MSc Compassion, Peace, Humanitarian action & Disaster Risk Management

MSc (Compassion, Peace, Humanitarian action & Disaster Risk Management)

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Program Overview

Disasters, conflicts, wars and disease outbreaks result in immeasurable suffering. They reverse hard won development gains, cause loss of lives, destroy assets and infrastructure, disruption of livelihoods and threaten peace and human security. Lack of effective and creative leaders and managers in the humanitarian sector is a key factor that results in leaving millions of people behind – making Sustainable Development Goals and the commitments made during the World Humanitarian Summit unachievable.

There is a critical need to create a new cadre of humanitarian leaders and managers to shape the future of humanitarian action- and make it more compassionate, sustainable and contribute to peace.

This Two Year International Masters Course aims to create such a new cadre of humanitarian leaders and managers who can influence humanitarian work in India and abroad. It will have a strong emphasis on

    • The big idea of ‘localisation’ as proposed by the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 (i.e. “humanitarian action should be as local as possible and as international as necessary”)

    • Compassion and collaboration as catalysts to define the future of humanitarian action. (human beings and animals/ livestock).

The course will be organised in collaboration with leading international experts, universities, humanitarian agencies and centres of excellence. The course will trigger innovative ideas and is expected to leave a mark on the humanitarian sector.

Program Objectives

The world is now witnessing the highest levels of human displacement on record.

  • UNHCR estimates that 68.5 million people have been uprooted from their home.

  • There are over 25 million refugees worldwide.

  • In 2016, over 560 million people’s lives were critically impacted by natural disasters (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters).

  • Approximately 815 million people will go hungry tonight.

  • World Disasters Report 2018 said: “In recent years, Governments and aid organisations have made various commitments about ensuring that the world’s most vulnerable people are not “left behind”. But those commitments are not being reached” leaving millions of people behind. The report calls on the international humanitarian sector to do more to respond to the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people.

  • Scientists say it is not a question of whether but when the next major disease outbreak (e.g. flu or Ebola) is going to strike Asia.

  • On a positive note, thanks to improved disaster preparedness, early warning and risk reduction measures, the world can reduce the death toll in certain disasters such as floods and cyclones.

  • However, as research during the development of India Disasters Report: Redefining Disasters (OUP) found, limited media attention and resources often result in flood waters triggering vector borne and water borne diseases (diarrhoea, cholera, malaria etc.) which often taken more toll than the actual disaster.

  • Needs assessment and evidence-based programmes; inclusion of differently-abled people, mental health and psychosocial care and support, palliative care and pain relief for terminally ill children and others; care and support for humanitarian workers; and care and support for animals/ livestock are some of the under developed/ ignored areas in humanitarian response worldwide.

  • Protracted crises (lasting for several years) are now the norm in settings where refugees and internally displaced people live. They often must deal with years of unending suffering, insecurity and uncertainty.

  • World lacks enough effective and creative humanitarian leaders and managers.

The world mobilises a fraction of the resources that are needed to protect and provide services to victims of disasters, conflicts and disease outbreaks.

These factors result in leaving millions of people behind and suffering.

More than ever before, the world needs creative and innovative approaches and solutions to ensure that no one is left behind in humanitarian settings. Such initiatives should also address the commitments and ideas in the World Humanitarian Summit (such as localisation) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – (specifically – Goal 1: No poverty; Goal 2: Zero hunger; Goal 3: Good health and well-being for people; Goal 5: Gender equality; Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation; Goal 13: Climate action; Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions; and finally Goal 17: Partnerships for achieving the goals).

Salient Features

  • Understanding Indian Society

  • Human dimensions of disasters, conflicts, and disease outbreaks

  • Introduction to vulnerability

  • At risk groups, Protection of communities in disaster, conflict, and post-crisis settings.

  • Disasters- Development- Resilience cycle

  • Power analysis

  • Human Rights, Rights Based Approach

  • Disaster Programme cycle

  • Conflict analysis

  • Planning for the unplanned

  • Humanitarian Values and Principles

  • International Laws and instruments

  • Leadership and management in humanitarian settings

  • Information management and evidence-based decision making

  • Institutions and structures for coordination and leadership

  • Humanitarian Charter, Standards for Humanitarian Response

  • Technical sectors, Operation

  • Media, advocacy

  • Resource mobilisation

  • Practical projects

  • Simulations

  • Deployment/s to humanitarian settings

  • The core faculty of this program has considerable experience in delivering humanitarian assistance, disaster risk management.

  • A range of webinars support the Students’ approach to inquiry, tutorials, debates, discussions, case and work- based studies, and interactions with academics, experts and field practitioners.

Program Outcome

This program is designed mainly for practitioners working in the fields of development, social work, health, management, humanitarian action, peace studies, and related fields. It is open also to fresh graduates from different disciplines. It allows students to broaden understanding, critically review their role, and develop and refine hard and soft skills needed to work effectively in the fields of humanitarian action and disaster risk management. The program is also relevant for practitioners working in other fields, interested in exploring new opportunities in resilience.

Teaching and learning for students based in workplaces and their respective countries: Total batch strength – 40.


  • Assessment is designed to examine programme-learning outcomes and is intended to demonstrate that graduates possess the competencies and knowledge required in practice. 100% of the assessment of each module is based on coursework.

  • Each module contains ongoing assessment through feedback and facilitation of discussions, webinars, and exchange of experiences for the group work, as well as in individual and group tutoring. The students are encouraged to write a reflective journal each week in which he/she can assess learning experience and its relevance to their practice. This reflective journal is compulsory, and commented upon twice during the modules by teachers/supervisors, but not graded, could be considered for grading after a few years of experience.

  • The summative assessments include individual and collective assignments to be handed in at the end of each tri-semester. Individual assignments for the core modules are the form of personal written essay, which will test the student’s ability to synthesize critical debates, develop a critical argument and apply arguments to field practice.

  • All taught courses will also include a group work assessment, which will comprise reflection on tools or concepts, an individual application of those tools and concepts in work-based experiences, a collective synthesis of the lessons learnt from those experiences and a formulation of guidelines or statements for further practices.

Career Prospects

  • The world is witnessing highest level of human displacements, on different accounts like protracted civil war, ethnic conflicts, urban conflicts, climate change etc. In order to develop policy actions there is an increased need for professionals by International organisations like the United Nations, National and International NGOs, Policy Think Tanks.

  • There is a heightened attention towards increasing number of lives critically impacted by natural disasters or displacements by anthropogenic hazards, epidemics etc. The area demands expertise in order to supplement policymaking and evolve broader guidelines to work in consonance with world community.

  • India Disasters Report: Redefining Disaster, draws attention to increased floods triggering vector borne and water borne diseases. Coordinated efforts, in order to work at global commons so as to ensure work at climate mitigation and adaptation will need a specialised human resource to develop holistic response.

  • Conflict and peace building is attracting world attention and policy makers in order to find resounding solutions in areas of protracted crisis which has left lakhs of people displaced and ignored.