Harvard Students

Preparing the next generation of humanitarian leaders

Preparing the next generation of humanitarian leaders

May 3, 2022

On April 29 – 30, 2022, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative held its annual humanitarian response simulation. Working in teams representing different non-governmental organizations, graduate students from GHP 515/518 interacted with a variety of local and non-state actors portrayed by volunteers to create an aid delivery plan in response to a complex humanitarian crisis scenario. Through this simulation, students utilized their knowledge of the humanitarian field gained in classroom learning sessions and further developed the practical skills needed to engage...

Read more about Preparing the next generation of humanitarian leaders
2021 Sep 16

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Student Open House


On September 16, 2021 at 10am ET, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative will be hosting a virtual open house.

Register at http://hsph.me/hhiopenhouse

This event is open to Harvard students, staff, and faculty. 

Learn about our research and educational programs, and find out how to get involved through research assistant positions, internships, and humanitarian-focused student events.

Read more about Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Student Open House
Sean M. Kivlehan, Kathryne Tenney, Samuel Plasmati, Vincenzo Bollettino, Katie Farineau, Eric J. Nilles, Greg Gottlieb, and Stephanie R. Kayden. 5/2021. “Humanitarian Training with Virtual Simulation during a Pandemic.” Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Read PublicationAbstract

There is an ongoing and established need for humanitarian training and professionalization. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted training programs designed to accomplish this goal, including the Humanitarian Response Intensive Course, which includes a three-day immersive simulation to prepare humanitarian workers for future field work. To provide program continuity, the three day simulation was quickly adapted to a virtual format using a combination of video conferencing, short messaging service, and cloud-based file storage software. Participants were geographically dispersed and participated virtually. Learning objectives were preserved while some components not amenable to a virtual format were removed.

A virtual humanitarian training simulation is a feasible, acceptable, and affordable alternative to an in-person simulation. Participants were engaged and experienced minimal technological disruptions. The majority of students felt the format met or exceeded expectations. However, feedback also emphasized the importance of providing sufficient time for team collaboration and deliverable preparation in the simulation schedule. The virtual format was more affordable than the traditional in-person simulation and diverse expert faculty who could not have attended in-person were able to participate. This format could be used to overcome other barriers to in-person simulation training, including geographic, financial, time, or security.