Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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The International Humanitarian Affairs Major

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The International Humanitarian Affairs Major

Beginning in the Fall Semester of 2014, Fordham University will begin offering a BA in International Humanitarian Studies. The Program will be based out of the University’s Lincoln Center Campus but is open to all Fordham students.

What is Humanitarian Action?
Humanitarian Action involves a wide range of international activities aimed at helping populations in crisis: food aid, water and sanitation programming, medical assistance, shelter and others. These actions are undertaken by a wide variety of actors –  states, non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and many others – for a variety of purposes. Despite compelling moral claims, and significant achievements in responding to crises, humaniatrian activity is also shaped by political interests, expediency, and a technocratic approach to addressing suffering, all of which have potential to harm the world’s most vulnerable populations. It is these tensions that the major seeks to reveal and explore.
UN Photo [Mark Garten]  

An Interdisciplinary Approach:
The Humanitarian Studies Program at Fordham has a vital role to play in both understanding humanitarianism and improving humanitarian practice. The Major in International Humanitarian Studies allows students to study technical innovations that are used to help populations in crisis (water and sanitation systems; improved health technologies, disaster relief and many others) as well as training them to undertake theoretical critiques of humanitarian activities across a range of crises and actors.

In considering international responses to suffering, undergraduates in this major will draw upon a wide array of intellectual tools and academic frameworks. Ethical, cultural and spiritual considerations confront logistic, economic, scientific and geo-political modes of thought in circumstances of vast complexity: violent conflict, famine and natural disaster. The major will also contribute to central aims of Fordham’s mission: research and education that assist in the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of justice and the protection of human rights as part of a cosmopolitan education that prepares students for leadership in a global society.

Potential Careers
The major will provide valuable skills for a wide range of graduate studies and careers including: international NGO work across relief and development; healthcare (and particularly global health); international affairs careers including the state department and USAID; careers in the United Nations; careers in human rights and international law.

UN Photo [Albert González Farran]

Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
33 West 60th St., Suite 804 New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212 636 6294 Fax: 212 636 7060 Email:

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