VIENNA LECTURE - The Rise of the Resilience Paradigm in Humanitarian Action

Event organized by Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR)
Vorträge und Abendveranstaltungen

Humanitarian aid has long been dominated by a classical, Dunantist paradigm that was based on the ethics of the humanitarian principles and centred on international humanitarian United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. While in previous decades alternative paradigms and humanitarianisms evolved, this classical paradigm remained the central narrative of humanitarianism. In recent years, however, this paradigm has been paralleled by a resilience paradigm that is focused on local people and institutions as the first responders to crises. Whereas classical humanitarianism is rooted in the notion of exceptionalism, resilience humanitarianism starts from the idea of crisis as the new normality. It also fits with the ambition of the humanitarian community to ‘localize’ aid. This lecture discusses the two paradigms and the incongruent images they evoke about crises, local institutions and the recipients of aid. It critically discusses the language of the new paradigm, evaluates the changes it brings and highlights some of the risk of the new set of practices that are emerging.


  • Prof Dorothea Hilhorst, Professor of Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction, Wageningen Univ President, International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA)
  • Andreas Papp, Humanitarian Practitioner, AG Globale Verantwortung
  • Elias Sagmeister, Ground Truth Solutions
  • Jan Pospisil, ASPR Vienna

Please find the programme and invitation here

C3 - Centrum für Internationale Entwicklung
Sensengasse 3
1090 Wien
Thursday, 9. May 2019 - 15:00
Thursday, 9. May 2019 - 17:00