What books to read on World Humanitarian Day

What books to read on World Humanitarian Day

by Suswati Basu
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On the 19th August each year we celebrate World Humanitarian Day, which is great chance to look at books helping the cause. The purpose of World Humanitarian Day is to raise awareness of the plight of civilians around the world who have become caught up in conflicts, and also honour and raise support for the humanitarian workers who risk, and sometimes lose, their lives to help.

Over 130 million people throughout the world are currently in crisis, either through war or natural disasters and are in need of humanitarian aid. The date was chosen as it marks the anniversary of the bombing of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, an event in which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mellothe and twenty others lost their lives in 2003.

Books to read on World Humanitarian Day

📚 Climate Justice: A Man-Made Problem with a Feminist Solution by Mary Robinson. Explores the intersection of climate change and gender equality, advocating for feminist-driven solutions to the crisis.

📚 Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit. Offers optimism amidst uncertainty, highlighting the power of activism and change during challenging times.

📚 How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney. Examines colonial exploitation’s impact on Africa’s development and calls for re-evaluating historical narratives.

📚 Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World by Jason Hickel. Argues that embracing degrowth can address environmental issues and lead to a more sustainable world.

📚 Ecological Debt: Global Warming and the Wealth of Nations by Andrew Simms. Explores the global warming crisis through the lens of nations’ varying contributions and responsibilities.

📚 Chasing Chaos by Jessica Alexander. Chronicles the author’s experiences and challenges as a humanitarian worker over a decade.

Read: Volunteers’ Week 2023: 6 books to reflect on volunteering

📚 Emergency Sex (And Other Desperate Measures): True Stories from a War Zone by Andrew Thomson, Heidi Postlewait and Kenneth Cain. Offers firsthand accounts of aid workers’ lives in war zones, revealing personal and professional struggles.

📚 In the Eyes of Others: How People in Crises Perceive Humanitarian Aid by Caroline Abu-Sada. Investigates how people in crisis perceive and experience humanitarian aid efforts.

📚 Band-Aid for a Broken Leg: Being a Doctor with No Borders (and Other Ways to Stay Single) by Damien Brown. Follows a doctor’s experiences working with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in challenging environments.

📚 The Paradoxes of Aid Work: Passionate Professionals by Silke Roth. Explores the complex and contradictory nature of humanitarian professionals’ motivations and actions.

📚 Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails by Christopher J. Coyne. Critiques the unintended negative consequences of humanitarian interventions.

📚 Humanitarian Ethics: A Guide to the Morality of Aid in War and Disaster by Hugo Slim. Provides guidance on the moral complexities and dilemmas faced by aid workers during conflicts and disasters.

📚 Governing Disasters: Engaging Local Populations in Humanitarian Relief by Shahla F Ali.

Check out book recommendations for World Hunger Day, International Day of Justice or International Migrants Day!

Check out episode 50 on being informed on climate change with Devi Lockwood and episode 59 on being politically responsible with Fear of Black Consciousness author Professor Lewis R. Gordon.

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This article contains affiliate links via Bookshop.org in which we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, in order to support local bookshops. We have not been commissioned to review books and services.

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