Humanitarian crises caused by conflict, disaster and political instability are the subject of study of a range of disciplines, including international relations, international law, development studies, anthropology, public health, climate and environmental studies and forced migration studies. In addition, new research groups are being formed that focus especially on conflicts, disasters and humanitarian action. The International Humanitarian Studies Association offers a venue for these scholarly communities, in dialogue with policy actors, implementing agencies and reflective practitioners. It aims to enhance the alignment between knowledge, policy and practice in resolving humanitarian crises. Humanitarian studies concerns the ways in which humanitarian crises originate and evolve, how they affect people, institutions and societies, and the responses they trigger.

Areas of interest

  • causes, dynamics and effects of humanitarian crises;
  • politics and discourses of humanitarian crises;
  • responses to crises: local responses, political, military and humanitarian interventions;
  • humanitarian response policies, programmes and organisations;
  • policies and practices of disaster preparedness and early warning;
  • policies and practices of rehabilitation, and the linkages with development, peacebuilding, and security;
  • legal issues pertaining to humanitarian affairs;
  • experiences and lifeworlds of affected communities, refugees and internally displaced people, and the refugee regimes employed towards them.

IHSA General Secretariat

The secretariat of IHSA is hosted in the The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague. ISS is part of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and acts as of September 2017 as the general secretariat of IHSA. ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment. Established in 1952 as the International Institute of Social Studies by Dutch universities and the Netherlands Ministry of Education it does research, teaching and public service in the field of development studies and international cooperation. We are located in The Hague, known as ‘The World’s Legal Capital’. Research at ISS focuses on development studies. This transdisciplinary field of study seeks to understand phenomena of underdevelopment, development and change, with special reference to low-income countries. Poverty, globalization, gender and inequity are key words in most of our programmes.