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Tuesday, February 28, 2023

How Studying Humanitarian Action Can Help us Respond to Disasters Like the Earthquakes in Turkey & Syria

Written by Kroc School

In recent weeks, Turkey and Syria have experienced devastating earthquakes that have left many people and communities needing humanitarian aid and assistance. These disasters have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, the displacement of many thousands more, and has caused significant damage to infrastructure, homes, and businesses.

As a graduate school that trains students to become leaders in peacebuilding and humanitarian action, the Kroc School of Peace Studies recognizes the need for understanding the lifecycles of disasters like those in Turkey and Syria (preparation, response, recovery, and prevention) in a broader conversation with patterns of development, changes in governance, and trends in violent conflict and migration. Through course and fieldwork, students gain an understanding of the political, economic, and social factors that inform humanitarian systems mitigating humanitarian emergencies in various parts of the world.

In the case of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, for example, Kroc School students in our Master of Science in Humanitarian Action program might examine the political systems in place in those countries; ongoing regional conflicts involving Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Russia; as well as the international aid organizations and protocols involved in disaster response. By exploring the influence of religion, gender, and ethnicity, our students are able to identify root causes,  inequities, and injustices that may shape vulnerability to crisis and the likelihood of benefiting from the humanitarian response. They are therefore equipped not only with applicable professional skills, but also the knowledge and ethical intelligence required to use them to address these issues through their work in the field. They are trained to work with local communities and organizations to develop sustainable and effective emergency response systems tailored to each community's unique needs and contexts, helping to build resilience and reduce the risk associated with future disasters.

The Kroc School’s Master of Science in Humanitarian Action (MS-HA) is a 30-credit Master’s degree designed as an online program for working professionals from around the world in, or with aspirations to enter, the humanitarian field. The online MS-HA program trains students to assess humanitarian needs, manage the complex landscape of local, national, and international actors; and design and evaluate innovative solutions to humanitarian crises. To learn more, check out our website here.

Kroc School

About the Author

Kroc School

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies' mission is to equip and empower innovative changemakers to shape more peaceful and just societies.