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Humanitarianism course starts August 23, includes refugee camp simulation, HHH returning students please note that space available

EricforHHHericjames.jpg Eric James - Director of Program Development at American Refugee Committee will teach PA 5821 Humanitarianism fall term 2011. This course will be offered in three time segments: PA 5821 Flyer-1 Humanitarianism course 2011.pub

9:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. , Tu,W,Th (08/23/2011 - 08/25/2011)

9:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. , Sa (09/24/2011 - 09/24/2011)

3 credits Aug 26-27 will be an overnight refugee camp simulation off-site in Cannon Falls.

The course begins by introducing students to the basic concepts, premises and challenges of the humanitarian endeavor. Using a mix of lectures, guest visitors, case-studies and small group interactions, the second portion of the course explores the theories, ethical precepts and tools of humanitarianism. The course culminates in a full-day simulation exercise intended to familiarize students with the implementation of humanitarian assistance projects.

Draft syllabus: Humanitarianism Syllabus Draft August 2011.doc

Contact Sherry Gray with questions.

PA 5821, section 1: Humanitarianism
(prereq Grad student or instr consent )
09:00 A.M. - 04:00 P.M. , Tu,W,Th (08/23/2011 - 08/25/2011) , TCWESTBANK James,Eric J
F,Sa (08/26/2011 - 08/27/2011) , . ROOM TBA , TCWESTBANK , James,Eric Jon
9:00 A.M. - 02:00 P.M. , Sa (09/24/2011 - 09/24/2011) , TCWESTBANK , James,Eric Jon
3 credits Aug 26-27 will be an overnight refugee camp simulation off-site in Cannon Falls.

At present, the failures of development, governance and military intervention are as pronounced as ever. In too many countries, development remains stillborn or is being undone by the challenges of economic crises and resource scarcity, increased urbanization, the outbreak of disease and pandemics (including Avian flu, H1N1 and HIV/AIDS), a three year decline in political freedom worldwide and ever present violent conflict. Further, climate change has resulted in "natural" disasters (such as severe drought, desertification, flooding and rising sea levels) that have been linked, in 2007, to 14 out of 15 UN flash appeals for emergency funding and are expected to generate 50 million displaced people this year.

There now exist a network of states, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations that count themselves as part of the humanitarian sector. These organizations have helped to create, and been nourished by, a complex of normative and legal principles. Meeting these challenges is perhaps the most important endeavor faced by practitioners, scholars and policy makers.

The overall aim of this multidisciplinary course is for students to learn and critically examine the evolution, functions, systems and challenges faced in the design, formation and implementation of humanitarianism. Combing theory and practice, this course focuses on the knowledge and skills required by practitioners to formulate and manage programs in contexts where apparent "solutions" for reducing human suffering are usually far more complex than they appear on the surface.

The course begins by introducing students to the basic concepts, premises and challenges of the humanitarian endeavor. Using a mix of lectures, guest visitors, case-studies and small group interactions, the second portion of the course explores the theories, ethical precepts and tools of humanitarianism. The course culminates in a full-day simulation exercise intended to familiarize students with the implementation of humanitarian assistance projects.

The skills students develop and hone during the course include advocacy, verbal and written presentation, negotiation as well as programming and technical understanding. Importantly, the course also gives students the opportunity to adopt a broader scope of inquiry which offers an opportunity to consider critically the impact and consequences of humanitarianism in a comprehensive and illuminating way. Wary that a disproportionate concern with "how to," rather than "why," will tend to lead to a palliative pragmatism, such an informed understanding is essential for getting beyond the technocratic mechanisms of organizing assistance programs and an attempt to reconnect humanitarian issues to broader disciplinary debates within public service and international development. This will enable students to consider and analyze the difficult questions that confront those involved in humanitarianism. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

Describe and evaluate the main theoretical concepts, the historical development and policies behind humanitarian aid and interventions

Understand common good practice, minimum standards and how to improve the effectiveness and accountability of program implementation

Learn a range of tools, techniques and skills for the effective management of organizational learning, strategy and change within humanitarian organizations

Gain a critical understanding of the actions of those involved in and the people touched by humanitarianism Use case studies to show how perceptions shape international responses to disasters

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