Dorothea Hilhorst


Dorothea Hilhorst is Professor of Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, the Netherlands

Why am I running:
I am one of the founding members of IHSA in 1999, and have been on the board from the beginning, since two years as acting president. I am highly motivated to serve another term on the board. It has been my pleasure to see IHSA grow from a recurring conference to a professional platform of scholars, researchers, practitioners and activists committed to advance debate on the quality and ethics of humanitarian studies.

The times are rapidly changing and it seems that new ideas on crisis and normality increasingly erode the rights of people and communities affected by crisis to protection and life-saving services. What is the role of (academic) research in enhancing the protection of crisis-affected people? To what extent should research be independent, aligned with policy, or aligned with affected communities? IHSA may provide a meaningful platform where researchers can reflect on these type of questions.

In my 20 years of experience in humanitarian studies I have mainly focused on everyday politics and practice of interventions in crisis-affected settings – including humanitarian aid, development, disaster risk reduction and peacebuilding. My research has spanned a large range of countries, mainly in Africa and Asia, and I have especially focused on aid-society relations: how aid affects the societies where it operates and vice-versa how people use their agency to render aid meaningful to their interests.

I look forward to continue to serve this inspiring network of people committed to humanitarian studies!


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