Humanitarian Response Intensive Course

2014 course dates: April 15 - 27

Classroom Week 1: April 15 - 19 Classroom Week 2: April 21 - 24 Field Simulation: April 25 - 27


The Humanitarian Response Intensive Course is offered each year to professionals from around the world in Boston, Massachusetts. 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.

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. The course curriculum is similar to the graduate course offerings GHP 515 & 518 (Essentials of Humanitarian Action in the Field I and II.) Further details on the courses can be found here.

Click here to see the detailed 2013 course agenda


Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH - Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

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

Peter Walker, PhD - Director, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

See the HRIC Faculty & Guest Lecturers page for a complete list of faculty and guest lecturers


Registration for the Humanitarian Response Intensive Course for professionals is open to the general public and seats will be reserved on a first come, first served basis. This class is intended for those currently working in or aspiring to work in humanitarian response and development capacities. Students from graduate programs from outside the Harvard network as well as medical residents and fellows are welcome to participate. 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).

Previous participants have attended from a wide-range of orgnaizations including: Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF, UN OCHA, McGill University, US Army 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, Clinton Health Initiative, ICRC, WHO, and Plan Canada.

The Humanitarian Response Intensive Course is not a credit yielding university affiliated course. For those who will need a Visa to enter the US please plan accordingly and consult with your local embassy for Visa application instructions. A letter of support for the Visa application can be requested following registration and payment for the Humanitarian Response Intensive Course.


Registration for the 2014 Humanitarian Response Intensive Course is currently closed. If you would like to be added to the registration waitlist please click here to email our registration team.

2014 Course Fees

NGO and Professional Workers - $2100 USD (EARLY registration until December 30, 2013: $1950)

Students and Medical Residents  - $1900 USD (EARLY registration until December 30, 2013: $1750)

Participants from a Developing Country - $1430 USD (See verification instructions in registration area.)

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 requsted registraion materials. The Humanitarian Response Intensive 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.

Contact Us About the Course

For specific questions regarding this class please send us an email.

Please click here to be added to the continuing education course information distribution list.