DSAI Annual Conference

Held in October or November each year over two days, the DSAI Annual Conference is a key event in the calendar for researchers, policy makers and practitioners across the sector. Each year, our Steering Committee picks a Conference Theme of current relevance to the international development community in Ireland and secures high calibre keynote speakers and panel discussions to explore the theme. Through an open call for papers, our study groups also facilitate further breakout sessions on their themes. It is also a time for our members to connect with us through our AGM. Each year at our conference we announce the winner of that year’s Robert Chambers Award and Best Student Paper Competition.


Development Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference 2020

Humanitarianism in Action

At Trinity College Dublin on the 29th and 30th of October.


Save the Date Conference


Around the world, humanitarian needs are growing, as is the gap between those needs and the resources available to address them. Moreover, humanitarian crises are becoming more protracted, less predictable, and characterised by cyclical and recurring shocks that cumulatively generate need and undermine resilience over time. In response, the humanitarian system is facing calls to transform: to give greater attention to prevention, preparedness and resilience-building; to better integrate humanitarian action, actors and outcomes with development and peace; and to commit to and institutionalise local ownership and leadership, including that of women and young people, in a more accountable humanitarian system.

These calls for change are taking place against a backdrop of growing global insecurity, including increasing, targeted attacks on humanitarian actors; mounting constraints on – and in some contexts, criminalisation of – humanitarian assistance; and diverse challenges to the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. In this context, the 2020 Annual Conference of Development Studies Association Ireland asks:


  • Is there is a shared understanding of humanitarianism in action?
  • What are the consequences of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus for humanitarian actors, actions, and principles?
  • Do we have a clear strategic vision to promote recovery and resilience of people?
  • To what extent should humanitarian response prioritise consistent, optimal and long-term sustainable outcomes?
  • How effective have efforts been to reform design, tools and approaches, and impact measurement, within the humanitarian system?
  • How meaningfully does humanitarianism in action take cognizance of the fragile climate context? How does it balance vulnerability of people with vulnerable ecosystems?
  • What are the power dynamics which influence the working together of different bodies within the humanitarian system, and how can these dynamics be documented, challenged and transformed?


Speakers at the conference will include Professor Dorothea Hilhorst of the Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus Rotterdam University