Harvard University

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative


The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is a university-wide interdisciplinary center involving multiple departments including public health, medicine, social science, and management, among others. These disciplines come together through the initiative to promote evidence-based practices, improve the delivery of humanitarian aid through training and professionalization of the humanitarian workforce, supporting disaster preparedness and response systems in low and middle-income countries, and creating new partnerships between academic centers and humanitarian actors.

The mission of the HHI is to relieve human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide. Specifically, they work 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.

The HHI provides graduate-level courses in humanitarian studies and more than 500 students have completed the Humanitarian Studies Initiative training program. The Humanitarian Academy at Harvard was launched in May 2012, to expand research and education capactity through training undergraduate students, graduate students, and current leaders of humanitarian service organizations in areas of human rights, disaster response, humanitarian service delivery, crisis leadership, and other sub-disciplines within humanitarian studies.

The HHI maintains relationships with other academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and UN agencies to further research and education.