History of humanitarianism (thematic short course) | Geneva Humanitarian Connector

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History of humanitarianism (thematic short course)

Event information

Time and Date

18 Sep 2017 - 22 Sep 2017


Upon invitation/ application only

Event format

Training/ course/ workshop



Event fee

Yes (see event page)


You are interested in understanding the roots of the current humanitarian system? You would like to deepen your knowledge of previous humanitarian crises? You are curious about how feelings of pity, compassion or humanity came along to embody a new form of humanitarian feelings?

This short course will be of interest for you: Analyze the humanitarian contexts since the 19th century, learn about the actors and their motivations as they emerge, debate about ethical, political, operational or legal problems the humanitarian organizations had to face, to make links with current humanitarian situations.



At the end of the course, students will have a general overview of the founding moments of the history of humanitarianism, from its origins in the 19th century to its neo-liberal forms in the 1960s-1990s.

Learning outcomes in terms of knowledge - Understanding of

  • The major humanitarian crises or events that challenged existing humanitarian actors and organisations from a historical point of view
  • The growth, politicization and internationalization of humanitarian action from a historical and global perspective
  • The new types of violence, victims and the emergence of civilians along the 19th-20th centuries

Learning outcomes in terms of skills - Capacity to

  • To use historical sources such as written archives, pictures, posters and films
  • To assess a knowledge of places to find historical data resources
  • To identify key elements of the past in terms of actors and institutions
  • To assess the need of historical perspective within the perception of humanitarian action

Learning outcomes in terms of analytical competences - Ability to

  • To think in terms of continuities and fractures learnt from past humanitarian crises to the present
  • To analyse the political-social-economical-social roots at the core of previous humanitarian operations
  • To make the difference between ideological/institutional history and historical facts



2 ECTS - Credits recognized by the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.



2 weeks before the start of the course
Note: If you need a visa, registration 6 weeks before the start of the course.


Centre of Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH)
Rue Rothschild 22
1202 Geneva


For communication and media-related inquiries:
Tel: +41 22 908 44 71


For education-related inquiries:
Tel: +41 22 908 44 53



CERAH offices
Rue Rothschild 22