No matter how much goodwill a humanitarian may have, the absence of international protocols makes the prospect of addressing global atrocities, such as genocide, a daunting task. To prepare those in the field of humanitarian assistance for such difficult undertakings, the Center for International Health and Cooperation (CIHC) is offering an International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance.
Throughout the month of June, Fordham University’s International Humanitarian Affairs Program is hosting the intensive program, during which 40 students will spend 14 hours a day, six days a week, collaborating on effective approaches in handling a variety of humanitarian crises, such as famine and epidemics.
“This is a very complex field, it’s a big business,” said CIHC President Kevin M. Cahill, M.D., of humanitarian assistance. “You wouldn’t send a soldier to war without some basic training.” Those involved in humanitarian efforts often shift from agency to agency, where there has been a lack of common protocols, such as how to properly handle to a hostage situation. To build universal standards, the interdisciplinary program employs officials from the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and volunteers to create a model program with intensity that mirrors the rigor of a humanitarian crisis, Cahill said.