Formation continue

Humanitarian Action


At the end of the course, participants will have developed a critical understanding of contemporary humanitarian action informed by academic scholarship, which will enable them to become better informed, and more aware and effective humanitarian practitioners, more autonomous in their decisions.
More specifically, at the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the politico-historical foundations of humanitarianism, the changing nature of humanitarian crises and the various forms of humanitarian action.
  • Widen their conception of humanitarianism by acknowledging the existence of other philanthropic, charity and faith-based endeavours
  • Understand the ethical, normative and legal aspects of humanitarianism including the overlap between humanitarianism, militarism and sanctions
  • Identify the various actors of humanitarian action and understand the political economy of the field
  • Conceptualize humanitarianism as a distinct mode of governing and understand its link with border control policies and security regimes


Professional in the humanitarian, development or social sector looking to develop their competencies as well as reflect and capitalise on their experiences.

Professional from other sectors who wishes to increase their understanding of the humanitarian sector for a potential career change

Graduate student with relevant volunteer or intern experience, looking to undertake a postgraduate course with a view to entering the humanitarian sector


The course is divided in five modules:

  • M1: Humanitarianisms
  • M2: Contexts, Actions and Consequences
  • M3: Revisiting Vulnerability and Needs
  • M4: Humanitarian Governance, Norms and Principles
  • M5: The Humanitarians

The Diploma also includes the writing of a final dissertation to be presented by 31 January 2022.


Prof. Karl BLANCHET, Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies, University of Geneva


Professor Julie BILLAUD, Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies, IHEID

Diploma delivered jointly with

University of Geneva, IHEID

7 mars 2019