Humanitarian Organizations: (Hi)Stories, Impact and Challenges, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 20-21 February 2021 “The Politics of Translation in Humanitarian Relief Projects: A Case Study of the Swiss Child Evacuations during the Second World War” (with Dr Elisabeth Moeckli, University of Fribourg) explored how Switzerland’s wartime government officials supplanted their own internal translation policies, and the wishes of a major humanitarian organisation, to reshape Switzerland’s national image. By doing so, this paper argued that the established language policies within Swiss federal institutions and the SRC were sacrificed in view of the political concerns about how these humanitarian evacuations would be perceived by neighbouring belligerents.
Florence 2020 – International Conference on the History of Nursing, Florence, Italy, 13-15 February 2020 “Humanitarianism Over Neutrality: A Swiss Nurse’s Actions during the Second World War” explored the strategic transnational efforts of Swiss Red Cross nurses to protect French children under German occupation during the Second World War. By focusing on Nurse Roslï Näf‘s determined efforts to save nearly 100 French-Jewish children from Nazi concentration camps in August 1942, this paper will highlight how Näf mobilized her nationality, language, and physical access to children to ensure their escape.
Post World War I Aid in Austria and Central Europe (Symposium), Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria, 26-27 September 2019 “Learning from the Aftermath of WWI: A Study of Children’s Rights and Evacuations in WWII” explored how the emergence of children’s rights as a result of the First World War impacted humanitarian initiatives in the Second World War. Based upon findings from three national archives, this paper compared the Swiss-led evacuations in the First and Second World Wars, and focused specifically upon how international stakeholders identified and developed new attitudes towards children within that critical interwar period.
Children and Youth on the Move: Children’s History Society Conference, University of Greenwich (England), 21-23 June 2018 Presented “Beyond the ‘Biological Future of the Nation’: The Evacuation of French and Belgian Children to Switzerland, 1940-1945” which examined the value of children according to humanitarian organisations and governments in the early 20th century. By exploring how the evacuation of French and Belgian children to Switzerland was an unusual organic reaction for warring national governments in Europe, this paper contextualised the role of international human rights and the noteworthy importance of rising transnationalism in the 20th Century to ensure children’s survival during this massive global conflict.
From Trauma to Protection: The Twentieth Century as the Children’s Century, University of Warwick (England), 19-20 April 2018 “Agency, Sabotage, Exploitation: Nazi Infighting over the Belgian Child Evacuations to Switzerland in the Second World War” evaluated how the child evacuations to Switzerland were manipulated by Nazi Commanders as a way to exploit and control the local Belgian populations. By using children’s agency and political autonomy against them, the Nazi authorities ensured that even such “humanitarian measures” achieved broader Nazi policy objectives.
“Histories d’Enfance”: French Children in Troubled Times: 18-20th Centuries, University of Nottingham (England), 28 March 2018 “Convenient and Conditional Humanitarianism: Evacuating French and French-Jewish Child to Switzerland during the Second World War” explored why the Swiss-led child evacuations specifically targeted and benefitted French children. Although shared language and close geographic proximity were convenient reasons to host French children, the evacuations were limited by antisemitic Swiss immigration policies. As persecution of French Jews escalated in the summer of 1942, Switzerland’s restrictive and conditional humanitarian measures ultimately revealed that French-Jewish children were not deemed worth the political risk to save. This paper will be published in a special issue of Nottingham French Studies in 2020.
Children & War: Past and Present II, University of Salzburg (Austria), 13-15 July 2016 Presented “Beyond the ‘Biological Future of the Nation’: The Evacuation of French and Belgian Children to Switzerland, 1940-1945” which examined the value of children according to humanitarian organisations and governments in the early 20th century. The French/Belgian child evacuations to Switzerland was exemplified as an unusual and unpredictable reaction to an otherwise larger trend among western nations which sought to protect children as not only the biologically important key to founding the future nation, but as crucial to the redemption of national identity in the chaos of the immediate post-war era.
Pour une Histoire des Droits des Enfants au XXe Siècle: Approaches Transnationales, University of Angers (France), 9-10 October 2014 “Self-Motivated Humanitarianism?: The Study of the Evacuation of Belgian and French Children to Switzerland, 1941-1945” closely analysed the reasons behind the Swiss, Germans and Allies participation in the child evacuations to Switzerland. This paper argued that although these governments grappled with how to save children from the atrocities of war, the motivations for doing so were, paradoxically, not humanitarian.
Modern British History Network, University of St. Andrews (Scotland), 10-11 June 2014 “The Limitations of Collaboration: A Study of the Evacuation Scheme of Belgian and French Children, 1942-1945” provided a snapshot into the challenges experienced during the French/Belgian child evacuations to Switzerland, and how the lack of diplomacy between participating nations negatively affected operations.
Children & War: Past and Present I, University of Salzburg (Austria), 10-12 July 2013 “The Plight of Belgian Children: A Study of the Motivations Behind the Allied Evacuation Scheme, 1942-1945” focused upon the devastating and desperate conditions of wartime Belgium to argue that Belgian children actually suffered the most of all countries in Western Europe in 1941, which sparked Allied humanitarian interest in a large child evacuation.
Canadian Communication Association Annual Conference, Carleton University (Canada), 28-30 May 2009 “The Rhetoric of War in the Battle of Britain” reiterated some of the key findings of my masters thesis, drawing attention to the differences in rhetorical styles between Hitler and Churchill, and how their rhetoric contributed to the Battle of Britain’s unfolding.
Postgraduate Work in Progress Seminar, University of Edinburgh (Scotland), 26 October 2015 “’My original contribution to knowledge is…’: The Analytical Power of Summarizing Your Thesis in One Sentence” brought attention to the benefit of simply stating one’s research in a single sentence. Not only does this offer a crisp and brief summary to others, but it’s an invaluable analytical tool for the researcher themselves.
History Postgraduate Seminar, University of Edinburgh (Scotland), 17 February 2014 “Enemies in Agreement: A Study of the Allied Evacuation of Belgian and French children to Switzerland, 1942-1945” offered an overview of my research to date, highlighting the diplomatic challenges faced by the participating governments and organisations who supported the evacuations.
Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict Speaker Series, University of Edinburgh (Scotland), 6 February 2014 “Enemies in Agreement: A Study of the Allied Evacuation of Belgian and French children to Switzerland, 1942-1945” introduced my doctoral research to a lay audience, which was a refreshing and successful exercise.
Speaker Series, The Military Museums, Calgary (Canada), 12 February 2009 “The Rhetoric of War” was a public lecture given to military enthusiasts of the local community and delved into the role of speeches within modern warfare by drawing on examples from my own original research of the Battle of Britain.
Speaking When They’re Spoken To: Re-integrating the experiences and perspectives of children into historical research, University of Edinburgh (Scotland), 6 June 2017
Co-organised international workshop for early career researchers and doctoral students from Canada, US and the UK regarding the methodologies and agency of children in historical research; Responsible for budget proposal and submission; Organised catering and post-workshop events; Awarded funding from the Economic and Social History Research (ESHR) Group at the University of Edinburgh.
Association for the Study of Modern Italy (ASMI) Summer School 2014, University of Edinburgh (Scotland), 19-20 June 2014
Co-organised international conference for nearly 50 postgrads to showcase their latest research to peers and specially-selected professors over two days; Chaired 3 panels on Italian history, ensuring continuous discussion and efficient time-keeping.