The regional conference is part of the Humanitarian Policy Group/Overseas Development Institute (HPG/ODI) research project 'Global history of modern humanitarian action', which aims to identify and understand the principal changes in policy, practice and institutional architecture that the humanitarian sector has undergone over the course of the twentieth century. It is part of an effort to ensure that the analysis of the humanitarian sector’s history is more inclusive and representative of various regional perspectives. This agenda is particularly important at a time when the humanitarian sector is seeking to engage more actively with non-Western actors involved in humanitarian action, including national governments, militaries and civil society in the global South.
The aim of the conference is to improve understandings of the history of humanitarianism across the region of the Middle East and North Africa, the key events creating humanitarian need, the type of responses and actors involved and how these have changed over time, linking them to current dynamics of humanitarian action. It will draw upon the work of academics and experts who have engaged in humanitarian research. The studies will explore events and responses to humanitarian needs in the past and examine their connection and relevance to the present.