About Us

About HHI

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is a University-wide academic and research center in humanitarian crisis and leadership supported by Harvard University's Office of the Provost and based at the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The mission of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is to conduct research and education on the practice of relieving human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide.  HHI’s aim is to relieve human suffering in war and disaster by conducting interdisciplinary, practice-based research and education that can be used by scholars, policymakers, NGOs, and others to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in order to:

  • Improve the effectiveness of humanitarian strategies for relief, protection, and prevention;
  • Instill human rights principles and practices in these strategies; and
  • Educate and train the next generation of humanitarian leaders.

HHI has major programs in four key thematic areas:  Populations in Crisis, Humanitarian Data and Technology, Disaster Resilience, and Humanitarian Policy and Evaluation. HHI has established substantive collaborations with NGOs, UN agencies, governments and universities to improve the quality, accountability, and effective of humanitarian aid in war, conflict and disaster.

HHI has many faculty collaborators and fellows, and a network of undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in research and policy development in the humanitarian arena.


Humanitarian Academy

HHI launched the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard in 2012. The Academy is one of the first systematic educational programs for humanitarian workers offered by a major global university, established to help build knowledge and skills among prospective and current aid workers on the front lines of humanitarian relief work and in leadership roles.  The scope of the Academy’s work includes capacity building in the form of humanitarian studies curriculum, e-learning, blended learning, professional network building, case study development and innovative immersive / experiential learning. The Academy offers a certificate-based, interdisciplinary concentration in humanitarian studies, ethics, and human rights for Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health graduate students.