Humanitarian Response Intensive Course

April 2020
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

The Humanitarian Response Intensive Course will be held in April 2020 at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, USA. Final dates will be announced and registration will open in late summer.

To be notified when registration opens, please fill out this form: 


The Humanitarian Response Intensive Course is offered each year to professionals from around the world at Harvard University. Through presentations and hands-on table top exercises offered by faculty and guest lecturers who are experts in their topic areas, participants will gain familiarity with the primary frameworks in the humanitarian field (human rights, livelihoods, Sphere standards, international humanitarian law) and will focus on practical issues that arise in the field, such as personal and team security, rapid assessments, application of minimum standards for food security, shelter, WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and operational approaches to relations with the military in humanitarian settings. Throughout the class, students will participate in pre-assigned learning teams to complete in-class projects designed to compliment a humanitarian case study. At the conclusion of class, student teams will present an aid delivery proposal designed to meet the needs of the population portrayed in the humanitarian case study.

Classes will be held in English. To successfully participate in the course, we recommend that participants have at least a B2 English language level (CEFR).


Participants will utilize knowledge of the humanitarian field gained in the classroom learning sessions during a three-day field simulation exercise. Attendees will spend two nights in the forest and participate in a complicated disaster and conflict scenario. During the simulation, participants will work in teams representing different humanitarian nongovernmental organizations and will engage with a wide range of local and non-state actors (roles developed and filled by faculty, course alumni, and affiliates) to create a service delivery plan.

The simulation will be held rain or shine. 

Course Fees

The Course Fee can be paid via credit card in the online registration portal. 

Course fees will cover the classroom training (breakfast, lunch and course materials) as well as participation in the disaster simulation exercise (meals, tent and shared equipment rentals included). Proof of employment and/or citizenship may be required for certain registration discounts. Formal confirmation of enrollment will be sent upon receipt of course fees and review of requested registration materials. Course fees can be paid via credit card. The Humanitarian Response Intensive Course is a self-funded program and all participants are required to pay a registration fee. Accommodations and travel are not included in the course fee. Please note that your registration is not completed and your space in the workshop is not guaranteed until payment has been received in full. 

Participant from Developing Country Scholarship

This year, we are offering a limited number of full scholarships for participants from developing countries. This scholarship only covers the workshop registration fee - participants are still required to cover their own travel and accommodations during the workshop.

The scholarship application deadline was October 15, 2018. We will be sending out results to all applicants by the end of October. 

Please note that if you are not selected, you can still register for the Humanitarian Response Intensive Course under the standard registration rate.

If you have any questions, please email

Special Instructions for International Participants

The Humanitarian Academy at Harvard encourages workshop participation by international guests. If you will be traveling from another country to attend the workshop and will need a visa to enter the United States, then please read carefully the following information.

Due to the visa application process, it is recommended that you register for the workshop by February 1, 2019. Invitation letters for the purposes of securing a visa will be sent by the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard under only the following conditions:

  • Registration is completed and paid in full.  A credit card is the only payment method accepted from international guests.
  • Proof of hotel reservations or alternative lodging within metropolitan Boston OR a letter of support from your organization verifying your intent to attend the specified program.

Please note that participants must specifically request a Letter of Support for a Visa application by emailing


If course fees have been paid and you require a Visa to attend the class, please notify the course organizers as soon as possible in order to request a letter. If you have paid and subsequently your Visa request is denied, you may transfer your registration to another course at no charge or request a cancellation refund. Cancellations for denied Visas are handled on a case by case basis and you may need to provide proof of Visa denial. 

  1. Registration may be transferred to a colleague at any time free of charge.
  2. Registration may be deferred to following year’s course, free of charge, up until 30 days prior to the first day of the course. Deferment requests received within 30 days of the start of class will incur a $150 USD fee. Registration can only be deferred for one year, and then the registration will be cancelled and registration fees will be non-refundable.
  3. Cancellation requests received up until 30 days prior to first day of the course will be eligible for a refund minus $150 USD cancellation fee.
  4. Cancellation requests received within 30 days of the start of the course will not be eligible for a refund. 

All cancellation and deferment requests should be submitted to

Select Topics covered in the course

  • Rapid Assessment
  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
  • Shelter and Site Management
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Budgeting and Finance
  • Monitoring & Evaluation
  • Food Aid and Nutrition
  • Media Training

View a full agenda from a previous year here

Contact Us

All questions, cancellations, and deferment requests should be submitted to: