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Urban Disaster, Vulnerability, and Displacement: Humanitarian Challenges

More than half of the world's population now lives in urban areas. At the same time there is a higher occurrence of human-induced and natural urban disasters, and increasing numbers of displaced migrating to cities and towns. How can the humanitarian and international community respond more effectively to humanitarian challenges in the context of cities, informal settlements, and slums?

The Urban Humanitarian Action and Response Course is a one-week training organized jointly by the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) and the Urban Studies Program at Fordham University. It focuses on the hurdles faced by vulnerable populations in cities and urban settlements and examines how the humanitarian community can better prepare itself for response in these complex situations. Discussion and debate with experts on disasters, populations at risk, and the urban context will identify new areas of best strategies and practices.

New York City is ideally suited to the urban theme of the course. It is not only one of the most populated urban areas in the world, but it is an area quite vulnerable to disasters, as evidenced by Superstorm Sandy which greatly impacted the city in 2012. New York City also hosts several UN agencies, such as OCHA, UNICEF, UN Women and UNFPA, that are involved in global humanitarian efforts to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.

This course is required for the IDOHA and IDMHA module of the MIHA. Students can take each of our short courses for academic credit toward a Master’s of Arts in International Humanitarian Action (MIHA) degree, or they can participate in the course without receiving academic credit.

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