Uptake & societal engagement - When Disaster Meets Conflict

Displaced persons in camp - When disaster meets conflict

With our international partners we work on collaborative projects, events, and publications.

KUNO is an initiative of ten NGOs and five Dutch knowledge institutes from the Dutch humanitarian sector. KUNO’s goal is to strengthen the humanitarian sector in the Netherlands.

We often organize events in the Hague together with KUNO, including conferences, round tables and debates. 

IHSA is a network engaged with the study of humanitarian crises caused by disaster, conflict or political instability. The secretary of the association is based at ISS in the Hague. Dorothea Hilhorst is the current president of the association and Rod Mena an elected board member.

ISS and IHSA organized an international conference on Humanitarian Studies in the Hague in 2018.

In the framework of an ODI project on conflict and disaster, Rodrigo Mena and Dorothea Hilhorst wrote a report based on fieldwork for When Disaster meets Conflict and additional fieldwork conducted under the ODI project. 

The team works with them on the issue of humanitarian access in high-intensity conflict zones.

Rodrigo Mena and colleagues from AREU collaborated on a survey on the use of technology.

Then International Development Studies Research Master student Erin Kuipers and assistant professor Michaela Hordijk from the Department of Governance for Inclusive Development have collaborated with Isabelle Desportes on a case study of the Mocoa Mudslide in conflict-affected Columbia.

Our team members regularly act as reviewers for Journals but also International Organizations and policy platforms, amongst others the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Disaster Prevention and Management.

ISS graduate students or alumni have also contributed to the project, be it as part of their Research Paper or as research assistants.

We here wish to acknowledge and thank Hone Mandefro for his support in Ethiopia, Mariam Morid for her support in Afghanistan, and Rakib Ahmed in Bangladesh.

The research team regularly organize or was involved in conferences, publications, workshops and other public events. Below are some of the highlights.

A selection of some of our most important past events.

September 2019 - Presentation at the 13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations (EISA). Rodrigo Mena presented the forthcoming article  'Are you oversimplifying? Research dilemmas, honesty and epistemological reductionism' at the panel ‘Writing/translating the lives of others´ which he co-organized.

July 2019 - Roanne van Voorst participated in a training on futuring sustainability - developing realistic and impactful future scenarios for times of climate change.

June 12-14, 2019 - Isabelle Desportes, Dorothea Hilhorst and Samantha Melis presented their papers at the ECAS conference on ‘Africa: Connections and Disruptions’ in Edinburgh, UK. Dorothea Hilhorst presented a co-authored paper on the different conflict scenarios and humanitarian aid in the panel on Continuity and disruption in public service provision. Isabelle Desportes and Samantha Melis presented their case studies of Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone in the panel on Emergenc(i)es: Disruptive events and their consequences in African politics.

May 2019 - Dorothea Hilhorst was an invited lecturer at a workshop organized by the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) in Vienna: ‘The Rise of the Resilience Paradigm in Humanitarian Action'. The workshop was developed in cooperation with Ground Truth Solutions.

May 2019 - Rodrigo Mena gave a keynote lecture at the Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana (UTEM), Conflictos sociales y desastres socio-naturales, in Santiago, Chile.

April 2019Launch workshop of the Arabic version of the ISS Security Guidelines for Fieldwork Research. A panel discussion on 'Field work on the ground: supporting local researchers', with Dorothea Hilhorst and Rodrigo Mena as speakers, was held in London alongside the presentation of ISS 'Security Guidelines for fieldwork research'.

January 2019 - Thea Hilhorst gave a keynote lecture at the Fourth World Conference on Disaster Management taking place in Mumbai, India.

10 December 2018 - Thea Hilhorst launched a panel on Migration at Sciences Po Paris.

November 2018 - Roanne van Voorst was a committee member of PhD-dissertation Mr. Yus Budhoyinho, VU University, on flood-disasters in Indonesia.

26 August 2018 - The research team presented and/or co-chaired panels at the 5th bi-annual conference on Humanitarian Studies hosted at the ISS in The Hague. The opening ceremony was hosted by Dorothea Hilhorst.

11 June 2018 - Isabelle Desportes gave a guest lecture on her Ethiopian case study as part of the ISS class ‘Violent conflict and the politics of media representation’ convened by Dubravka Zarkov. The lecture will be part of the 2019 course as well.

7 June 2018 - Samantha Melis attended ODI launch of 'Disaster risk reduction in fragile and conflict affected contexts' in London.

May - December 2018 - Dorith Kool interned in a project on involvement of humanitarians in peace agreements, in collaboration with Jan Pospisil of Austrian Study Centre for Peace and PSRP – Political Settlements Research Conflict Resolution Programme, and under supervision of Roanne van Voorst.

May 2018 - Roanne van Voorst was a participant in the Localization workstream ICRC, Geneva.

13 March 2018 - Samantha Melis gave a guest lecture at Wageningen University on Participatory Research Methods in the course ‘Critical reflection on research in international development practice’.

8 March 2018 - Thea Hilhorst gave a speech on women in conflict at an event organized in Nijmegen by Amnesty International.

March-September 2018 - Thea Hilhorst engaged in various fora on the need for a ‘humanitarian Ombudsman’ following the Oxfam scandal: speaking to donors at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch Parliamentarians during a roundtable of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, and the wider public at the Humanity House.

February-August 2018 - Roanne van Voorst organized a travelling photo exposition in collaboration with refugees and soldiers, with experience in conflict settings: SAFE/UNSAFE.

31 October 2017 - Thea Hilhorst chaired a panel on the launch of a report on ‘Partnerships in Conflict settings’ organized with Alert International and Oxfam GB in London.

9 October 2017 - Thea Hilhorst gave a guest lecture in a seminar on social movements at PRIO Oslo.

September 2017 - Erin Kuipers, student at the University of Amsterdam, completed her Masters thesis on the response to the Mocoa mudslide in conflict-affected Columbia. The thesis contributes to the project findings and she had presented first findings at the Needs 3 conference in Amsterdam.

21 June 2017 - Thea Hilhorst participated in a panel on population growth and conflict held at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam, organized with the Rutger Stichting.

17 May 2017 - Thea Hilhorst gave a keynote lecture at the Second Northern European Conference on Emergency and Disaster Studies in Copenhagen.

21-22 February 2017 - Thea Hilhorst and Roanne van Voorst participate in the workshop and roundtable on 'vulnerability versus resilience' at ISS.

18 January 2017 - Roanne van Voorst, Rod Mena, Samantha Melis and Isabelle Desportes participated in the Shifting Accountabilities in Times of Crisis research seminar, VU University, Amsterdam in collaboration with the Cambridge University Judge Business School.

2017 - Team members organized a workshop on citizenship with Sylvia Bergh from the ISS Civic Innovation Research Group. Scholars from the Sussex Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and the University of Oxford participated in the workshop.

2016 - Team members organized a workshop on citizenship with Sylvia Bergh from the ISS Civic Innovation Research Group. Scholars from the Sussex Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and the University of Oxford participated in the workshop.

2016 - Taking part in an activist trip organized by the Belgo-Palestinian Association, Isabelle Desportes could exchange with members of human rights and research organizations in the low-intensity conflict Occupied Palestinian Territories.

May 2016 and beyond - Thea Hilhorst was academic representative at the World Humanitarian Summit taking place in Istanbul. She participated in discussion of the summit in the region and beyond, for instance in Libanon in partnership with Caritas, at the European Humanitarian Roundtables in Dublin, and at a press conference at the Humanity House in The Hague.

Our researchers take part in conferences as participants, often organizing panel sessions or presenting research findings.

The list below is an overview of the most recent conferences in which we have participated.

Blogs and newspapers are a good way to let academic voices be heard outside of academic journals and conferences, and to touch on highly policy- and societally-relevant topics such as localization which is high on the UN agenda, or the self-censoring which aid actors face in authoritarian and/or conflict settings. They also enable us to take part in more broader societal debates less directly related to our project topic, but which may be related and in any case very much matter to us, for instance why flying should be considered as the ‘new smoking’ in aid but also academic circles.

We have produced more than hundred communications of our findings and insights in many public events, TV, radio, Op-ed and blogs. We often publish through the ISS Blog on Global Development and Social Justice, and Thea Hilhorst has a two-weekly blog at Radio Sublime (in Dutch).





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