The intent of the class is to introduce students to a broad range of research and writing that constitutes our knowledge on humanitarian action in complex emergencies, and to give the student the skills to read research and keep abreast of a rapidly evolving field. There is a strong emphasis on the practical application of this knowledge. The course simultaneously treats humanitarian action as a phenomenon to be understood and as a practice that urgently needs to be improved.
This multi-disciplinary course will cover a broad range of subjects, and has a number of objectives. By the end of the course, students will be able to: Outline historical perspectives on humanitarian action; Describe and define the application of international humanitarian law, principles, and codes of conduct to humanitarian action in complex emergencies, and outline major debates surrounding these frameworks; Utilize the main analytical frameworks for addressing the protection of life, livelihoods, rights and safety of people caught in complex emergencies; Critically and quickly read, interpret and apply research on humanitarian action; Analyze the political economy of conflict and humanitarian assistance; Discuss the ethical and practical implications of incorporating human rights in humanitarian action; Utilize methodologies for improving the quality, effectiveness and accountability of humanitarian action; and Describe the evolving nature of conflict, crisis, and the architecture of the humanitarian system. This course is cross-listed with The Fletcher School (DHP D230).