International Health Organizations (IHOs): The history for the future network


Following the award of an AHRC Research Networks Grant the organisers of the 'International Health Organizations (IHOs): The history for the future network' will be convening a third meeting at Shanghai University between 21 to 24 April 2016. 

Objectives of the network

1. To connect those researching all aspects of the history of IHOs

2. To stimulate new work in the field

3. To grow relationships between historians and those involved in working in or with today’s IHOs in order to encourage the exchange of ideas and perspectives

Previous meetings

Details of the two previous meetings can be found here:

Shanghai conference 2016

International Health Organizations (IHOs): People, politics and practices in historical perspective

Shanghai, 21 to 24 April 2016

Hosted at Shanghai University and co-organised by the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) Glasgow at the University of Strathclyde and the David F. Musto Center for Drug Policy Studies at Shanghai University.

This conference is designed to draw together practitioners currently working in or with international health organizations, those that have done so in the past, and historians researching these agencies and institutions.

The event is the latest in a series designed to scope out historical research into IHOs, to refresh agendas in the field, and to connect current concerns with evidence from the past. The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Wellcome Trust, and the Universities of Shanghai and Strathclyde for this series of events.

Among the questions to be tackled at this event are:

1. In what ways have individuals been able to shape the ideas and practices of IHOs since the late nineteenth-century?

2. What ideas lie behind IHOs and how have these changed over time?

3. How have success and failure been measured in assessing the impacts of IHOs?

4. Why do plans, policies and practices often diverge in the history of IHOs?

5. What impact have politics and social or cultural practices had on IHOs and their operations.

Conference schedule

International Health Organizations (IHOs): The history for the future network

21-23 April 2016

Thursday 9.00am Tea and Welcome

9.30am-10.30am KEYNOTE: Anne-Emanuelle Birn, University of Toronto

Little agenda-setters: Uruguay’s international child protection institute and the resonance of its rights approach to child health, 1920s-1940s.

Chair: Iris Borowy, Shanghai University

Thursday 10.30am-noon, Members and Remits

Chair: Thomas Davies, City University London

David Bryan, Birkbeck, University of London

‘The danger of political connections for a technical institution’: Franco’s Spain and the battle for universal membership at the birth of the WHO.

John Manton, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Health Planning in 1960s Africa: International Health Organisations and the post-colonial state

Yong-an Zhang and Jinghua Qiao, Shanghai University NATO’s Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society and the Governance of Air Pollution, 1969-1974

Thursday noon-1pm, Lunch

Thursday 1pm-2.30pm, Pioneers and Careers 1

Chair: James Mills, University of Strathclyde

Francisco Javier Martínez Antonio, Universidad de Évora Portugal

An individual affair? Sven Hedin, Hans Langlet and the intervention in Morocco’s Rif War of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Caroline Reeves, Harvard University Entrepreneurs and International Health Organizations: The Case Study of Shen Dunhe, founder of the Red Cross Society of China

Giulia Frezza and Mauro Capocci, Sapienza Università di Roma

Global Epidemiology: the development of Collegium Ramazzini as an International Health Organization

Thursday 2.30pm, Tea

Thursday 3pm-4.30pm, East Asian contexts 1

Chair: Wataru Iijima, Aoyamagakuin University Tokyo

Jingjing Su and Zhang Daqing, Peking University Center for the History of Medicine

Localization of World Health Organization Essential Medicine in China: From International Notion to National Policy

Waka Hirokawa, Senshu University Epidemiological Research and Missionary Work for Hansen’s Disease in Modern Japan

Tomoko Akami, The Australian National University

Self-help as a double-edge sword for national reconstruction and inter-colonial governance in Asia: the League of Nations Rural Hygiene Conference of Bandung 1937 and its implications for the post-war international health in Asia’

5.30pm Dinner

Friday 9.30am-10.30am

KEYNOTE: Iris Borowy, Shanghai University

International Health Organizations and Hazardous Waste: why was it waste and why was it hazardous?

Chair: Martin Gorsky, LSHTM

Friday 10.30pm-noon, Pioneers and careers 2

Chair: Zhou Xun, University of Essex

Thomas Davies, City University London Rethinking the Origins of International Health Organizations: The Case of Lifesaving Societies

Yuting Zhao, Peking University and Yuantao Huang, Durham University

A shared history: Frank Boudreau, Fred Soper, philanthropy and international health organizations

Min Fanxiang, Nanjing University

Positioning Founding Fathers: Locating the Creators of WHO

Friday Noon-1pm Lunch

Friday 1pm-2pm

KEYNOTE: Martin Gorsky, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The Politics of Health System Metrics, 1924-2000

Chair: Anne-Emanuelle Birn, University of Toronto

Friday 2.00pm Tea

Friday 2.30-4pm, Food and Drugs

Chair: Willem Scholten, WHO

John Collins, London School of Economics

Keeping out ‘The Impractical Social Uplifters’ : Avoiding the ‘Health and Welfarisation’ of Global Drug Control, 1945-1961.

Maziyar Ghiabi, University of Oxford

Prohibitionist globally, harm reductionist locally: the UNODC in Iran

Érico Silva Muniz, Universidade Federal do Pará (Belém/PA) Brazil

Drink milk, avoid manioc! Nutrition knowledge and the proposals for workforce improvement in Brazil (1940-1960).

Friday 4pm-5.30pm, East Asian contexts 2

Chair: Gao Xi, Fudan University

Junfeng Cui, Hebei University

The Medical Missionary Association of China: East Asian histories.

Zihui Zhang, Shanghai University

The Shanghai Incident and the Medical-Relief of Japanese Residents in Shanghai

Ge Tao, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

Development of Medical and Health Services of Modern Japan in Shanghai

Friday 6pm Dinner

Saturday 8.30am Tea


Saturday 9am -10.30am, After the Second World War

Chair: Mike Liu, Academia Sincia, Taiwan

Sławomir Łotysz, Polish Academy of Sciences

Spreading the strains of life. International Health Organizations and the dissemination of penicillin production methods in the early Cold War era.

Arnel Joven, University of Asia and the Pacific, Philippines

The Red Cross in a Divided Korea: From Wartime Health Crisis to Post-War and Contemporary Developments

Kayo Yasuda, Tokyo Metropolitan University

The Establishment of the Post-war International Health Organisation: The Role and Ideas of its Founders.

Saturday 9am-10.30am, Diseases

Chair: Tomoko Akami, The Australian National University

Wataru Iijima, Aoyamagakuin University Tokyo

Success and Failure: A comparative analysis of schistosomiasis japonica control in Japan, China and Philippines in the twentieth century.

Keiko Daidoji, Keio University

The Fear of Disease from Within: the Discovery of Dysentery Careers and the Rise of Ecological Epidemiology in Early Twentieth-Century Japan.

Pavel Ratmanov, Far Eastern State Medical University Russia

WU Lien-Teh Institute, Harbin Medical University

Chinese-Russian Plague Expeditions in Transbaikal region


Saturday 10.30am to Noon, East Asian contexts 3

Chair: Daqing Zhang, Peking University

Zhou Xun, University of Essex

A critical re-examination of the Anti-Schistosomiasis Campaign in Mao’s China, 1952-1976.

Meng Zhang, Peking University

The Rockefeller Foundation and Governmental Medical Education in Republican China: A Case Study of the Early History of Peking University Health Science Centre.

Mike Liu, Academia Sincia, Taiwan

Eating well for a stronger state: Nutrition experiments in the Sino-Japanese War, 1940-1945.

Saturday 10.30am to Noon, Drugs

Chair: John Collins, London School of Economics

Willem Scholten, former Secretary, WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence

Substance evaluation for the international substance control conventions 1912 – present

James Mills, University of Strathclyde

The Opium Conferences and Cannabis: Drugs, health and the League of Nations in 1925.

Emily Crick, University of Bristol

Leading from the front: how international health bodies have been leading the way in challenging the status quo on drug policy.

Saturday Noon Lunch

Saturday 1pm Trip to Linjiang Park War Museum

Saturday 6pm Dinner

The images on this site have been drawn from the Wellcome Collection. V0016272 Two designs for the Mengo Medical Mission, Uganda: on the front two scientists researching and on the reverse a medicine man and physician