Global Collaboration in Humanitarian Response

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Global Collaboration in Humanitarian Response

In fragile states and zones of conflict, humanitarian response inevitably requires close collaboration between local and international responders.  International responders cannot work effectively without deep understanding and awareness of local cultures and contexts, while local responders typically lack the resources necessary to manage large-scale humanitarian interventions.  The crisis in Syria provides an especially powerful case in point.  In close collaboration, local and international responders have alleviated unprecedented human suffering, providing medical care, water, food, shelter, and protection to refugees throughout the region.

Yet in spite of these successes, collaborative efforts between local and international responders are not always without problems.  Differing interpretations of international standards, misaligned structures in professional organization, and broader divergence in historical, economic, and cultural perception can contribute to misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and ill will between local and international responders, weakening humanitarian response, intensifying misunderstanding and mistrust among experts and leaders in each society, and contributing to deterioration in public opinion all around.

Response:  Virtual Educational Exchange

Building on Stanford University’s unique implementation of the OpenEdX online learning platform, Global Collaboration in Humanitarian Response will link public health courses in the U.S. and Lebanon to build capacity and relationships through virtual educational exchange.  The program will structure advanced yet affordable collaboration technologies, including web videoconferencing, virtual whiteboards, shared text annotating, discussion boards, and chat rooms, around a challenging problem-based learning curriculum developed in close cooperation with Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and the Modern University of Business and Science in Beirut.  Guest speakers will share their experiences in global emergency response.  The crisis in Syria will serve as a close case study.


Undergraduate and graduate students of public health in the U.S. and Lebanon


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