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Prospective Humanitarian Action Professionals Gathered in Warsaw

On 7-13 September 2015, the University of Warsaw hosted the NOHA (Network on Humanitarian Action) intensive programme which was attended by more than 150 students from all over the world who are interested in humanitarian activities.

Vilnius University has participated in NOHA network since 2008. The network activities are coordinated by the Faculty of Law. At the event, the Faculty was represented by a lecturer and NOHA project coordinator Renata Vaišvilienė.

Intensive Programme is an introductory 6 days course which brings together NOHA students from all partner universities in the beginning of each study year. This year, it was organised by Warsaw University together with the University of Marseille (Aix-Marseille Université), both representing the NOHA network of universities. The week-long intensive programme consisted of lectures, seminars, discussions and workshops.

During the Intensive Programme, the upcoming students were introduced to the programme concept, the basic principles of humanitarian action, methods of aid in natural disasters and conflicts, human rights and international humanitarian law. Practical exercises allowed to immediately apply the gained knowledge: students together planned the logistics chains for humanitarian aid, the construction of temporary shelters for victims, what is more, they discussed the impact of the political forces on humanitarian aid and, of course, the ongoing controversial Europe’s refugee crisis.

Humanitarian action experts shared their experience in lectures, for example, Anthony Val Flynn, Senior Security Advisor of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), also, several representatives of United Nations, the Red Cross workers (ICRC) and many others working in both strategic and direct contact positions. It is important to mention that many of the lecturers themselves finished this master’s degree programme, hence, they mentioned the concrete opportunities after the studies.

The week-long programme culminated in workshops at a military base. The students were introduced to the knowledge necessary for humanitarian professionals: how to give first aid, to defend themselves from attack, to hide during the bombings, etc.

“NOHA is sharing the knowledge. First of all, all gathered here have to ask themselves what they can give to NOHA rather than what NOHA can give them.”- Mr. Val Flynn said.

Vilnius University is gradually preparing for organising a part of a joint master’s degree programme in Lithuania. Students are often invited to participate in the trainings organised by the NOHA in Vilnius, as well as, sent to participate in various international events.

About NOHA

NOHA (Network on Humanitarian Action) is an international association of universities that aims to enhance professionalism in the humanitarian sector through education, training, research, publications, and projects. The Network includes 12 European and 5 global partner universities. The main activity of NOHA – Joint Master Degree in International Humanitarian Action which is taught at 8 European universities.