This series of short cases and cultural vignettes reveals humanitarian issues and cultural distinctions through first-person accounts from people who have done the work of advancing human well-being.

Many of the articles focus on specific humanitarian crises or particular people groups, others provide cultural vignettes from daily life, and a few share experiences and insights about international coordination of humanitarian aid. The relevant settings, photos, and storytelling style help each reader grasp objective and expressive aspects of working on humanitarian issues in divergent parts of the world. Each article opens with facts about the region, culture, or humanitarian problem and concludes with thoughts to consider. The cases and vignettes are appropriate for students, researchers, international aid workers, and others who want to understand social and cultural contexts for humanitarian work.

In the classroom, these articles draw students into discussions of the challenges that they may face when coordinating or collaborating internationally, while helping them recognize the cultural factors that contribute to a variety of world views. The vignettes and corresponding classroom discussion will enable students to understand ways in which their colleagues from other countries may differ from them, and will help them communicate and interact more successfully across cultural contexts.

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Recent Submissions

  • Peacekeeping and women's rights: Latin American countries rise to the challenge 

    Gibbons, Deborah E.; Baho, Sally M. (Center For Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM), 2016-02-15);
    United Nations peacekeepers did little in the 20th century to protect individuals, as they focused mainly on reducing large-scale conflict. Many of the nations in which peacekeepers served, such as the Central African ...
  • Armenian Recovery and Development 

    Gibbons, Deborah E.; Baho, Sally M. (Center For Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM), 2013-09-07);
    A long bridge connects Georgia’s and Armenia’s border-control stations. Knowing that Armenia has not fully recovered from the economic and political devastation of the Soviet occupation, we expected militaristic customs ...
  • United States Navy Medical Missions 

    Gibbons, Deborah E. (Center For Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM), 2013-08);
    The United States Navy operates a sizable fleet of ships. The larger ships support thousands of people for long periods of time, including facilities for health care and dentistry. They hold substantial food stores, and ...
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