Humanitarian organisations across the globe face growing challenges in delivering aid, securing funds and maintaining public confidence. Trade-offs between sovereignty, democracy, security, development, identity and human rights have become highly complex. Self-appointed guardians of the public conscience are now also major sub-contractors of governments, sometimes critics of the very institutions they rely on for funds. The Herrenhausen Conference "Governing Humanitarianism" interrogates present issues and future directions for global humanitarian governance in relation to its pasts, highlighting lessons to be learned from historical events and practices. It asks if humanitarian expansion has come at the expense of core values and effective intervention, and how the pursuit of global equity and social justice can, and has been pursued through shifting global and local power structures. How can we rethink the future direction of humanitarian governance in the world? How can shifting power relations be reconciled with the pursuit of global equity and social justice? What would a different way of working, more attuned to the realities now faced by leaders of big global organisations, actually look like? What will be the characteristics of successful humanitarian international NGOs in ten years' time? The Herrenhausen Conference seeks to bridge the various gaps between disciplines, scholarship and practice as well as the national, international and global spheres of analysis. It actively involves early career scholars and established academics with leading members from the field of international action in the debate on the past, present, and future of global humanitarian governance.
"Governing Humanitarianism - Past, Present and Future" is part of the Herrenhausen Conference Series initiated by the Volkswagen Foundation.
Organizers: University of Oxford, University of Exeter, University of Cologne, Leibniz-Institute of European History Mainz, Volkswagen Foundation
"Governing Humanitarianism - Past, Present and Future"
September 13-15, 2020
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany
Six thematic parts structure the conference, each crucial for our understanding of the governance of humanitarianism, its past, present and future with regard to global equity and social justice. The panels will be inter/cross-disciplinary to promote conversation between different fields as well as practitioners/academics.
- Part I: Humanitarianism as Global Networks and Activism
- Part II: Gendering Humanitarianism
- Part III: Humanitarianism and International Law
- Part IV: Humanitarian Political Economy
- Part V: Media and Humanitarianism
- Part VI: Humanitarianism, Development and Global Human Rights
In addition, parallel workshops will address the following areas of pressing concern:
- Humanitarianism in Conflict Situations
- Refugee Protections
- Creating a New United Nations: Responsibility in Humanitarianism
- Climate Emergency Responses
- Humanitarian Advocacy Techniques
A detailed program can soon be found in the column on the right.
Travel Grants available
There was a call for travel grants. The deadline was March 15, 2020. Applying is no longer possible.
The conference language is English.
There are no fees for attendance but registration is essential. If you would like to attend the conference, please register by clicking on the registration link in the column on the right.
Venue and public transport The conference is held at Herrenhausen Palace, a modern conference center in Hanover, Germany. You can reach the venue by tram: Take line 4 or 5 and get off at "Herrenhäuser Gärten".
Accommodation for participants
Please note that you are responsible for booking your accommodation. As Hanover is a city that hosts many fairs, we recommend booking a hotel as soon as you register.
Please cancel your registration if you cannot attend the conference. We can offer your place to another person if you cannot attend. Simply use the registration tool to cancel or send us an email.
The Herrenhausen Conferences, organized by the Volkswagen Foundation at Herrenhausen Palace, a modern convention center, focus on scientific topics of high social impact that are of particular relevance to the present and future. The Herrenhausen Conferences address unanswered questions and unsolved problems and their relevance for society. They provide international experts as well as junior researchers with a platform for an intense interdisciplinary dialogue on exciting new areas of research and innovative methodological approaches.