Annual Thesis Prize
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Annual Thesis Prize

Humanitarian Communication Thesis Prize 2021

On Friday, March 4, 2022, the earlier (due to storm Eunice) postponed ceremony event of the Humanitarian Communication Thesis Prize 2021 took place in cultural student centre CREA in Amsterdam. After an absence of one year, it was the third time that the Expertise Centre Humanitarian Communication (HuCom) awarded this prize for the best master’s thesis on humanitarian communication and the representation of international development. The hybrid event, which could be followed both on location and online, was held in CREA’s theatre and included the screening of the short film Without Shoes, You Won’t Survive (2021) and presentations by the nine nominees.



With the Humanitarian Thesis Prize, we aim to annually highlight, stimulate, and recognize research in the specialized field of humanitarian communication. For this third edition, the centre received a record-number of theses that were submitted to a Dutch or Belgian university in the past year and graded with a 7.5 or higher. After assessing the many entries, the jury – consisting of Gabriel Ramirez Acevedo (HuCom board member, Political Science, UvA), Judith van de Kamp (Julius Center for Global Health, UMC Utrecht), Esther Philippen (University Centre for Development Cooperation, Brussels), and Dani Haudenschild  (University Kassel, winner of the previous HuCom Thesis Prize) – arrived to the following nine nominees (in alphabetical order):



  1. Alejandra Nino Aguirre (New Media and Digital Culture, Utrecht University)
  2. Katie Banks (International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam)
  3. Femke van Heun (International Development Studies, Utrecht University)
  4. Josh McDonald (New Media and Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam)
  5. Elaine O’Donnell (Gender Studies, Utrecht University)
  6. Manon Peek (International Development Studies, Wageningen University)
  7. Isabelle Persson (International Development Studies, Utrecht University)
  8. Marrit Woudwijk (Conflict Studies, Utrecht University)
  9. Katerina Zejdlova (Latin American Studies, University of Amsterdam)


During the Humanitarian Communication Thesis Prize 2021, the nominated students presented their thesis in Pecha Kucha style (i.e. 20 slides to be shown for 20 seconds each). In addition to the honor, the winner received a cash prize of 250 euro. The best presentation was also be rewarded by the jury.


The ceremony event in CREA’s Theatre Hall (Theaterzaal) stared with a short welcome by host Audilla Vaughn aka Femmetastic and the screening of the short film Without Shoes, You Won’t Survive (2021, 15’) by director Christine Pawlata, who also introduced and discussed the film with the audience.  After the screening, it was time for the nominated students to present their research and for the jury to announce the winner. Following the ceremony there were drinks and bites in the adjoining CREA Café. The Humanitarian Communication Thesis Prize 2021, which was supported by ASCA and BuzzHouse, was free of charge and open for all to attend. As we were not facing capacity restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic anymore, people did not need to register in advance if they wanted to join on location.


Download the original press release here

Humanitarian Communication Thesis Prize 2018-2021

In 2018 we organized the Humanitarian Communication Thesis Prize for the first time. That edition, Emma Vogt won the prize for the Best Thesis, while Miriam Ocadiz Arriaga (now one of our board members!) received a Special Mention for her research and Gabriel Ramirez Acevedo (now also one of our board members!) the prize for Best Pecha Kucha presentation. Then, in 2019, Dani Haudenschild won the prize for Best Thesis, while Brittany Keller won the prize for Best Pecha Kucha presentation. Finally, in 2021 (we did not organize an edition in 2020), the winner was Femke van Heun with her thesis entitled ‘The Politics of Framing Menstrual Health and Hygiene Interventions: Challenging or Upholding Menstrual Stigma?’ In addition, there was a special mention for Katie Banks, while Katerina Zejdlova received the prize for Best Pecha Kucha.


Humanitarian Communication Thesis Prize 2018

Jury reports (Emma and Miriam)
Event photos (by Franck Doho)
Aftermovie (by Elsie Vermeer)

Photo: Franck Doho