fbpx Frontline Negotiation Lab: Assessing the Humanitarian Response to the Ukraine Crisis in Europe | Harvard Kennedy School

Policy professionals are confronted with the constant politicization of the humanitarian response to crisis situations as well as deepening ideological tensions surrounding the provisions of life-saving assistance and protection to populations affected by armed conflict. The recent events in Eastern Europe bring into focus the challenges and dilemmas of addressing large scale man-made disasters while maintaining a neutral and impartial standing to allow the conduct of frontline humanitarian negotiation with all the parties concerned. To plan the engagement with all stakeholders and design sustainable solutions, humanitarian professionals must develop capabilities to lead constructive dialogues with a vast array of stakeholders while considering a wide range of policy options to respond to complex humanitarian problems. Such capabilities require building trust with unreceptive or adversarial counterparts, managed negotiation processes under pressure, and deal with the use and misuse of information to further political and humanitarian agendas.

Through an experiential learning approach that emphasizes direct engagement with relevant actors of the domain in the field, the course examines a set of complex humanitarian emergencies as a means to furthering a critical reflection on global issues, set the basis of a professional dialogue with leading humanitarian organizations and thinkers, building exchanges between Harvard University graduate students and field practitioners, and to shed light on professional negotiation practices on the frontlines of humanitarian action. Such cases represent an interesting and sophisticated political, social, legal, and policy environment for graduate students to analyze the various agendas and situational factors involved in a humanitarian crisis through interdisciplinary, scientific lenses while also acquiring a systematic methodology to engage in crisis situation in a proactive, critical, and practical manner.

Developed in a close collaboration with the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN), the Winter Field Study Course is designed for those planning to work in high-intensity environments such as the pandemic, climate crisis, natural disasters, armed conflicts and other critical situations. The Winter Field Study Course is expected to take place onsite in a strategic field context related the humanitarian crises in Europe to facilitate the interactions with key local, regional and international actors. The selection of the context will depend on travel restrictions due to the pandemic, security and other considerations including cost implications for students.

This is a demanding course for highly motivated and committed students. Student selection takes place through an application and interview process with the instructors. Students interested in critical approaches to international affairs and with prior international experiences are welcome to apply. Prior knowledge of the case of environment is not a requirement. Student registration is subject to the approval of the Instructor. The application is available at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdcEFpEEjtBEJcXBmSYz3E4wONdd7DdWqrEPVv6JvMkaQ1ueQ/viewform. Applications are due by September 29, 2022 at 11:59PM EST.  For any questions regarding the application, please contact Maura James at mjames@frontline-negotiations.org.

Also offered by the School of Public Health as GHP 543, this jointly offered course is hosted by another Harvard school and, accordingly, students must adhere to