Author: Dominique Marshall

Exploring the Intersections of Science and International Humanitarian Aid

By CNHH for Dominique Marshall

21 January 2023

Often, histories of humanitarianism or specific humanitarian interventions focus on the discourses deployed, the policies enacted, the tangible aid provided, or the actors involved. An equally important but less frequently studied thread running through aid history is the use (and misuse) of science and technology in humanitarian interventions.

During the Fall 2021 semester, students from Ottawa’s Carleton University who participated in Dr. Dominique Marshall’s seminar “STEM in Canadian Society and Policy” partnered with students from Dr. Soenke Kunkel and Dr. David Bosold’s seminar, “Science and Technology in Transatlantic Relations” at the Freie Iniversität in Berlin. As part of their work for these courses, the students created timelines showcasing a variety of humanitarian inventions in which science and technology played a significant part:

The timelines are hosted for public viewing on the Recipro project website. The Recipro project is a collaboration between the history departments of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, and centers on the convergence of pedagogy, science, and digital humanities. The site allows users to discover the history of transnational solidarity and humanitarian aid through teaching and learning activities, including the resulting student projects (presentations, archival material, timelines, and much more).

Dr. Dominique Marshall is a professor of History at Carleton University and co-founder of the Canadian Network on Humanitarian History.

Latin American Working Group (LAWG) library opens at CERLAC’s Resource Centre

On Thursday February 16, CNHH member John Foster was at York for the launch of the LAWG collection.   He wrote: “The event was quite wonderful. I attach the ribbon cutting moment, with Prof. Liisa North of York and Caese Levo, former LAWG librarian, both of whom have been instrumental in organizing the collection.  We are so lucky that CERLAC negotiated space and is hosting.

IMG_0061 16 Feb. 2017 archives inauguration

Photo: John Foster

John presented the archives at Carleton University today at the Workshop on Canada’s Past and Future in the Americas in the session on “Historical Perspectives on Canada’s Relations with Latin America”, in a paper entitled” “Life Beyond Death: The Story of the Latin American Working Group (LAWG)”

Image jp

Photo: Julia VanDrie

Here is the official announcement of the archives opening:

Latin American Working Group (LAWG) library opens at CERLAC’s Resource Centre

Latin American Working Group (LAWG) library opens at CERLAC’s Resource Centre:

We are pleased to announce the opening of the LAWG (Latin American Working Group) Library, part of CERLAC’s Resource Centre, thanks to the efforts of Liisa North and Caese Levo.  As Liisa explains, LAWG “played a leading role in sustaining Canadian solidarity with human rights and women’s organizations, peasant and worker unions, ecumenical groups, refugee agencies, and others in the southern hemisphere during some of its darkest hours of war, military dictatorship, and US intervention, as well as the bright moments of popular and revolutionary breakthroughs.”

The LAWG library is a unique collection of ephemeral publications, pamphlets, posters, letters to the public, reports, and other publications dating from 1965 to 1990. It consists of thousands of documents organized and labeled in 120 “banker’s boxes.” The collection is particularly strong on (from north to south) the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Simon Granovsky-Larsen, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina, who examined the Guatemala collection, found that it contained “rare and important material on the relatively obscure Guatemalan organization that I happen to be interested in” and that the collection as a whole “would attract visiting researchers from across Canada and beyond, as well as graduate students from a number of disciplines” if it were publicized more.

More information on the LAWG Library, as well as other collections at the CERLAC Resource Centre is available on our website (under “Resources”). The collection can be consulted by contacting CERLAC Coordinator Camila Bonifaz (

To read John’s blog on the recognition of the LAWG by the Chilean government in the fall of 2016, click HERE.