Until his formal retirement at the end of 2016, Dirk Salomons directed the humanitarian policy track at Columbia’s School of International Public Affairs (SIPA), and then continued teaching there as a special lecturer; he also holds an appointment as a visiting professor at Sciences Po in Paris. In his research as well as in teaching, Salomons focuses on the interaction between policy and management in humanitarian operations. He has a particular interest in the transition from relief to recovery in countries coming out of conflict.
Prior to joining the SIPA faculty in 2002, Salomons served since 1997 as managing partner of the Praxis Group, Ltd., an international management consulting firm based in the USA and Switzerland, where he continued, ultimately in an advisory role, until the end of 2012. He also was a non-resident fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, working mainly on post-conflict stabilization issues.
From 1970 until 1997, Salomons served in a wide range of management, peace building, and policy advisory functions in several organizations of the United Nations system, including FAO, UNDP, UNAIDS, UNOPS, and the UN Secretariat. During these years, he led the Policy Division of the UN’s International Civil Service Commission, presided over the UN’s Joint Appeals Board, monitored elections in Nicaragua, sorted out problems in UNDP field offices, and fought to improve the status of women in the UN system. His most cherished assignment was that of executive director for the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Mozambique, from 1992 to 1993.
As a consultant, subsequently, Salomons advised on the restructuring of UNCTAD and of UNFPA, the management of humanitarian mine action in Kosovo and Iraq, the use of “clusters” in the coordination of humanitarian action, funding mechanisms for post-conflict recovery, and broader issues of management in international organizations. Fieldwork for these evaluations and policy studies was largely done in Chad, Sudan, the DR Congo, and West Africa, as well as in the Middle East (Gaza, Jordan) and on the island of Mindanao.
Salomons, a national of the Netherlands, started his career as a literary critic for the Algemeen Handelsblad, and as a translator of Thomas Mann, while working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He received a “kandidaats” degree from the University of Amsterdam in 1964, and subsequently obtained his “doctoraal”, in Germanic languages, also at the University of Amsterdam, in 1967.
“Charity or Charade: The Tragedy of Humanitarianism”, Journal of International Affairs, Summer 2017, Vol. 70, No.2
“The Perils of Dunantism: Towards Rights-based Humanitarianism”, in: Andrej Zwitter, Christopher Lamont, Hans-Joachim Heintze, Joost Herman (eds), Humanitarian Action: Global, Regional and Domestic Responses to Local Challenges, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015
Le manuel de gestion pour les missions de terrain onusiennes”, with Alice Hecht and Till Papenfuss, International Peace Institute, New York, 2014
“Good Intentions to Naught: Revisiting the Pathology of Human Resources Management at the United Nations”, in: Dijkzeul, Dennis and Beigbeder, Yves (eds), Rethinking International Organizations: Pathology and Promise, New York, Berghahn Books, 2014
Last Updated March 31, 2020