Actions and Detail Panel
Histories of Humanitarian Action
Fri 19 May 2017, 17:30 – 20:30 BST
This HCRI Event brings together three authors who have recently published works on the history of humanitarian action:
- Martin Barber, former UN Official, speaking about his book "Blinded by Humanity: inside the UN's Humanitarian Operations" (2015)
- Eleanor Davey, HCRI academic, speaking about her book “Idealism beyond Borders: The French Revolutionary Left and the Rise of Humanitarianism, 1954-1988” (2015)
- Jean-Herve Bradol, MSF, speaking about his and Marc le Pape’s book “Humanitarian aid, genocide and mass killings” (2016)
Each author will use their book to reflect on historical moments in the humanitarian field and promote discussion on the lessons that can be learned for current and future humanitarian practice.
- 5.30 to 6.30: Each author to speak about their book followed by chair-led discussion
- 6.30 to 7.30: Questions from the audience
- 7.30 to 8.30: Drinks reception
Martin Barber (OBE)
Martin Barber was a senior UN official and has extensive experience in humanitarian affairs and peace operations – both at UN Headquarters and in the field. He is now a consultant and analyst working on humanitarian issues. In his book Martin examines major questions concerning the future of humanitarian response,drawing on personal/hands-on/practical experience in Laos, Thailand, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Abu Dhabi . He tells of internal struggles at head office and the challenges of working in the field.
Jean- Herve was President of MSF from 2002-2008 and is currently Director of Studies at the Centre de réflexion sur l'action et les savoirs humanitaires, Fondation Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris. Throughout the 1990s, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was forced to face the challenges posed by the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis and a succession of outbreaks of political violence in Rwanda and its neighbouring countries.. His book draws on various hitherto unpublished private and public archives to recount the experiences of the MSF teams working in the field.
Eleanor joined the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) in 2014 as a Lecturer in the History of Humanitarianism and was awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in the same year. From 2011-2014, she worked in the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute (HPG/ODI), where she led a project on the uses of history in humanitarian practice and policy. Her book studies the evolution of French responses to the ‘third world’, from radical political engagement to humanitarianism, with a focus on Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).