Articulating an Agenda for Humanitarian Education and Training
When the Academic and Humanitarian worlds met
26th - 28th October 2011 in Geneva (Switzerland)
In October, ELRHA co-hosted a conference on humanitarian education and training in partnership with CERAH (Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action), from the University of Geneva. For the first time, major academic institutions and international organisations from the humanitarian sector came together to jointly consider the education and professional development needs of the humanitarian workforce.
We are pleased to annouce the publication of the Humanitarian Education and Training Conference Report. Many thanks to all those who participated in both the event and the consultation of this report. We hope you find the report informative and an accurate representation of the event and the dicussions which took place over the three days.
Managing humanitarian activities and responses today and adapting to new, fast changing and uncertain contexts awaiting the world in the very near future, requires professional organisations staffed with individuals with professional skills and expertise.
“To enable humanitarian professionals to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow we must firstly fully understand the needs of those who work in the field," said Prof. Doris Schopper, Director of CERAH and former President of MSF. “Then we should define what the added value of an academic training is and what competences such training should provide. I very much hope that our event has greatly contributed to defining the core academic skills humanitarian workers should be able to acquire.”
Jess Camburn, Director of ELRHA, added"With the predicted increase in the scale and frequency of humanitarian crises, we must rapidly scale up the capacity of the humanitarian workforce if we are to meet the needs of crises affected populations. This does not only mean focusing on the needs of the international response community; the majority of humanitarian work is undertaken by staff working within their national borders, therefore it is crucial that we find the means to increase the access and quality of training provision and professional development opportunities in those regions where disasters and protracted crises occur.”
The conference brought together 170 experts in the field of humanitarian education and training from across the globe to clarify the requirements of this emerging profession and to explore the urgent need to agree on common core professional knowledge, core competences and essential humanitarian roles to create a basis for a dialogue and division of roles and responsibilities between universities, humanitarian organisations and other education and training institutions.
The two-and-a-half day event aimed to contribute to developing synergies and collaboration within and across humanitarian and academic sectors in finding and advancing solutions to identified challenges. The specific objectives were:
- Foster dialogue and links between the two sectors – humanitarian and academic, and different cultures – anglophone, francophone, North and South – with a view to discuss and critically assess the field of humanitarian studies education
- Catalyse continued or new collaborative efforts related to education and training of humanitarian workers in the field of core humanitarian studies curriculum and in the development of competency frameworks for the training of humanitarian workers
- Identify strategies, next steps and key challenges to scaling-up of training and education of national humanitarian workforce and in countries in crises