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Humiliated Populations in Crisis Zones: Issues for Humanitarian Action

Small Grant


Armed Conflicts - Conflicts - Humanitarian Action


There has recently been a surge of interest in the role of humiliation and its impact in terms of violence and low collective self-esteem amongst populations in conflict zones. Humanitarian workers are becoming increasingly aware of these issues as they encounter growing resistance and rejection, misunderstanding and hostility at a time when rampant 'anti-Western' feeling is being re-kindled. This lack of communication can lead to aggressive behaviour towards humanitarian organisations, perceived as agents of the social crisis and therefore reinforcing the local populations' sense of humiliation.

The project will therefore focus on the following questions and issues:

A conference organised by the Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI) in Geneva will bring together all the parties involved in this project, namely Geneva University, HEI, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. The purpose of the debates is to define the conditions in which feelings of humiliation are likely to occur in crisis zones.

The findings will subsequently be researched in further depth and published in a book under the direction of Dr Philippe Cotter, expert on the sociology of violence, and Gilbert Holleufer, instigator of the ICRC's survey 'People on War' (1999-2002) whose results were analysed at Harvard and first highlighted the issue of humiliated populations in conflict zones. Estelle Gitta, editor, will publish the book. The project will be coordinated by Professor Philippe Jaffé of the...

The grant provided by the GIAN for this project totals SFr 20,000

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Project Team

Dr. Philippe Cotter , Principal Member.

Mr Gilbert Holleufer , Principal Member, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) .

Mr Poretti Michele , Principal Member, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) .

Dr. Hugo Slim , Principal Member, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) .

Prof. Daniel Warner , Principal Member, Graduate Institute of International Studies (GIIS) .

Dr. Jennifer Leaning , Associated Member, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) , Harvard University .

Related Conferences

Humiliation and Conflict: From the Combatant to the Victim – Conference, GIIS, 8 November 2007 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
This text exists in French only.
Cette conférence publique tentera de définir les conditions de l'émergence...

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