HCBerlin’s Story

For more than 20 years, the Humanitarian Congress Berlin has been debating, analysing, evaluating and developing the theory and practice of humanitarian action. It brings together leading experts from medical and humanitarian organisations, governments, and the media, as well as young professionals interested in humanitarian work.

It provides participants from around the globe with a unique opportunity to share their experience, knowledge and ideas of humanitarian action in an international and multi-disciplinary setting. By gathering more than 1000 individuals from across the globe every year, the Humanitarian Congress Berlin has created a community with a shared interest in the main challenges confronting humanitarian action.

In 2020, the Humanitarian Congress Berlin moved to the clouds for its first virtual event to ensure voices, stories and experiences from across continents and disciplines. As communities and humanitarian actors continue to face multiple challenges in responding to the global Covid19 outbreak in addition to balancing the response to pre-existing crises, critical debate and a platform to openly discuss the most pressing humanitarian issues, is needed more than ever.

The #HCBerlin is hosted by Médecins du Monde / Doctors of the World, Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders, the Berlin Chamber of Physicians and the German Red Cross, this year in cooperation with Oxfam. Learn more about our partners.

HCBerlin’s Mission – How we work & what we believe in


We want to bring people from all different back-grounds together to learn from each others experience: Our aim is therefore to bring people to the discussion table who would not necessarily meet in other circumstances. We are also convinced that critical debate and change can only grow and flourish in community, through joint experiences and discussions.

We are aware that the sector is strongly build from and still influenced by colonial history, white supremacy, sexism and gender inequality. In the past years, one of our aims has been to address the impact of those structural injustices in various fields and from various perspectives and to discuss pathways to incorporate changes. Our focus during the congress is therefore to highlight voices and perspectives from all people working in, affected by or concerned with humanitarian action.

Exchange is necessary to keep us alive, to nourish our thoughts and to further develop critical debates and ideas: During the past decades, ways of communication and thereby ways of exchanging have constantly changed – due to new technical developments, but in the past years also due to the pandemic. Our aim is to adapt to and use constantly changing methods of exchange, in digital as well as physical spaces.

Moreover, the congress should not only be focused on the exchange that takes place at the discussion table in front of the camera. Therefore, we also seek to provide other opportunities to chat, to connect, to construct and deconstruct thoughts, to imagine the future of the sector together. This means that we invite not only speakers, but also participants to actively engage in the debates.



We see the congress as a platform – a space that gives room for open, critical, thought provoking discussions: Even though we may not be able to insure a fix solution to ongoing problems in three days. We still seek to further develop ongoing debates by in-depth analysis and by enriching them with diverse and critical perspectives, so we can take home new impressions and viewpoints. Those cannot only lead to a personal enrichment but also be further discussed with family and friends, at our workplaces and with relevant decision makers.

Therefore, the goal is not to end debates with ultimate solutions, but to shed light on discussions that have not been sufficiently illuminated before. Although we try not to set boundaries to the debates, there are some necessary rules to provide a safe space for everyone: Every kind of sexist, racist, homophobic behavoir is strictly excluded from our platform.

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