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June 19 - 30, 2017 (2 weeks)

Application Deadline: June 12, 2017

Course description

This summer school provides participants with an understanding of the main stakes and questions in humanitarian action and contributes to building critical thinking.

The first week introduces the main concepts of humanitarian aid – including elements that should be considered (or not) when defining humanitarian action – and presents the humanitarian principles and framework in which assistance activities take place. Besides history, law and geopolitics of humanitarian action, we also analyse the context and the characteristics of humanitarian crises and the various types of responses.

Through case studies from contexts such as Philippines, Syria, Haiti or Afghanistan, the main operational challenges faced by international and national organisations will be identified during the second week. Finally, working on a concrete scenario during two days, participants will partially experience the tasks undertaken by humanitarian workers and get the opportunity to practically apply their newly acquired knowledge.

Overall, the two weeks allow participants to capture the complexity and diversity of humanitarian action.

Assessments are based on active participation and an assignment carried out during the two days. Upon successful completion of the course, participants are evaluated based on a group presentation on the last days of the two-weeks summer school (equivalence of 4 ECTS).

Please note: Changes to the draft program may be made at any time prior to the start of the course.

Target Audience

The course is aimed at professionals with no background in humanitarian action as well as undergraduate and graduate students who wish to learn and understand more about humanitarian action, to study this field and/or are interested in joining a humanitarian organisation.

CERAH encourages applications from a large variety of disciplines – social sciences, humanities, arts and medicine among others. The course is taught in English.

Tuition Fees

UNIGE students: 400 CHF

Others: 1,900 CHF

Faculty & Staff

Course Directors:

Faculty of Medicine
University of Geneva 
Director, Geneva Centre for Research and Education in Humanitarian Action

Ms. Claire Barthélémy
Diploma Coordinator and Lecturer
Geneva Centre for Research and Education in Humanitarian Action

All lecturers have a wide experience in the humanitarian field. CERAH invites both scholars and professionals coming from Geneva-based humanitarian and international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or the World Health Organisation (WHO), and from the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute.

Schedule & Classes

Download schedule here.