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History of Humanitarian Organizations Research Guide

Professor Kimberly Lowe

Syllabus Course Description

What does it mean to bring humanity to times of crisis and conflict? From the protection of prisoners of war during the First World War, to relief for Syrian refugees today, humanitarian aid has had a profound effect on the social, legal, and ethical development of the modern world. This advanced seminar examines the history of international humanitarian organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders from 1863 to the present. We will interrogate a set of tensions that continue to characterize humanitarian relief today: the conflict between traditional principles and contemporary human rights; the role of governments in the provision of foreign aid; and the difficulties of enforcing the humanitarian protections of international law during sectarian conflicts.

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