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UNITAR hosts Duke University’ course on Humanitarian Assistance: Policy, Law and Practice
June 22nd-26th 2009
UNITAR Programme UNOSAT has been a regular feature in the humanitarian courses offered by Duke University’s Institute of Public Policy. This year, thanks to an institutional agreement between UNITAR and Duke’s, the course takes place on the Institute premises in Geneva.
UNITAR warmly welcomes Duke’s students and teachers and takes pleasure in creating this new opportunity for knowledge transfer between the Institute and a prestigious University.
Program on Global Policy and Governance
Offered by Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, the Program on Global Policy and Governance isdesigned to expose future international policy leaders to the field of global governance and policy from an academic and experiential perspective. In addition to the Geneva Policy Internships, a major element of the Program is the course International Humanitarian Assistance: Policy, Law and Practice as described in this outline and syllabus.
This course is intended to provide students with a thorough introduction to international humanitarian assistance covering legal aspects and major practical and policy considerations with regard to implementation. The course is practitioner oriented with a strong foundation in both academic theory and current events.
The course begins by outlining the framework of international human rights law and other branches of international law relevant to humanitarian assistance including international humanitarian law and refugee law. In doing so, it discusses major humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. Given their current international relevance, it also presents a brief history and the main elements behind the notion of “human security” and the highly debated principle of the “right to protect”.
The course continues by exploring key considerations regarding the implementation of humanitarian assistance, including early warning systems, and operational challenges such as timely response and unhindered access; funding; coordination and cooperation; political considerations; the relationship between humanitarian assistance and longer-term sustainable development. In doing so, it looks at the many actors that play a part in providing humanitarian assistance ranging from the United Nations to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to non-governmental actors.
Finally, the course considers those who are specifically affected by humanitarian crises and specific approaches to respond to their situations. It looks at protection and assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs); and the special needs of particularly vulnerable groups including women and children.
The course will include institutional briefings and class lectures from experienced high-level practitioners. These interactive presentations will encourage students to apply the knowledge they have acquired to actual and hypothetical situations with case studies of modern humanitarian crises and “hands on” exercises.