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Thu, 07 Dec



From recipients to donors? Southern European states and international aid

HCRI's Landmark Lecture 2023/24 with Prof Silvia Salvatici, on Southern European countries and international aid (1945-1990)

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From recipients to donors? Southern European states and international aid
From recipients to donors? Southern European states and international aid

Time & Location

07 Dec 2023, 17:00 – 18:30

Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

About the Event

Talk with the title 'From recipients to donors? Southern European countries and international aid (1945-1990)', followed by Q&A (and reception).


In recent years, international humanitarianism has increasingly attracted the interest of historians. A great deal of research has mainly examined the experience of donor countries in northern Europe, as well as the United States, while the countries of Southern Europe have largely been overlooked. Works that concern them focus on the post-war years and see Mediterranean countries mainly as recipients of aid. How can we challenge this unbalance? To what extent the role played by Southern European actors urges us to reframe the history of international aid? The lecture revolves around these questions and it will present the first outcomes of the project funded by the European Research Council ‘Humanitarianism and Mediterranean Europe. A Transnational and Comparative History (1945-1990)'

This presentation offers some examples of the humanitarian undertakings of Southern European countries looking at the experience of different actors such as institutions, administrators, experts, non-governmental organisations. Specific attention is devoted to the entangled histories of international aid and decolonization from the point of view of the so-called '(former) minor colonial powers' (Portugal, Spain and Italy) but also of countries, like Greece and Yugoslavia, that had never had colonial possessions. Furthermore, the lecture looks at the role that humanitarianism has played in the relationships between Southern European countries, challenging the common approach to international aid as a North-South relationship.


Silvia Salvatici is Professor of Modern History at the University of Florence. Her recent research interests focus on refugees in the contemporary age and the history of humanitarianism. She is Principal Investigator of the projects ‘Republican Italy and international aid, 1945-1989’ (funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research) and ‘HumanEuroMed. Humanitarianism and Mediterranean Europe: A Transnational and Comparative History, 1945-1990’ (funded by the European Research Council).


A hybrid event - The in-person venue is University Place LTA; the online element is on Zoom. Maps and travel info online here

Reception - The talk will be followed by a drinks reception in University Place 3.204

If you have any accessibility questions or concerns, please contact


Based at University of Manchester, HCRI are a leading global centre for the study of humanitarianism and conflict response, global health, international disaster management and peacebuilding.

HCRI's work is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers, to optimise collaborations between partner organisations, and to foster increased understanding and debate within the field.

Bringing together disciplines from medicine to the humanities, HCRI research questions and issues related to what the United Nations calls the ‘triple nexus’ – humanitarian response, development and peace. Their aim is to facilitate improvements in crisis response on a global scale.

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