The Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies is a unique teaching, research and policy platform for humanitarian action. We are a joint centre of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the University of Geneva, two internationally renowned centres of academic excellence.

Read our Annual Report 2020 here.

Our vision

Current and aspiring humanitarian professionals have access to past and latest evidence-based knowledge to better respond to the needs of populations in crisis.

Our mission

Through research, education, and humanitarian dialogue and exchange, the Centre will strengthen the capacity and practice of humanitarian professionals wherever they work in order to empower them to respond effectively to global humanitarian challenges.
We also aim to contribute to critical reflections on contemporary humanitarianism with the view of bringing positive transformations to the humanitarian system.

Strategy 2021-2025

The aim of our 2021-2025 strategy is to ensure the Centre keeps pace with the changing humanitarian landscape as it provides relevant, timely training for humanitarian professionals, carries out pertinent research on under-researched issues within the sector, and offers a neutral space for debate on sensitive subjects.

Within the strategy the Centre undertakes to fulfill three institutional commitments to:

  • breakdown barriers to access learning opportunities for humanitarian professionals in middle and lower income countries
  • ensure our training and research is multi-faceted, and covers a wide range of perspectives and schools of thought that explore humanitarianism
  • adapt the Centre to humanitarian reality by continuously analyzing new trends and under -researched issues

The Strategy includes four strategic pillars: Education, Research, Humanitarian Exchange, and Management, Collaboration & Partnerships.

The strategy reflects on the changing humanitarian landscape and the challenges this produces, including those most recently caused by the COVID19 pandemic which has exacerbated national protectionism, increased the marginalization of vulnerable communities and has seen the principle of working ‘for the common-good’ eroded, in the race to find national solutions.

In response to the many challenges that make transformation of the sector difficult, the Centre will;

  • make training as accessible as possible by increasing online and blended courses
  • provide more scholarships for participants from lower and middle income countries
  • support refugees and migrants who have seen their education interrupted
  • explore under-researched issues and trends and share all findings free and widely
  • be a neutral entity where debate can take place in confidence

The Centre will evolve in close collaboration with its institutional and humanitarian partners including the University of Geneva, the Graduate Institute, ICRC and MSF. For more information please read our strategy publication at https://humanitarianstudies.ch/centre-strategy-2021-2025/.


Education and Research

We offer a wide range of training programmes and conducts academic research projects, drawing on Geneva’s network of international institutions and non-governmental organisations.

Our courses provide in-depth training on topics such as communication, health, and sexual violence, as well as project management in humanitarian settings. They are based on an innovative pedagogical model in order to strengthen the practitioners’ competencies and apply the theoretical knowledge, developed during the courses, directly to their professional environment. 

Our interdisciplinary research projects foster critical analysis of the humanitarian sector to encourage reflection on professional practices as well as the politics of humanitarianism and humanitarian organizations.

We are also promoting the critical reflection of the humanitarian system through research projects developed by our researchers on current issues either in the field or in collaboration with major humanitarian organisations and academic centres.

Our flagship research project, the Humanitarian Encyclopedia, offers a platform for practitioners, community leaders, policy makers and academics to reflect on humanitarian concepts and practice in the 21st century.

Find our more about recent activities in our Annual Report 2020.