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[email protected] | Rethinking Humanitarianism

A look at the past, present, and future of crisis response.


[email protected] | Rethinking Humanitarianism

A look at the past, present, and future of crisis response


In 2020, The New Humanitarian marks 25 years of journalism from the heart of crises. Founded in 1995 as IRIN, our newsroom emerged from the ashes of the Rwandan genocide.

Twenty-five years on, we are looking back on the world’s response to that genocide — and to the many crises that have followed — to explore how humanitarian aid has evolved over the last quarter century and where it goes from here. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic and the #BlackLivesMatter movement are challenging the very concept of humanitarianism, this series invites reflections on the future of international solidarity.

Revisit this page as we gather your ideas throughout 2020, and read more about the series here.

To contribute to our Rethinking Humanitarianism series, get in touch at [email protected] or tweet @newhumanitarian with the hashtag #RethinkingHumanitarianism.


[email protected]: Our – and your – favourite stories of all time

For our 25th anniversary, we dug through our archive for the 25 stories that have resonated the most.

Read full list →


The past

How has humanitarian aid changed over the past 25 years? What were the key crises? Our archival reporting and analysis explains.

The 25 crises that shaped history

From Rwanda’s genocide to COVID-19, these crises have informed the humanitarian sector’s evolution and changed lives around the globe.

COVID-19 changed the world. Can it change aid, too?

Will COVID-19 and #BlackLivesMatter push the international humanitarian system to finally do what it has long talked of: change?

Then and Now: Aid’s slow pace of change

The evolution of humanitarianism, one issue at a time.


The present

The events of today – Covid-19 and the subsequent social unrest brought on by the #BlackLivesMatter movement – have the potential to reshape humanitarianism as we know it. Listen to the conversations and explore ideas on how the present moment is a turning point for our sector.


Change in the humanitarian sector, in numbers

A deep dive into 25 years of data

You don’t have to be neutral to be a good humanitarian

For decades, the principle of neutrality has been core to humanitarian assistance. It’s time to question that.

The West’s humanitarian reckoning

Race, power, and relevance were among issues addressed in a TNH online conversation on humanitarianism in the midst of #BlackLivesMatter and COVID-19.

Decolonising aid, again

Racism in aid is just a symptom of a deeper malaise.


The future

As the humanitarian sector continues to adapt to meet ever-changing global challenges, so do the visions for the future of aid. Explore and add to the debates that are shaping humanitarianism.


The Future of Aid

From Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad to UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi, more than 20 visions of the humanitarianism of tomorrow.

This global pandemic could transform humanitarianism forever. Here’s how

COVID-19 has challenged the way emergency aid is delivered in every way. But will it be the game-changer everyone expects?


Image credit: Composite of Marco Dormino/UN Photo, and Romeo Ranoco, Erin Bormett, Jin yunguo/Reuters

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