©UNHCR/ Brian Sokol

IFHV Summer School on Humanitarian Action

Latest Information

At the moment we are not planning to repeat this summer school. Below you find the information from the last summer school on humanitarian action.

Digital Summer School on Humanitarian Action

What is the summer school all about?

Earthquakes, floods, forced displacements, and civil wars – these are humanitarian crises situations reported daily by the news media. But who is responsible, if people become victims of war and forced displacement? What is the legal foundation for crises operations of humanitarian organizations? What are the impacts of humanitarian interventions? How can humanitarian action be coordinated most effectively? And also, are humanitarian interventions able to address the root causes of crises and conflict?

Humanitarian organizations like the International Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, Care International and World Vision, and many others provide emergency relief in disasters and humanitarian crises. Despite the idealistic goals of humanitarianism, humanitarian organizations are often criticized. Too often humanitarian interventions and aid refuel and prolong conflict. Sometimes humanitarian assistance is provided in an inefficient and unprofessional way.

The Summer School 'Humanitarian Action' is a good opportunity to gain an insight in the exciting and challenging field of humanitarian action. The Summer School will familiarize participants with the fascinating, but demanding field of international humanitarian action and the manifold problems associated with reducing human suffering in crisis-zones.

The center of attention is on the ethical and practical challenge that humanitarian organizations face. The Summer School focuses on the legal and political foundations of humanitarian interventions, and the mode of operation and management of humanitarian organizations.

Participants attend lectures, discussions, and a simulation exercise in which they can take on the role of humanitarian actors and learn about the coordination mechanisms of international humanitarian action first-hand. On the last day of the Summer School a workshop will take place where experts of humanitarian organizations tell about their experiences in the interdisciplinary professional field of humanitarian action.

The Summer School is conducted in English and is credited with 5 CP. Law students can obtain the 'Fremdsprachenschein' (§ 7 Abs. 1 Nr. 3, Abs. 3 JAG NRW). Medical Students can obtain credits for the “Vorklinische Wahlfach”.

Who can participate and what are the requierements?

The Summer School is open to B.A. and M.A. students from all faculties. Additionally, students from any other field of study are able to participate, space permitting.

The entrance requirements for the Summer School are a sound knowledge of English, at least two completed semesters of study and an interest in humanitarian action as well as in the interdisciplinary exchange with other students. Applicants should write a short motivation letter (max. 300 words) and apply online together with a short CV.

The number of participants is limited to 40 students. Applicants will receive more and detailed information after being admitted.

What is the workload?

In the weeks before the Summer School, students will have to read: Michael Barnett and Thomas G. Weiss (2011) "Humanitarianism Contested: Where Angels Fear to Tread," New York: Routledge. This book provides a critical introduction to the notion of humanitarianism in global politics, tracing the concept from its origins to the 21st century. It examines how the so-called international community works in response to humanitarian crises and the systems that bind and divide them. Copies are available at Schaten Buchhandlung at the 'Uni-Center' Bochum or also on http://www.amazon.de. Students will have to write a 2-page book review on this book. During the sessions, they will also have to hold one group presentation (10-15 minutes). The book review and the presentation will have to be prepared before the Summer School starts. Additionally, there are required readings for every session. And for the digital Summer School, we have developed additional exercises. Finally, students will have to write a 10-page assignment related to their group presentation.

A preparatory meeting will be held for all participants, including an introductory lecture as well as preparation material and information for the simulation game.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact the IFHV at summerschool-ifhv@rub.de.