Humanitarian aid in globalization

Understanding the changes taking place in humanitarian aid today

The Humanitarian Studies science platform provides an environment for dialogue and debate between researchers from all disciplines and those working in the aid field, aimed at supporting and promoting research on humanitarian aid. It is an open platform and therefore encourages joined-up approaches among researchers, NGOs, foundations and government bodies.

As an incubator for new ideas, FMSH is providing this new science platform as a tool to help address the challenge of understanding the changes that are taking place and working with them.

The Humanitarian Studies platform has begun a series of research projects which in the long-term should help to establish an informal network of researchers on humanitarian aid and those working in the aid field.

By fostering discussion, debate, seminars, research projects and publications, the platform, under its joint directors Laëtitia Atlani-Duault and Jean-Pierre Dozon, is acting as a stimulus for harnessing, producing and disseminating knowledge. FMSH Publications has already launched a collection of works, Le (bien) commun [The common (good)], devoted to the research and findings the platform is generating.


Research activities

The size, scope and impact of philanthropic organizations on development assistance have never been greater. In the United States, recent data indicates that revenues, expenditures, and assets in the sector are growing. Foundations are experiencing strong growth, a second golden age comparable to the period when these organizations were gaining legal recognition. Despite a significant slowdown during the Great Recession, growth also characterizes the long-term trend of individual giving. Much more than an American phenomenon, efforts to document transnational trends in philanthropic, not-for-profit, and civil society-led initiatives reveal a burgeoning global model. This research project aims to highlight the role of American philanthropy in development aid through the relationship of American foundations with private and public universities, research institutes, cultural centers, schools and continuing education in the Global South, and especially in Africa. This project is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

This project is managed by Fabrice Jaumont


  • Aural memories and musical practices in post-conflict settings and migratory dynamics

This research project aims to provide an interdisciplinary approach to post-conflict and migration through the exploration of aural memories and musical practices of refugees from war-torn countries and internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in conflict zones. It has two main research objectives: studying the experience of violent conflicts and migration through the aural memories and audionarratives of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs); exploring the impact of violent conflicts and migratory dynamics in musical practices and repertoires of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Particular attention is paid to examining the role of music and musical practises in legitimating or challenging power dynamics in post-conflict and humanitarian settings.

This project is managed by Luis Velasco-Pufleau.


  • EBOLA, rumours and controversies. The view from the online world

The primary objective of this research project is to document the rumours that circulated during the recent Ebola epidemic and the processes whereby the information about Ebola issued by local and international public health bodies and humanitarian organisations (both governmental and non-governmental) spread and became altered in the media and social networks. It looks at two groups of countries: in the South, one African country which was among those worst-affected by the Ebola epidemic (Guinea) and one neighbouring country (Ivory Coast); and in the North, one European country (France) and one North American country (Canada).

The project has been funded by the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) since October 2015 and is jointly run by partners in each of the countries covered and their university laboratories. Contact : Laetitia Atlani-Duault


  • HIV self- and partner-testing as democratization of medical technology to aid stigmatized populations

This project seeks to establish the basis for the promotion of HIV self- and partner testing through non-governmental organizations as a way to contribute to the democratization of a biomedical technology to prevent HIV transmission. The goal is to demonstrate that unrestricted access to HIV-self testing can simplify and popularize its use, bring power and self-determination to people, and bypass HIV-stigma. The project examines how availability of HIV self-testing can be an innovating way to provide humanitarian aid to stigmatized populations that presently fear accessing HIV prevention and care.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with INSERM, AIDES, and the ANRS public health “Action coordonnée.” Its aims are to explore ways to educate, motivate and strengthen the capacity of NGOs involved in HIV prevention to promote self-testing and partner testing. Furthermore, focusing on men who have sex with men and transgender people, the project also aims to sensitize them on the use of self- and partner-testing and to facilitate their access to testing before each potentially infectious sexual contact so as to help these populations to take informed decisions and minimize the risk of HIV transmission.
This project is managed by Alex Carballo-Diéguez


  • ALIMA and African Doctors

Unlike the field of development, ‘emergency’ humanitarian aid has almost always been carried out by players from the North. This project aims to study ALIMA (the Alliance for International Medical Action), a fledgling medical humanitarian aid organisation set up in 2009, which boasts a new style of humanitarian medical response that focuses on devolving responsibility for operations and governance to domestic players; i.e. African Doctors. How has the aim of ALIMA’s founders to have an African focus evolved since the organisation began? What are the practical implications of this desire to Africanise emergency medical aid? What does the expression ‘African Doctors’ mean in practical terms for ALIMA and Befen? What is new about these forms of collaboration between humanitarian workers from North and South?

This project, financed by La Croix Rouge is managed by Marion Péchayre.


These seminars look at the new blends between profitability and solidarity and between economic and social objectives in practices surrounding action and cooperation in international humanitarian aid. The aim is to try to understand, through critical analysis based on situations on the ground and specific subjects, as well as on a conceptual point of view, whether these practices will develop by conquering a particular space within ‘the system’ without really changing it, or whether they will form a system in their own right, thereby entering into a new stage in their transformation or adaptation.

This project is managed by Marc Levy.



Annulé | Survivre, perpétuer, revendiquer : les musiques en situation de crise humanitaire

Colloque | 24 octobre 2020

Extreme violence: investigate, rescue, judge

Syria, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo

Presentation of Fabrice Jaumont's book, "Unequal Partners"

Wednesday 10th October

Fabrice Jaumont at the Comparative & International Education Society 2018 (CIES)

Re-Mapping Global Education. South-North Dialogue
See all project activities
Published at 15 September 2015