Urban Humanitarian Emergencies Course

July 16 - 19, 2019
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Course Dates

The 2019 Urban Humanitarian Emergencies Workshop will be held at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA from Tuesday, July 16 - Friday, July 19, 2019.

Course Description

Humanitarian organizations, international agencies and governments that serve populations affected by crises find themselves increasingly in urban settings. Agencies face new challenges, and some potential advantages, in these complex urban environments and are only just learning how to approach them. These new challenges take many forms: complicated physical layouts, poorly prepared institutions and infrastructure, a mixed target population of refugees and underserved locals. Furthermore, coordination of NGOs, communities as well as local authorities calls for urgent education and training in urban crises. 

The Urban Humanitarian Emergencies Course is a four-day training organized by the Academy's Lavine Family Humanitarian Studies Initiative to train humanitarian professionals on the current issues and practices involved in this unique and expanding area of research and practice. The course faculty is experienced in humanitarian training and has on-the-ground experience with humanitarian crises in urban areas.

The first day of the workshop includes a Walk-about activity in the city of Boston, in which participants will walk to and discuss various urban features of the city. Participants will be expected to walk several miles over the course of the day. Please let us know if this presents an issue. 

Intended Audience

NGO and UN workers, national and local government disaster preparedness planners, and others involved in emergency-phase response to disasters and humanitarian crises. 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).


Experts in international humanitarian response from universities, NGOs, and non-governmental aid agencies.

Stephanie Kayden, MD, MPH - Director, Lavine Family Humanitarian Studies Initiative, Humanitarian Academy at Harvard

David Sanderson, BA (Hons), DipArch, MSc, PhD - Inaugural Judith Neilson Chair of Architecture, UNSW Australia

Ronak PatelMD, MPH - Director, Urbanization and Resilience Program, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Course Fee

Standard Registration Fee: $1750 (Early Registration Rate of $1600 is available until May 17, 2019)

Course fees will cover the workshop, breakfast, lunch and course materials. Formal confirmation of enrollment will be sent upon receipt of course fees and review of requested registration materials. Please note that registration is not completed and your spot in the workshop is not guaranteed until full payment of the course fee has been received. The Urban Humanitarian Emergencies Course is a self-funded program and all participants are required to pay a registration fee. At this time participation scholarships are not available. Please note that accommodations and travel are not included in the course fee.

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 early. 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 or a wire transfer are the only payment methods accepted from international guests.  International checks will not be accepted.  International attendees who select “check” as the payment method will not be registered.
  • 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 hhiurbancourse@gmail.com.

Cancellation Policy

  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. 

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 confirmation of enrollment 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. 

All cancellation and deferment requests should be submitted to hhiurbancourse@gmail.com

Topics covered will include:

  • Response to Recovery
  • Coordination
  • Communication
  • Assessment and Prioritization
  • Integrated Sectors
  • Finance and Economy
  • Markets
  • Housing and Shelter
  • Delivering Aid
  • Violence and Protection
  • Health
  • Exit Strategy

Contact Us

All questions, cancellations, and deferment requests should be submitted to: hhiurbancourse@gmail.com