Switzerland, Geneva

Understanding Humanitarian Action

when 19 June 2017 - 30 June 2017
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 6 ECTS
fee CHF 1600

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 three weeks allow participants to capture the complexity and diversity of humanitarian action.
Please note: Changes to the draft program may be made at any time prior to the start of the course.

Course leader

Professor Doris Schopper
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 Huma

Target group

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.

Credits info

6 ECTS
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). Students wanting to acquire 6 ECTS have the opportunity to do so on the basis of a satisfactory take-home paper, to be written within a week after the end of the summer school.

Participants will be provided with a Certificate of Completion of the course if they satisfy attendance and evaluation requirements. It is the participant’s responsibility to verify the validity of the course and validate it at their home university prior to participating in the course.

Fee info

CHF 1600: Early Bird Deadline, March 1st, 2017: 1,600 CHF
CHF 1900: Final Deadline, May 1st, 2017: 1,900 CHF