Simulation trains students in humanitarian crisis response

Participants sitting and standing in a group outside
Participants in the 2024 Humanitarian Response Simulation

May 1, 2024 — Students and humanitarian professionals from around the world recently came together for an annual simulation exercise that provides training in global crisis response.

Led by Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), the Humanitarian Response Simulation was held April 26-28 at Harold Parker State Forest in North Andover, Massachusetts. This year’s participants included 110 students from more than 26 countries who were enrolled in HHI’s Humanitarian Response Intensive Course or Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s International Humanitarian Response II course (GHP 518).

Students were divided into 18 teams representing nongovernmental organizations. They put what they’d learned in the classroom into practice as they worked together throughout the weekend to respond to a simulated complex disaster and conflict scenario. More than 160 volunteers role-played refugees, government officials, and others who responders would likely encounter in the field.

“This year’s humanitarian simulation was one of our most successful ever,” said Sean Kivlehan, director, Emergency Health Systems Program at HHI and assistant professor in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard Chan School, who co-directs the simulation with Michelle Niescierenko, director, Children in Crisis Program at HHI. “As the world’s humanitarian needs continue to grow, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s annual simulation continues to produce professional and prepared leaders to respond.”

— Amy Roeder

Photo: Courtesy of Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Learn more
Intensive course trains humanitarians for the field (Harvard Chan School news)