Think Tank (3/2021)
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Humanitarianism in the Asia-Pacific: Engaging the Debate in Policy and Practice
19 May 2021

On 19 May 2021, RSIS and Springer jointly held a webinar to launch Humanitarianism in the Asia-Pacific: Engaging the Debate in Policy and Practice. Edited by Dr Alistair D.B Cook, Senior Fellow, and Dr Lina Gong, Research Follow from the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Programme, Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, RSIS, the book offers insights into the international humanitarian system. The edited collection is based on the 2019 RSIS Conferences on Asia and the Humanitarian World held in Singapore. The contributors had considered what constitutes humanitarianism in Asia-Pacific, and how that shapes policy and practice in the region and globally.

As part of the launch, the authors discussed their respective chapters. Dr Lina Gong examined how China defines and uses the concept of humanitarianism, while Mr Christopher Chen discussed military humanitarianism in the Asia-Pacific. Ms Tiola and Mr Keoni Marzuki reflected on Indonesia’s humanitarian engagement in the region, and Mr Julius Trajano examined the humanitarian relationship between the Philippines and the United States. Dr Caroline Brassad, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, discussed the dominant role of national governments in the region, the idea of humanitarian systems being rooted in their localised context, as well as the increased diversity of humanitarian actors, and offered conceptual insights from a public policy perspective.

The webinar concluded with a question and answer session with the participants and panellists. Topics of discussion included the politics of humanitarian aid, the level of collaboration between humanitarian non-governmental organisations and militaries, as well as the emergence of new donors in the humanitarian sector. Overall, the launch brought together scholars, practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders to discuss humanitarian work, disaster management, and international relations in the Asia-Pacific.

Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel:

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