Summer School - Understanding Humanitarian Action, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Publish Date: May 11, 2015

Deadline: May 15, 2015

Event Dates: from Jun 15, 2015 12:00 to Jun 26, 2015 12:00


This summer school provides participants with an understanding of the main stakes and questions in Humanitarian Action (HA) and contributes to building one’s own critical thinking.

The first week introduces the main concepts of this type of aid – including elements to be considered (or not) for a definition of Humanitarian Action – and presents the humanitarian principles and framework in which interventions take place. As we look at the history, law and geopolitics of Humanitarian Action, we also analyse the causes of humanitarian crises and types of responses. .

Through case studies on contexts such as the Philippines, Syria, Haiti or Afghanistan, the main operational challenges faced by international and local 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.

4 ECTS. Assessment of the participants is based on active participation and an assignment carried out during the 2 days scenario.

Still Curious? Check the Course Program 2014


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.

Academic Directors:

Professor Doris Schopper
University of Geneva 

Ms. Claire Barthélémy
Diploma Coordinator and Lecturer


Full Faculty list to be added in early 2015.


The course is aimed at non-humanitarian professionals, undergraduate and graduate students, who have the desire to learn and understand more about Humanitarian Action, to study this field and/or to become part of a humanitarian organisation. CERAH encourages applications of participants coming from a large variety of disciplines – social sciences, humanities, arts, medicine… The course is taught in English.


Tuition Fees: 2200 CHF

Application Deadline: May 15, 2015.

No financial aid available for this course.

UNIGE students 

Geneva Summer Schools Excellence Scholarships 2015

Geneva Summer Schools offers a limited number of Excellence Scholarships to summer school participants for certain courses.

These scholarships are in the form ofpartial or full tuition exemption.

Scholarship application is done in the online application form.

To apply for a scholarship, students must include: 

  • Scholarship statement
  • Letter of Recommendation

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, letter of reference, and financial need. Incomplete scholarship applications will not be considered.

ThinkSwiss Scholarships 2015

The Geneva Summer Schools has 4 ThinkSwiss Scholarships to award (up to 1300 CHF each) to students enrolled in Canadian and US Universities who wish to attend the Geneva Summer Schools 2015. These scholarships are sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland in the United States of America.

To be considered for a ThinkSwiss scholarship:

  • Apply for your summer school online (
  • Send in your ThinkSwiss application (deadline May 1, 2015) to with the subject « ThinkSwiss Application » composed of:
    • a 500 word (max) statement about why you would like to be considered for this Think Swiss scholarship
    • Your CV
    • Proof  of enrollment in Canadian or US university
    • Current academic transcript 

External Study Abroad scholarships

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