This project examines the religious dimension of practice, conception and reception of modern humanitarianism between Europe, the US and the Middle East in the XXth century up to recent times. It sheds light on the transnational Catholic networks to assist Middle Eastern populations after the First World War and the Armenian genocide. More specifically, it focuses on the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), which was founded in the United States in the early 1920s to help Eastern Christians, curb the influence of Protestantism and promote the conversion of Orthodox Christians. It also looks at the Pontifical Mission for Palestine (PMP), established in 1949 for Palestinian Christian refugees, before turning over the years into the executive agency of CNEWA in the Arab Middle East. Drawing upon a mass of unpublished archival documentation located in Lebanon, the Middle East, Europe and the United States, as well as fieldwork investigations, this research explores the entanglement between missionary issues, humanitarian efforts, and political agendas. In doing so, it enlightens the engagement of the papacy in the Levant, provides new insight on the refugee history and helps re-think the dynamics between religion and secularisation in the contemporary world.
A fellowship at the Ecole française de Rome (EfR) and the Institut français du Proche-Orient (Ifpo) in Beirut will situate this project in leading scholarship on the history of Christianity, migrations and Middle Eastern studies, while providing direct access to essential primary sources. Drawing on the candidate’s expertise in the history of international affairs, Vatican diplomacy and interreligious relations, the MSCA-GF will expand these research interests to new competences in faith-based humanitarianism and the transnational history of Mediterranean. It will result in a book at the intersection of these multiple fields.
Fields of science
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