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World Development Information Day 2016

Global Humanitarianism Research

The General Assembly in 1972 instituted World Development Information Day to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them. The Global Humanitarianism Research Academy is an excellent example of an initiative with a comparable goal.

The importance of information regarding world development

Through scientific research, the humanitarian community obtains new insight regarding the history of humanitarianism and the evaluation of humanitarian work. The Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) offers research training to advanced PhD candidates and early postdocs. Therefore, trying to make sure proper and valuable academic research regarding humanitarianism is still being conducted in the future.

The Global Humanitarianism Research Academy is a two-week training course organized in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and with support by the German Historical Institute London. This year, it took place from July 11, 2016 to July 22, 2016 at the University of Exeter and the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. Eleven participants competed in a very competitive selection process. Eventually, a selection was made. Fellows from Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States were invited to discuss and review humanitarianism research and world development initiatives.

Multiple events were undertaken in the first week of the GHRA. Research and fundamental concepts of global humanitarianism and world development were critically reviewed by this new generation of promising academicians, stimulating critical thinking. These participants also presented their Ph.D. and Postdoc projects while getting constructive collective feedback, therefore trying to improve the quality of their work. Additionally, guest lectures were given, for example by Professor Richard Overy (University of Exeter), who presented a paper on: “To Bomb or Not to Bomb: Morality, Expediency and Necessity of British Bombing Campaign during the Second World War," discussing the morality of violent intervention.

One of the most exciting projects this group, and previous groups worked on is the Online Atlas on Humanitarianism and Human Rights. It’s an open access publication by the GHRA participants from successive years. The Online Atlas consists of an interactive world map displaying locations in Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe, where significant humanitarian events took place. It is a valuable resource for those engaged in the field of world development and human rights as well as students and academicians.

After the first week of academic training, the group traveled to the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva for a week of research training and discussion. They were first introduced to the public archives and library resources. In the following days, the participants of the GHRA worked intensively at the archives and library. They discovered the never-ending source of material in documents and audio-visual record, causing an increase in their research quality. The week was completed by discussions, guest lectures and working on individual projects.

We always say we’re proud of the compassionate, faith-based missionaries, volunteers and aid workers playing their roles to help those who need it most. But we can’t forget the scientists and academics trying to improve humanitarian work and world development by conducting thorough research. Be sure to browse through our daily updated News & Community section should you want to learn more about recent and historical humanitarian developments, such as the installment of humanitarian law.