Past Event

The Turn to Resilience in Humanitarian Aid

5 June 2017 13:00–14:30

Institute of Development Studies,
University of Sussex, Brighton, East Sussex

Although some aspects of aid never seem to change, the author maintains that we are currently experiencing a significant turn in humanitarian aid. Whereas some changes are enabled by technological innovations, such as the use of digital payment systems or drones.

Humanitarian aid, however, used to be framed around the idea of a strict separation between crisis and normality. Such a separation is deeply engrained in legal and cultural norms worldwide. Humanitarian aid clearly belonged in the realm of crisis and exceptionality, serving as a temporary stop-gap for needs triggered by a specific crisis. For several decades, voices from aid workers on the ground and critical academic research have fiercely challenged this view. In the last decade, however, this dominant notion has begun to shift spectacularly. This began in the realm of disaster relief, where the resilience of local people and communities and the importance of local response mechanisms became the core of the Hyogo Framework for Action in 2004.

The lecture discusses this trend and addresses some pertinent concerns on the basis of current refugee care in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.?

About the speaker

Dorothea Hilhorst is professor of humanitarian aid and reconstruction at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. She directs several research programmes dealing with state-aid-society relations in settings affected by conflict and/or disaster. She is the president of the International Humanitarian Studies Association.  

Hilhorst has published widely in her field. Her most recent book is People, Aid and Institutions in Socio-Economic Recovery. Facing Fragilities. It was published earlier this year as part of the series Routledge Humanitarian Studies.


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