Olivia Wilkinson, JLI’s Director of Research released a new book Chapter titled ‘As local as possible, as international as necessary’ Investigating the place of religious and faith-based actors in the localization of the international humanitarian system.


Humanitarianism, assistance for those in need following disaster, forms an integral part of contemporary global society. It is an international system by which support is provided from countries with resources, to those areas without sufficient resources, to respond and recover after conflict and disasters following natural hazards. The international humanitarian system is recognized as ‘the network of interconnected institutional and operational entities through which humanitarian assistance is provided when local and national resources are insufficient to meet the needs of the affected population’ (ALNAP 2015, p. 18). While much effort is expended for altruistic reasons, it is also a battleground of power, used as a soft power by governments to fulfill foreign policy agendas (Kelman 2012), by private companies to capitalize on extreme circumstances (Klein 2007), and by civil society organization from the international to the local, to assert their place and their agenda (Barnett and Weiss 2011, p. 12). Given the extent of humanitarian needs around the world and the fact that the system created for response decades ago is struggling to keep up with those needs, the international humanitarian system has been called ‘not just broke, but broken’ (Spiegel 2017).

Continue reading the book chapter here.

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