including: “Filling the gap or filling the shoes? Civil society and political change in historical disasters”, “Who or what constitutes the Humanitarian?”, “Building locally led solidarities over shrinking space for civil society”, and “Humanitarian action in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC): Its governance and peculiarities in the region”. You can check out the full list and schedule here, while various recordings of the roundtables will be available on the IHSA YouTube channel in the near future.
New President and Board Members elected
Antonio De Lauri (Chr. Michelsen Institute, Oslo) was elected by the IHSA Members as the new IHSA President, and will lead the Association for the next four years.
In a commendation speech, the outgoing President, Dorothea Hilhorst (ISS) said: “I’m delighted that Antonio will be leading the International Humanitarian Studies Association for the next few years: he is an excellent academic – a formidable intellectual that has a strong track record in field research in humanitarian arenas. He is a great networker and I am convinced he will be a wonderful IHSA President. I look forward to him working with the new board to bring the Association to a broader audience and take the IHSA community to become yet more meaningful to its members.”
Dorothea Hilhorst – one of the founding members of IHSA in 2009 – was the third President of IHSA after Alex de Waal and Peter Walker whom she succeeded in 2016. IHSA will now be hosted at the Humanitarian Studies Centre in The Hague, and will benefit from two new staff members, increasing the capacity of the organization exponentially. An exciting programme of events and initiatives is planned for the coming years.
New Board Members
Members of the Association also voted for new Board members to join the 10-person board. Palash Kamruzzaman (University of South Wales), Carla Vitantonio (CARE), and Juan Ricardo Aparicio Cuervo (Universidade de Los Andes) were newly elected, whilst Rodrigo Mena (ISS) and Andrew Cunningham were both re-elected. Board members serve for four years, and the newly elected members now join existing members Susanne Jaspars (SOAS, University of London), Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), Patrick Milabyo Kyamusugulwa (ISTM-Bukavu), and Maryam Zarnegar Deloffre (George Washington University).
Mohamed Jelle (UCL) and Virginie Troit (Fondation Croix-Rouge) have left the board following the end of their terms; IHSA would like to thank them for their work and dedication over the last four years.
The International Humanitarian Studies Association welcomes new members: students, researchers, and practitioners from across the world of Humanitarian Studies. You can find out more about member benefits by visiting the IHSA website.
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About the author:
Tom Ansell is the Coordinator of the Humanitarian Studies Centre and International Humanitarian Studies Association.
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