Solidarity and Humanitarianism in the Global South between Decolonization and the Cold War (1960s-1980s) / Solidarität und Humanitarismus im globalen Süden, zwischen Dekolonisierung und Kaltem Krieg (1960er bis 1980er Jahre)

28. September | 13:00

This two-day workshop, to be held in Berlin, aims to bring together doctoral students, post-doctoral students and experienced researchers working on the history of solidarity and humanitarian engagement in the countries of the Global South, from the 1960s to the 1980s, in the context of decolonization and the Cold War. On the one hand, it offers the opportunity to present and discuss current research. On the other hand, based on these concrete examples, it wishes to offer a space for exchange and discussion on the theoretical and methodological dimensions of this research field. 

The workshop focuses on different areas of the Global South (Africa, Latin America and Asia), and in particular various post-colonial spaces at the end of the British, French, and Portuguese empires. It therefore asks what forms of commitments and actions were put into practice, at what pace, around which networks of actors from around the world and relying on which advocacy work. This perspective refers to a wide range of solidarity and humanitarian initiatives of the Global North (from the “West” as well as from the “East”) as well as to those between countries of the Global South. What was the impact of structural factors and changes of the Cold War, of the Sino-Soviet split, of the North-South divide and of conflicts between countries of the South? And how did these factors interact?

Different approaches will be discussed, questioning the actors, discourses and practices related to these calls and actions of solidarity and humanitarian aid. In particular, we will study the possible semantic and empirical shifts over time and according to the geographical areas concerned, between these two a priori distinct, but also overlapping fields of engagement. Therefore, the various ideas and concepts of solidarity and humanitarian aid should be reflected.


Terms of participation:

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will unfortunately only be a very limited number of places at the venue. An on-site participation at the Centre Marc Bloch will be possible within these limited capacities, after prior registration. All further interested persons are welcome to participate in the workshop via zoom. In both cases a prior registration before September 23rd 2020 is required at Further information and the zoom link for online participation will be sent to the registered participants in advance.


  • Agnes Bresselau von Bressensdorf (Berliner Kolleg Kalter Krieg am Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin)
  • Silke Mende (Centre Marc Bloch)
  • Caroline Moine (Univ. Paris-Saclay, CHCSC/MPI für Bildungsforschung)
  • Bernd Rother (Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Stiftung)




28. September 2020

Ab 13 Uhr: Ankunft 


13:30 Begrüßung (Silke Mende, Berlin) & Einführung (Caroline Moine, Berlin)


14:00-16:00 Panel I:

Universale Normen? Auf der Suche nach einer internationalen humanitären Ordnung

Moderation: Arvid Schors (Köln)

Jakob Schönhagen (Freiburg): Die umkämpfte Universalisierung. Die westliche Staatengemeinschaft, die Neuausrichtung des UNHCR und die Überarbeitung der Genfer Flüchtlingskonvention in den 1960er Jahren

Marcia C. Schenck (Potsdam): Aiding freedom fighters? The Organization of African Unity’s Refugee Convention of 1969 in the making

Jihane Chedouki (Berlin): The normative power of the International Committee of the Red Cross: the case of the civil war in Yemen (1960-1970)


16:00-16:30 Kaffeepause


16:30-19:00 Panel II: Humanitarismus vor Ort: Akteure und Praktiken in (post-)imperialen Räumen

Moderation: Bernd Rother (Berlin)

Maria Framke (Rostock): Medical aid as foreign policy tool: The Indian National Congress’ relief work in South East and East Asia in the context of WWII, decolonization and early Cold War (1946– 1953)

Dora Tot (Bologna): Obliged to Solidarity? Yugoslav Medical Professionals in Algeria (1962 – 1965)

Agnes Bresselau von Bressensdorf (Berlin): Zwischen Weltordnungsfrage und humanitärem Regime: Flucht im Mittleren Osten seit den späten 1970er Jahren

Tobias Hof (München): “We Are the World” – Visions of Humanity during the Ethiopian Famines 1984/45


19:30 Abendessen


29. September 2020


9:00-12:30: Panel III: Politische und gesellschaftliche Initiativen westeuropäischer Solidarität


Moderation: Carlos Haas (München)

Michele Di Donato (Pisa)/ Gabriele Siracusano (Rom): Eurocommunism and the Global South. French and Italian Communists Facing Social Democracy and North-South Questions

Lucile Dreidemy (Toulouse/Wien): Zwischen Solidarität und Imperialismus: Die Entwicklungshilfe-Leistungen der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Kenia in den 1960er und 1970er Jahren


10:30-11:00 Kaffeepause


Friederike Apelt (Hannover): Solidarität, Geschlecht und der Kalte Krieg: Die bundesdeutsche Solidaritätsbewegung mit der sandinistischen Revolution in Nicaragua

Katharina Wolf (Gießen): Hilfe für Kinder als grenzenlose Solidarität? Österreichische Kinderwohlfahrtspolitik im Kalten Krieg am Beispiel von SOS-Kinderdorf, ca. 1960-70


12:30-13:30 Gesamtkommentar (Christine Hatzky, Hannover) & Abschlussdiskussion (Moderation: Silke Mende, Berlin)




Silke Mende
silke.mende  ( at )


Berliner Kolleg Kalter Krieg am Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin, Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Stiftung


Salle Germaine Tillion
Centre Marc Bloch
Friedrichstrasse 191
10117 Berlin