CERAH - The Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action


The Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action

The contexts in which humanitarian interventions unfold are more diverse and complex today than ever before. Emergencies occur in places already suffering from chronic underdevelopment, each situation calling for specific and adapted responses. Faced with these complexities, humanitarian workers have to display and use a wide variety of skills and competences to cope with situations of armed conflict, epidemics, natural catastrophes and social exclusion.

Training and Research CERAH offers training programmes and conducts academic research projects of international repute, drawing on Geneva’s network of international institutions and non-governmental organisations.

CERAH’s interdisciplinary research projects foster critical analysis of the humanitarian sector and humanitarian work, with the aim to improve performance, and encouraging reflection on professional practices, the politics of humanitarianism and humanitarian organisations.

In recognition of the wide range of skills and broad knowledge-base that humanitarian professionals require today, CERAH’s courses provide in-depth training on subjects such as international humanitarian law, public health or project management for NGOs. Students are introduced to a variety of academic perspectives, including anthropology, economics and political science.

A modular approach to education and training for humanitarian professionals

CERAH's courses are structured to offer a number of options suited to people working in humanitarian action:

  • Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) (10 to 12 months full time / 60 ECTS credits) covers all aspects of humanitarian action and allows students also to specialise in 2 areas of their choice. The programme's core objectives focus on the acquisition of theoretical tools and practical skills applicable in present-day humanitarian operations.
  • Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS) (4 months full-time / 30 ECTS credits) allows humanitarian professionals to reflect on their professional experience and gain new insights as well as analytical skills. The programme provides participants with an overview of conceptual and operational aspects of humanitarian action.
  • Several Certificates of Advanced Studies (CAS) (6-7 weeks / 10 ECTS credits for each CAS) offer professionals the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and aquire skills in particular areas of humanitarian action. The intensive training courses are delivered by academics and experienced humanitarian practitioners.
    • A special 8-month
    • Distance Learning Certificate of Advanced Studies – Designing Strategies and Projects for Humanitarian Action
    • (8 months / 15 ECTS credits) allows professional to study part time via distance learning while applying their new skills and knowledge to their actual working environment, with coaching and assistance. This course includes a 10-day mid-programme residential session in Uganda.
  • One-week Thematic Seminar short courses (1 week / 2 ECTS credits for each TS)are interactive training formats that allow participants to analyse a range of issues of high importance to contemporary humanitarianism. The courses are led by senior academics and experienced humanitarian professionals who guide participants to build analytic skills and acquire practical tools.

Geneva: a centre of humanitarian action Geneva is well known as an international centre for the humanitarian sector.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Organisation for Migration and the World Health Organisations all have their headquarters in Geneva.

The city further hosts key offices of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF, UNDP, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch. Dozens of international NGOs maintain offices in Geneva.

CERAH and its students benefit from unique access to these important actors in the humanitarian field, as well as from the Centre’s ties to Geneva's prestigious academic institutions.

Academic excellence Lecturers and researchers from a number of faculties of the University of Geneva (Medicine, Sciences, Law, Translation and Interpreting), from the Graduate Institute (IHEID) and from humanitarian organisations bring their specialised expertise and unique perspectives to enrich CERAH's multidisciplinary programme.

This school offers programs in:
  • English