The term humanitarianism finds its roots in 19th-century Europe and is generally defined as the “impartial, neutral, and independent provision of relief to victims of conflict and natural disasters.” Behind this definition lies a dynamic history. According to political scientists Michael Barnett and Thomas G. Weiss, this history can be divided into three phases. From the 19th century to World War II, humanitarianism was a reaction to the perceived breakdown of society and the emergence of moral ills caused by rapid industrialization within Europe. The era between World War II and the 1990s saw the emergence of many of today's nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations. These organizations sought to address the suffering caused by World War I and World War II, but also turned their gaze toward the non-Western world, which was in the process of decolonization. The third phase began in the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War, and witnessed an expansion of humanitarianism. One characteristic of this expansion is the increasing prominence of states, regional organizations, and the United Nations in the field of humanitarian action. Their increased prominence has been paralleled by a growing linkage between humanitarian concerns and the issue of state, regional, and global security. Is it possible that, in the 21st century, humanitarianism is entering a new (fourth) phase? And, if so, what role have events in the Middle East played in ushering it in? I seek to answer these questions by focusing on regional consultations that took place between June 2014 and July 2015 in preparation for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), scheduled to take place in Istanbul in May 2016.