SOAS University of London

Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice

The Evolution of Humanitarianism

Much has changed in humanitarianism in the last 40 years. From a small, volunteer driven sector dominated by the ICRC, humanitarianism is now big business and several large international NGOs have budgets of more than $1 billion and are essential parts of international society’s response to any major crisis, natural or of human creation. Is this a shift towards transnational humanitarian ‘firms’? Are we witnessing the growth of corporate humanitarians? Have these INGOs become part of the global security agenda of liberal democracies?  through providing what is essentially the beginnings of a global welfare state service.  How have policy and purpose evolved during these decades? What do humanitarians and development specialists actually doing when they undertake humanitarian acts? We aim to foster both qualitative and quantitative research to aid data construction and analytical clarity in answering many of these questions.