‘Archival work and meetings at ICRC vital aspect of the Academy’ – Second Week of GHRA 2015 in Geneva

After the first week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2015 travelled for a week of research training and discussion with ICRC members to the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.

DSCN5071GHRA participants in the ICRC Archives

The First Day at Geneva started with an introduction to the public archives and library resources by ICRC staff. Jean-Luc Blondel, former Delegate, Head of Division, and currently Adviser to the Department of Communication and Information Management welcomed the group. Daniel Palmieri, the Historical Research Officer at the ICRC, and
Fabrizio Bensi, Archivist, explained the development of the holdings, particularly of the recently opened records from 1966-1975. The Librarian Veronique Ziegenhagen introduced the library with its encompassing publications on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, Humanitarian Action, international conflicts and crises. The ICRC also possesses a superb collection of photographs and films which Fania Khan Mohammad, Photo archivist, and Marina Meier, Film archivist explained.

In the afternoon, the GHRA group had the chance to discuss with Jacques Moreillon, Director General of the ICRC between 1984 and 1988. He gave a presentation on his long experience with special insights into Red Cross prison visits with political detainees. Dr Moreillon was one of the ICRC delegates to visit Nelson Mandela on Robben Island and shared his vivid memories with the participants.

GHRA 2015_110Jacques Moreillon, Honorary Member of the ICRC, at the GHRA 2015

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New Cooperation with icrchistory

New developments! On the occaison of our second week of the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2015 at the ICRC Archives in Geneva we agreed on a cooperation with the ICRC History blog. Thus, in the future you will find essential and topical information on our blog about one of the oldest humanitarian organizations.

DSCN5116Armband worn by Dr. Louis Appia on various battlefields, 1864,

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum Geneva

The aim of icrchistory is to present:

“The ICRC’s collections of books, sound recordings, films, videos and photos illustrate and document the activities of the ICRC from the end of the 19th century up to the present day, in all operational contexts. These archives and library have been continually expanded over more than 150 years and today represent a significant heritage in the field of humanitarian law and action. They preserve the memory of victims of armed conflicts and other situations of violence to which the ICRC has responded throughout its history.”

Additionally we would like point to these links which provide further information on the ICRC history.

ARCHIVE ROOM:
https://www.icrc.org/eng/who-we-are/history/150-years/

INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW DATABASE:
https://www.icrc.org/en/icrc-databases-international-humanitarian-law

LIBRARY:
http://www.cid.icrc.org/library/

WEB ARCHIVES:
https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/icrc-archives/

Enjoy discovering the multiple aspects of the rich history of the ICRC!

First Week of the GHRA 2015

After the first part the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2015 at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz the next week of academic training will take place at the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.

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Participants of the GHRA 2015

On Day One recent research and fundamental concepts of global humanitarianism were critically reviewed. Participants discussed crucial texts on the historiography of humanitarianism and human rights. Themes included the historical emergence of humanitarianism since the eighteenth century and the troubled relationship between humanitarianism, human rights, and humanitarian intervention. Further, twentieth century conjunctures of humanitarian aid and the colonial entanglements of human rights were discussed. Finally, recent scholarship on the genealogies of the politics of humanitarian protection and human rights since the 1970s was assessed, also with a view on the challenges for the 21st century.

During Day Two, participants presented their own Ph.D. and Postdoc projects while getting constructive collective Feedback. These projects showcased the richness and variety of research currently undertaken by a new generation of academics who are set to make a critical contribution to the field.

Day Three was reserved for the guest lecture by Professor Michael Geyer from the University of Chicago, who was talking on the Topic:  “Humanitarianism, Humanitarian Law, and Human Rights: A Difficult Relationship”. The ensuing lively discussion was enriched by the former Head of the ICRC Archives Jean-Luc Blondel who has been an ICRC delegate since 1982 and is a former regional delegate in Buenos Aires and special advisor to the previous ICRC president. During the afternoon, there was also the opportunity for individual tutorials by the GHRA leaders and free study time.

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Michael Geyer, University of Chicago

During Day Four & Five the GHRA worked on the Online Atlas of Humanitarianism. This is an open access publication by the GHRA participants from successive years. The Online Atlas of Humanitarianism will consist of an interactive world map displaying ca. 50 locations in Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe, where significant events took place and shaped the development of humanitarianism and human rights in a crucial way. It will define key terms of both research fields and will display the worldwide entanglement of various places across geographical borders and historical epochs.The Online Atlas addresses a broader public. It is a valuable resource for those engaged in the field of humanitarian action and human rights as well as students and academics.

The GHRA 2015 is now travelling to Geneva to continue with archival research at the ICRC Archives.

Fabian Klose       Johannes Paulmann      Andrew Thompson

 ExeterIEGICRCghil

First GHRA, 13-24 July 2015

In about four weeks the first Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) will meet for one week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz before continuing with archival research at the ICRC Archives in Geneva.The Research Academy addresses early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.

Poster GHRA

The GHRA received a huge amount of applications from an extremely talented group of scholars from more than fifteen different countries around the world. The selection committee considered each proposal very carefully and has selected these participants for the GHRA 2015:

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The Future of the Past: Shining the Light of History on the Challenges Facing Principled Humanitarian Action

Cross-Posted from imperialglobalexeter

Andrew Thompson History Department, University of Exeter

Even as Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world mark the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the movement’s Fundamental Principles, there is a palpable sense that they are at risk. Threatened not only by the resurgence of state sovereignty and proliferation of non-state armed groups, the very universality of the principles may be in question. As the twenty-first century draws on, are the principles of ‘impartiality’, ‘neutrality’ and ‘independence’ still fit for purpose as Western influence wanes and the nature of conflict itself rapidly evolves?

The Red Cross’ principles have marinated in a century and a half of humanitarian history. That history matters. The past helps us to understand how different types of threat to humanitarian principles have emerged from different types of conflict and geopolitical environments. History also sheds light on how, despite such obstacles, the principles came to acquire the public prominence and moral authority they currently possess.

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Food distribution, Pakistan. ICRC / Muhammad, N.

Where did the Fundamental Principles come from?

The principles were first articulated by the Swiss jurist and co-founder of the international Red Cross, Gustave Moynier. His four principles of the 1870s ‒ ‘centralisation’, ‘foresight’, ‘mutuality’ and ‘solidarity’ ‒ were more firmly focused around the role of the national societies and their relation to the ICRC and each other.

Right from the get-go, the idea of giving aid based purely on the needs of the suffering, irrespective of religious, ethnic or political affiliation, was built into the Geneva Conventions. Article 6 of the 1864 Convention stated that wounded or sick combatants would be collected and cared for regardless of nationality.

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Humanitarianism & the Media

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At St Antony’s College Oxford, the Richard von Weizsäcker fellow organizes a conference on humanitarianism and aid. The meeting takes place at the European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, on 19 -20 June 2015. It focuses on the media as an essential feature of the history of humanitarianism. Contributors discuss both the role of the media in humanitarian activities, and the imagery produced in print or on screen. Scholars from history, media studies, and anthropology present recent research with a view on the visual discourse, the meanings and materiality of the images since the beginning of the 20th century. Critically considering the medialisation of the humanitarian, they analyse the interaction between humanitarian agencies and media actors.

Speakers and topics:
(Detailed Programme Hum & Media 2015)

Johannes Paulmann (Oxford/ Mainz)
Introduction

I Humanitarian Imagery

Katharina Stornig (Mainz)
Promoting Distant Children in Need: Christian Imagery in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Rose Holmes (Sussex)
‘Make the situation real to us without stressing the horrors’: Children, photography and British humanitarianism in the Spanish Civil War

Daniel Palmieri (ICRC, Geneva)
Humanitarianism on the Screen: The ICRC Films from the 1920’s to the 1960’s

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History in the Making: An @ICRC Interview with Andrew Thompson

Cross-Posted from CIGH Exeter 

ICRC

ICRC Headquarters, Geneva.

Malcolm Lucard
Cross-posted from Red Cross Red Crescent Magazine

Internal records from the ICRC’s archives concerning the conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s shed light on a decisive era for humanitarian action.

In a small room in the basement of ICRC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, historian Andrew Thompson methodically pours through folders full of documents — typewritten mission reports, confidential telegrams and hand-written letters — never before seen by people outside the ICRC.

“It is a process of discovery,” says Thompson, a professor of history at Exeter University in the United Kingdom. “There is a sense of expectation and anticipation not knowing what is going to be there. For a historian, it’s a bit like opening a birthday present, or like going into a candy shop.”

The ‘candy shop’ in this case is the ICRC archives, where Thompson is exploring 40- to 50-year-old records to be released to the public in January 2015 under the ICRC’s policy of making internal documents public in blocks of ten years once 40 years have passed since the events they describe.

Aside from exciting Thompson’s intellectual curiosity, these records offer a deeper understanding of conflicts going on between 1965 and 1975. In particular, they give insight into an area of great interest to Thompson, who took an early look at the records in order to pursue research on the evolution of international humanitarian law and human rights law as they pertain to the treatment of political detainees in non-international conflicts.

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Reminder: CfA for Global Humanitarianism Research Academy open until 31 December 2014

We, Fabian Klose, Johannes Paulmann, and Andrew Thompson, would like to remind you that the Call for Applications for the first Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2015 is still open until 31 December 2014.

The international Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) offers research training to advanced PhD candidates and early postdocs. It combines academic sessions at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz and the Imperial and Global History Centre at the University of Exeter with archival sessions at the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The Research Academy addresses early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.

 Poster GHRA

The Research Academy invites applications for the 2015 Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) from PhD students and early postdocs. The Steering Committee will select up to 12 participants. Applicants must be able to certify that they are fluent in both written and spoken English, the Academy’s working language. For researching the ICRC archives a fair command of reading French is desirable in order to use the finding aids as well as the material. Continue reading

CfA: Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA)

 

Academy Leaders:   

Fabian Klose (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz)

Johannes Paulmann (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz)

Andrew Thompson (University of Exeter)

in co-operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)

and with support by the German Historical Institute London

Venues:                  

Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz

and Archives of the International Committee of Red Cross Geneva

Date:                       13-24 July 2015

Deadline:                31 December 2014

Information on:      http://hhr.hypotheses.org/ and http://imperialglobalexeter.com/

The international Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy (GHRA) offers research training to advanced PhD candidates and early postdocs. It combines academic sessions at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz and the Imperial and Global History Centre at the University of Exeter with archival sessions at the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The Research Academy addresses early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.

Exeter    IEG    ICRC       ghil

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Q&A: What Can Red Cross Records Say About History of Humanitarianism & Human Rights?

Cross-posted from http://imperialglobalexeter.com/

15/09/14

An Imperial & Global Forum Interview

Professor Richard Toye (RT) interviews Centre Director Andrew Thompson (AT). Professor Thompson recently returned from an archival visit to the ICRC and would like to thank Jean-Luc Blondel and his colleagues for their assistance and guidance.

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RT: Andrew, you’ve recently come back from Geneva, where you’ve been doing some archival research. What were you looking at and why?

AT: I was looking at two sets of files in the archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross that have not yet been publicly released. The first on the Nigeria-Biafran War – a watershed in the history of the ICRC as well as a conflict that has been aptly described as the “crucible of modern humanitarianism”. I hope to be the first scholar to reconstruct in detail what one of the largest post-war relief operations actually looked and felt like on the ground. Second, I was looking at their files related to Aden as part of a parallel interest in the relationship between humanitarianism and human rights and the ICRC’s work on behalf of political detainees. Aden brought to a head many issues regarding the status of such detainees that had been simmering for several years.

RT: Stephanie Decker has recently suggested that historians need to be more explicit about how and why they use archives in order to help explain their work to people in other disciplines.[1] What are the advantages of this kind of evidence for understanding the problems of humanitarianism? Continue reading

The ICRC Archives is Opening its Records from 1966-1975

Dr. Jean-Luc Blondel, Head of the Archives and Information Management Division, International Committee of the Red Cross

Cross-posted from http://imperialglobalexeter.com/

25/08/14

Biafra ICRCNigeria. Biafra conflict. M’Baise province (team 16). Arrival of relief supplies. Public 1969 © CICR / WITH, R.

Since its founding in 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been aware of the importance of keeping a record of its work and of its legacy – in the form of paper and audiovisual archives – to preserve the memories and knowledge of its past and to lay the foundation for its current and future work. Over time, the organization has amassed an outstanding and unique collection that encompasses its own history as well as the history of international humanitarian law and humanitarian action in general.

In January 1996, the ICRC decided to open its archives to the public in broad chronological sections at a time. By shortening the protective embargo on its archives, the ICRC was able to open the 1951-1965 records in 2004, thereby adding to the sources in its collection available for consultation by the public. From January 2015, the 1966-1975 archives will also be open to outside researchers. Continue reading

ICRC Exhibition “Humanizing War?”

On the occasion of the founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1863, and the signing of the first Geneva Convention in 1864, Geneva’s museums of art and history are presenting the exhibition “Humanizing War? ICRC – 150 years of humanitarian action“. The aim of this major exhibition is to show the various challenges the  ICRC has faced at different times and in the light of parallel developments in the nature of conflicts and violence.

ICRC

The concept of the exhibition is to focus on humanitarian action by the ICRC over 150 years by showing the development of:

• conflicts and the context of violence;

• the identities of victims and the kinds of violence they suffer;

• the ICRC’s work methods and resources, both technical and human. Continue reading

Public Lecture: “Humanitarian Action in an Uncertain World” by Dr. Jean-Luc Blondel (ICRC, Geneva)

Dr. Jean-Luc Blondel , Chef de Division, Archives et gestion de l’information at the International Commitee of Red Cross in Geneva, will speak at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz on the topic “Humanitarian Action in an Uncertain World. Challenges for the International Committee of the Red Cross”.

This public lecture will take place on Tuesday, 20th May 2014, at 06:30 p.m.

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The entrance is free and guests are welcome!

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United Nations History Project and Human Rights

The United Nations and international organizations in general are a growing field of historical interest and research. The United Nations History Project coordinated by Heidi J. S. Tworek, Lecturer on History and Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University, provides a great starting point for every scholar who wants to research in UN archives and seeks to find online materials related to the United Nations. The website collates various research guides concerning the United Nations, offers syllabi and teaching material on UN topics as well as timelines, bibliographies and various sources on thirteen major UN history themes. The project seeks to connect scholars and archivists as well as to list existing academic networks for those working on similar topics. Thus, the project explicitly welcomes “contributions relating to archives, scholarly networks, and syllabi in English and other UN languages.”

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