Youth in Crisis Program


HHI’s Children in Crisis Program focuses on addressing the critical needs of crisis-affected children and youth in humanitarian contexts.

Children are among the first and most severely affected by the consequences of crisis and conflict.  Because of their inherent vulnerability, children are disproportionately impacted by war, social unrest, disaster, and economic crisis.  Within settings of conflict and crisis, they can become increasingly vulnerable through the loss of adult care-providers, disruption of social structure and protections, and an environment of violence and exploitation.  It is essential for the international community to understand more fully children’s unique needs in order to prevent, mitigate, and address these detrimental health consequences. 

Current Projects

Current projects for the HHI Children in Crisis Program include the newly established Middle East Youth in Crisis Project, addressing the urgent need for expanded cooperation and investment in the lives and livelihoods of youth and adolescents in crisis-affected contexts in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region.  The Project aims to open new frontiers in research, innovation, and knowledge exchange, spanning international boundaries and improving the translation of research into practice in this area of critical need.

Research priorities for the Middle East Youth in Crisis Project include:

  • Analyzing and evaluating new models of education and mentorship in livelihoods, microfinance, and business development in this segment of the population; and,
  • Conducting research on how to access educational opportunities for displaced and conflict-affected youth.

Middle East Youth in Crisis

The newly established Middle East Youth in Crisis program will enable seed-funding of innovative research and knowledge exchange across Harvard University and the MENA region through:

  • Faculty research grants
  • Student fellowships
  • Summits / conferences
  • Youth-focused community of practice / regional working groups

More information on these opportunities will be announced in the coming months.

Featured Publication

January, 2015

Opportunities for youth can be severely limited among many communities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that are disrupted by conflict or impoverishment. Recent political and economic factors, as well as a rapidly growing youth population, have greatly increased the vulnerability of at-risk youth in the MENA region.


Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Brett D. Nelson MD, MPH, DTM&H