“The Influence and Role of NGOs in Global Governance: From Grassroots to Global”, Will Tait reports on the workshop of the American Graduate School in Paris last month

Carleton PhD candidate Will Tait attended the conference,where he presented a paper entitled “Earning the Right to be Heard: Christian Evangelicals and Overseas Food Aid and Development, 1974-1986.”  With the permission of the organisers, Will has shared many documents he brought back from this Conference.  He writes: “One theme that I did find interesting coming out in the conference papers and the workshops was the legal means by which states are countering the growing influence of NGO’s. Examples were the new Russian “foreign agent” law  and the Indian Government Intelligence Bureau Report of 2014All of this made me think of Bill C-51 at home and how the intentional vagueness of such laws gives exceptional leeway in countering views deemed against the national interest, especially in resource and energy sectors. It also made me think about the power of unelected NGOs despite their lack of status as legal entities under international law as well as issues of sovereignty.

WATCH the video recording of Jean-Marie Fardeau, Director, Human Rights Watch – France, about his engagement with NGOs. (m4v, 12 min approx).  From Left to Right : Moderator: Prof. Ruchi Anand, American Graduate School in Paris; Dr. Rahel Steinbach, Programme Officer, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP);  Jean-Marie Fardeau, Director, Human Rights Watch – France ; Prof. Susan Perry, American University of Paris.

LISTEN to the entire Keynote Panel (m4a, 1hr approx)

READ the program.

Second Canadian Workshop on the History of Humanitarian Aid, May 30 2015

Saturday, May 30 2015 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (EDT), 1125@carleton, fourth floor, HCI building, Carleton University , 1125 Colonel By Drive , Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6

grenfell ESC1F1
Grenfell Stamp 2

Commemorative stamps for Wilfred Grenfell, British medical missionary in Newfoundland from 1892 to the 1930s, with the The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. See

Dear Canadian colleagues interested in the history of humanitarian aid, As you are in the process for making your plans for traveling to Ottawa for  Congress 2015  in early June, we are pleased to announce that Carleton will host the second small workshop for Canadians interested in the matter. This will be the occasion to: – exchange our respective research, practices and collections between historians, archivists and humanitarians; – take store of the projects of our partners in Europe, thanks to the presence of Kevin O’Sullivan, from the University of Ireland in Gallway; – think about improvements to the project of the common website we put together last summer; – help prepare the collaborative research grant I am putting together for the fall on researching, collecting and teaching the history of humanitarian aid in Canada There will be refreshments and food for lunch and breaks, the possibility of small grants for the extra nights for graduate students (do write to me if you would like to apply with a possible amount). Please register for the event here.

Thanks to the coordinating work of Sarah Glassford, Will Tait and Jill-Campbell-Miller, Congress will have at least three sessions of interest for our groups:

Tuesday June 2, 1:30-300

69. Roundtable – Public, Private, Political: Charitable Organizations and Citizen Engagement

Facilitator / Animateur : Lara Campbell, Simon Fraser University Sarah Glassford (University of Prince Edward Island)

Ian Mosby (McMaster University)

Will Tait (Carleton University)

Shirley Tillotson (Dalhousie University)

Jon Weier (University of Western Ontario)

Tuesday June 2, 3:30-4:30

77. Presidential Address / Discours présidentiel , Introduced by / Présentée par: Joan Sangster (Trent University)

Dominique Marshall (President of the Canadian Historical Association): Children’s Drawings and Humanitarian Aid: Transnational Expressions and Exhibitions/ Dominique Marshall (Présidente de la Société historique du Canada): Dessins d’enfants et aide humanitaire : expressions et expositions transnationales

Wednesday June 3, 3:30-5:30 - SMD/222

11. Capitals and Peripheries: Historical Perspectives on International Development Facilitator / Animateur : Ian Smillie (McLeod Group)

Stephanie Bangarth (Western University): “Is our assistance worthwhile?”: The Role of Tripartisanship in the Canadian Response to Refugee and International Development Crises, 1968 – 1978

Jill Campbell-Miller (Saint Mary’s University): Integrating History and International Development Studies: Lessons from the Canadian-Indian Aid Experience

John F. Devlin (University of Guelph): State Theory, Historical Sociology, and Comparative Agricultural Development

Kevin O’Sullivan (National University of Ireland Galway): Searching for a Saviour: Humanitarian NGOs and Human Rights in Central America in the 1970s and 1980s

Commentator / Commentateur : Ian Smillie (McLeod Group)

Co-sponsored by the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID) and the Canadian Council on Migration, Ethnicity and Transnationalism / Coparrainée par l’Association canadienne d’études du développement international (ACÉDI) et par le Comité canadien sur la migration, l’éthnicité et le transnationalisme

We are looking forward to seeing you all.

My article on “The Rise of Coordinated Action for Children in War and Peace: Experts at the League of Nations, 1924-1945” has just been published

The Collection Shaping the Transnational  Sphere  was just published out of a rich workshop organized by Davide Rodogno, Bernhard Struck and Jakob Vogel.

Here is the table of content:

 Shaping the Transnational Sphere Experts, Networks and Issues from the 1840s to the 1930s Edited by Davide Rodogno, Bernhard Struck and Jakob Vogel

Shaping the Transnational Sphere
Experts, Networks and Issues from the 1840s to the 1930s
Edited by Davide Rodogno, Bernhard Struck and Jakob Vogel


Davide Rodogno, Bernhard Struck and Jakob Vogel


Chapter 1. Professionalism or Proselytism? Catholic “Internationalists” in the Nineteenth Century
Vincent Viaene

Chapter 2. Sanitizing the City: Transnational Work and Networks of French Sanitary Engineers, 1890s-1930s
Stéphane Frioux

Chapter 3. Policy Communities and Exchanges across Borders: The Case of Workplace Accidents at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Julia Moses

Chapter 4. The Rise of Coordinated Action for Children in War and Peace: Experts at the League of Nations, 1924-1945
Dominique Marshall


Chapter 5. Building a Transnational Network of Social Reform in the Nineteenth Century
Chris Leonards and Nico Randeraad

Chapter 6. The Politics of Expertise: The Association Internationale pour le Progrès des Sciences Sociales, Democratic Peace Movement and International Law Networks in Europe, 1858-1873
Christian Müller

Chapter 7. The Road from Damascus: Transnational Jewish Philanthropic Organizations and the Jewish Mass Migration from Eastern Europe, 1840–1914
Tobias Brinkmann

Chapter 8. From Peace Advocacy to International Relations Research: The Transformation of Transatlantic Philanthropic Networks, 1900-1930
Katharina Rietzler


Chapter 9. Transnational Cooperation and Criminal Policy. The Prison Reform Movement 1820s to 1950s
Martina Henze

Chapter 10. International Congresses of Education and the Circulation of Pedagogical Knowledge in Western Europe, 1880-1914
Damiano Matasci

Chapter 11. From Transnational Reformist Network to International Organization: The International Associations for Labour Legislation and the International Labour Organization, 1900-1930s
Sandrine Kott

Chapter 12. Shaping Poland: Relief and Rehabilitation Programmes Undertaken by Foreign Organizations, 1918-1922
Davide Rodogno, Francesca Piana and Shaloma Gautier

And here is the introduction of my piece:

As Edward Fuller was compiling the third edition of the International Handbook of Child Care and Protection in 1928, he received a note from ‘an official of one of the states’ of whom he had asked ‘questions as to “child welfare” activity’. ‘We do not know what you mean by “child welfare”’, his correspondent had replied. Yet, pondered Fuller, that state harboured ‘public and private activities for the care and protection of children’. In a text that promoted the exchange of information and the production of uniform statistics, Fuller also noted that ‘word agreement’ was urgently required.[ii] This chapter considers a network of experts and transnational advocacy groups that gathered to realize these aims. This network, which included Fuller, was created and operated by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of the League of Nations,[iii] an appointed body of national delegates and independent ‘assessors’ from voluntary organizations that met eleven times in Geneva, from its creation in 1924 until the interruption of the activities of the League in 1939.

            Endowed with a relatively small budget, the Child Welfare Committee was entrusted with a set of universal standards that had been adopted in the year of its creation by the General Assembly of the League of Nations – the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. The committee was to establish detailed norms, conduct inquiries, organize conferences and contribute to the construction of new institutions. A corresponding and relatively small number of permanent employees of the Social Section of the Secretariat of the League of Nations were to ensure the implementation of the wishes of the committee. Child welfare was one of the six domains of the Social Section, headed, until 1931, by Dame Rachel Crowdy, a British charitable worker associated with Armenian relief and leader of the British Voluntary Aid Detachment during the First World War. Crowdy was then replaced by the Danish lawyer, diplomat and humanitarian Erik Einan Ekstrand. Only one member of the staff of the League worked solely on questions of child protection, the Belgian Andrée Colin, former secretary of the Brussels-based International Association for the Promotion of Child Welfare.[iv] The Child Welfare Committee also answered to the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly of the League, on ‘Social and General Questions’.

            This chapter identifies the variety of traditions that informed the work of transnational child-welfare experts, the kind of expertise they claimed to possess, and the nature, methods and objects of concern of the institutions and networks they helped to put in place. The discussion uses the tools of a cultural history of knowledge that is attentive to the elaboration of legitimate expertise, of a history of transnationalism that considers networks as hybrid and polyvalent and of a history of state formation that considers public institutions as a variety of bodies with relative autonomy in reciprocal relations with the wider political culture.[v] The reflections in this chapter on such deep relationships between the constitution of expertise and the wider transformations of political cultures are mostly informed by the history of Canadian public life.

[i] This chapter is part of a history of child welfare diplomacy around the League of Nations’ Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 and its Child Welfare Committee that is funded by the following agencies, which I thank: Social Science and Research Council of Canada, Leverhulme Trust, Institute of Historical Research and Carleton University Internal Research and Travel Grants. It has benefited from the comments of Pierre-Yves Saunier and Johannes Pullman, and from the revisions of James Braun, research assistant.

[ii] Edward Fuller (ed.), The International Handbook of Child Care and Protection (3rd edn, London 1928), vii–xii.

[iii] In 1924, the new Child Welfare Committee was paired with the Advisory Committee on the Traffic in Women and Children, which the League had absorbed in 1922; together they formed the Advisory Commission for the Protection and Welfare of Children and Young People. The national members were to work on both issues, but the assessors were nominated for only one. The name changed again in 1936 to ‘Advisory Committee on Social Questions’, now a single committee. H. Aufricht, Guide to League of Nations Publications: A Bibliographical Survey of the Work of the League, 1920–1947 (New York 1951), 200–11. The general information also comes from LONSEA: Searching the Globe though the Lenses of the League of Nations,

[iv] The International Association for the Promotion of Child Welfare (French title: Association internationale de protection de l’enfance [AIPE]) had been founded in 1921 to bring together members of the Belgian, French, Italian, Luxemburg and French governments and private individuals. Fuller, International Handbook, 584–85. Andrée Colin headed its office, called the Office international de la protection de l’enfance.

[v] M. Poovey, Making a Social Body: British Cultural Formation 1830–1864 (Chicago 1995); S. Gunn, History and Cultural Theory (Harlow 2006); E. Zimmermann, ‘Intellectual Elites’ in Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History, eds A. Iriye and P.-Y. Saunier (Basingstoke 2009), 547–50; P. Abrams, Historical Sociology (near Shepton Mallet, Somerset 1982); Ann Showstack Sassoon, ‘Gramsci’ and ‘Hegemony’ and V.G. Kiernan, ‘Intellectuals’ in Dictionary of Marxist Thought, ed. T. Bottomore (Oxford 1991), 221–23, 229–31 and 258–60 respectively; D. Rodogno, B. Struck and J. Vogel, ‘Introduction’ in this volume.

Listen to today’s talk by Kevin Bruschett: “Not the only String in Our Bow, Bureaucrats, Activists and Canadian International Development Policy, 1960-75”


Two members of our Canadian Network of the History of Humanitarian Aid organized this lunch talk today.   Click HERE to listen (47 mn).

Dr. Kevin Brushett, Assistant Professor of History and Chair of the Military and Strategic Studies Programme at Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston,  spoke on the early history of the Canadian International Development Agency.  He was introduced by Greg Donaghy, Head of the Historical Section at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

The talk was held at DFADT, Sussex Drive, Ottawa on January 15, 2015.

Thanks to Will Tait, PhD candidate and Contract Instructor in History at Carleton University for the recording.

Here is what Dr. Donaghy wrote in advance of the talk:

Bruschett works gives “a glimpse at the struggle to define Canada’s international development program during the 1960s and early 1970s. Professor Brushett explores the interactions between government officials from External Affairs, the foreign aid bureaucracy, and young activists from Canada’s emerging non-governmental sector as they tangled during this foundational “golden age” over the nature and evolution of Canadian aid policy. Focused on recurring tensions in aid policy, this study helps illuminate persistent debates over the direction and form of Canadian international development assistance by grounding them in their historical context.

A graduate of Queen’s University, Dr. Brushett is an Assistant Professor of History at Royal Military College where he teaches modern Canadian and American history. He is currently completing a manuscript on the Company of Young Canadians, a community development program established by then Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson’s government in 1965. The present talk is drawn from a new research project examining the growth and performance of Canadian international development policies between 1965 and 1995 through the lens of the Canadian International Development Agency’s Non-Governmental Organization Branch.”

One day workshop to welcome Dr. Kevin O’Sullivan, Irish historian of humanitarian aid, July 9, 2014

Dr. Kevin O’Sullivan will be a visiting scholar at Carleton University from July 8 to August 4, to research Canadian archives.  Kevin is the architect of the rich , a founding member of ‘Transnational Ireland’ International Research Network and the author of many studies of Irish humanitarianism.   He is researching countries of the Commonwealth.


The workshop will take place in the History Lounge (Paterson Hall 433 – see Map of Carleton’s  Campus)


We will start at 8:30 in the morning and finish at supper time.  There will  be three distinct themes (research, future collaborations with archives and NGOS and teaching), in addition to a presentation by Kevin on his work and the state of affairs amongst his colleagues.  The following day, Dr. O”Sullivan will have individual appointments of an hour each with the graduate students participants who wish to meet with him.


This will be an occasion to exchange concerns, findings, information about archives and documents, practices and projects, collaborations with communities.


Carleton doctoral candidate and our research assistant Will Tait, and I will coordinate the day.  There will be food for all participants.  We do not have too much money, but do tell me if you would need assistance for your travel and accommodation.  We can also direct you to some hotels and Bed and breakfasts or residence rooms.


Kevin would like to visit the various NGO archives available in Ottawa, and also to work on materials relating to CIDA-NGO relations in the National Archives.  This will also be an occasion to assist him.


The number of places is limited.  If you would like to register, please contact me at dominique_marshall [at]

Press HERE to visit the password protected participants’ page (passwords and further instructions will be sent to those who register).

Thanks: We wish to thank the following institutions for their financial support:

*For more Red Cross Stamps, see the Pinterest page.

Exhibition of my students’ posters on the history of humanitarian aid, Carleton Library, Discovery Center, March 25 – April 15 2014


Poster presentations, First session out of three, 25 March 2014, Discovery Center.  

The 45 students of HIST 3111 have researched topics as varied as missionaries in colonial Latin America to humanitarian aid and LGBTQ rights, and the Kindertransport.  Their posters will be on a rotating exhibition in Carleton University McOdrum Library’s Discovery Center (fourth floor)  for the coming three weeks. Thanks to Ashleigh Fleicher of the Discovery Centre  and Ingrid Draayer, exhibition specialist at the Library, for their assistance.

display P1010960










Rolling poster exhibition, second week, April 1-8 2014  (photo Ingrid Draayer)

Next Friday event: Oxfam St John’s 1964-2014: remembering our history

Oxfam St John’s is closing this spring, following a debated reform of Oxfam Canada.  Its long time staff person, Bill Hynd, will host an event in a week.  This was the only regional office in Canada to own its own house, and one of the two regional offices left, of the dozen there once were at the peak of Oxfam Canada decentralization.  Over 40 years, the house became a centre of community life.  The NL Social Justice Cooperative will take over the role, from now on.

Bill Hynd in the offices of Oxfam St John's , 5 August 2013 when we visited.

Bill Hynd in the offices of Oxfam St John’s , 5 August 2013 when we visited.  Photo E. Marshall

Celebrations – On Friday March 28 2014, from 6 to 11 pm, at the Masonic Temple on Cathedral St.  Oxfam friends will be celebrating
Oxfam’s 40 Plus years of social justice Activism
Bill Hynd’s 30 years as an Oxfam staffperson
– the next 40 years with the NL Social Justice Cooperative

From 8 till 11pm We will have Music and dancing with:
The Salty Dolls and The moonshine men

Send your memories – Bill and I will use this website to collect memories and memorabilias.  So please send pictures, texts, scans, photos to us using this contact form.  If you need to send attachments, use my email address:

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I will exhibit your testimonies and pictures for all on a separate page of this website on Oxfam St John’s 1964-2014-A Virtual Archive unless you tell me to keep them private.  I will also copy these for the provincial archives who hold the fonds of Oxfam St Johns,.  I will use these documents for my own research, which you can follow on this website.

Comment on the items of the Oxfam St John’s 1964-2014-A Virtual Archive – Please help us identify the pictures already posted, using the same form: just refer to the name of the scrapbook/photo album/gallery, and the number of the item.

Give your old documents to the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and LabradorThe Provincial archives hosts the fonds of Oxfam St Johns’ which they are cataloguing at the moment.  If much was lost in the fire of August, an  earlier bundle of documents (13 boxes of them) had been given the the archives 20 years ago.  They are presently being catalogued and will be available to the public soon.  We can help put you in contact with them if you consider making a donation.

“Leave a comment” on the event – You may use the “Leave a comment” button just below, or Tweet using the hashtag #OxfamStJohns40.  I will be doing so from Ottawa as I won’t be able to join you.

My Course on the history of humanitarian aid starts today


This course surveys the history of humanitarian agencies from their missionary and anti-slavery ancestors to the present times.  It teaches students the vocabulary useful for the understanding of humanitarianism. It introduces them to the historiography of the subject, the debates, approaches, explanations and interpretations of the major scholars, and the documents they use to write this history.  It presents the main events, the actors, ideas, institutions, and questions. It helps make sense of the current situation of humanitarian aid, which is complex and controversial, and which represents an increasingly large domain of social life and public action.

See outline