The fourth Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) took place from July 09 to 20, 2018 at the University of Exeter and the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The GHRA was organized by FABIAN KLOSE (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz), JOHANNES PAULMANN (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz), and ANDREW THOMPSON (University of Exeter) in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and with support by the German Historical Institute London. The Steering Committee received a huge amount of applications for the GHRA 2018 from around the world and selected twelve fellows (nine PhD candidates, three Postdocs). The participants came from Canada, China, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States and represented a range of disciplinary approaches from History, International Relations, and Political Science. Additionally, the GHRA was joined by GUY THOMAS (ICRC Geneva), IRÈNE HERRMANN (University of Geneva), STACEY HYND (University of Exeter), MARC-WILLIAM PALEN (University of Exeter), and ANDREAS GESTRICH (German Historical Institute London).
On Day One, the participants started with discussing crucial texts on the historiography of humanitarianism and human rights. The common reading list included texts regarding the historical emergence of humanitarianism since the eighteenth century and the troubled relationship between humanitarianism, human rights, and international humanitarian law. Furthermore, the participants reflected on twentieth century conjunctures of humanitarian aid and the colonial entanglements of human rights as well as recent scholarship on the genealogies of the politics of humanitarian protection and human rights since the 1970s. In the evening, MARCUS GEISSER (ICRC, United Kingdom) gave a stimulating public guest lecture “The ‘present’ is never present – it is already past. Humanitarian action in an age of reorder” at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter, in which he reflected on his personal experiences as an ICRC delegate for twenty years in various conflicts around the world.