Spring 2020  |  PA 5823 Section 001: Managing Humanitarian and Refugee Crises: Challenges for Policymakers & Practitioners (57596)

Class Component:
1 Credit
Grading Basis:
Student Option No Audit
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person Term Based
Times and Locations:
First Half of Term
Fri 03:00PM - 08:00PM
UMTC, West Bank
Hubert H Humphrey Center 25
Sat 08:00AM - 04:00PM
UMTC, West Bank
Hubert H Humphrey Center 25
Enrollment Status:
Open (39 of 50 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
Examines response of governments, international organizations, NGOs, and others to global humanitarian and human rights challenges posed by civil conflict and other complex emergencies in places such as Syria, the Middle East region, South Sudan, Somalia, Burma, and elsewhere. Course will also consider and assess UN and other institutions established to address these issues (like UNOCHA and UNHCR). In addition, course will examine US policy toward humanitarian issues and refugees (including US refugee admissions).
Class Notes:
Class Description:
Former Humphrey School Dean Eric Schwartz will be teaching this course. He is now President of Refugees International in Washington, DC. Before serving as Dean of the Humphrey School from 2011 to 2017, Professor Schwartz served in the White House and the State Department in the Clinton and Obama Administrations, as well as the United Nations and with Human Rights Watch.

This is a one credit course that will meet on Friday, February 7, 2020 from 3 pm to 8 pm, and on Saturday, February 8, 2020, from 8 am to 4 pm.

Whether in Burma (Myanmar), Syria, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan or the countries of Central America, repression, human rights abuses, civil conflict and complex emergencies, which principally impact populations in the global south, pose compelling challenges to the capacities of governments, NGOs and international organizations to prevent and alleviate suffering and promote recovery. This course, which will involve lecture, guest lecture from practitioners and policy-makers (including refugees who are working in the field), and class discussion, will examine the efforts of governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others to respond to humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction challenges posed by persecution, human rights abuses, civil conflict and complex emergencies.

The course will also examine the role and institutions of the United States government--in terms of its practices and policies involving overseas humanitarian assistance, U.S. refugee admissions, and asylum in the United State.

This one-credit course will take a broad and integrated approach, designed to give students a wide understanding of the lay of the humanitarian land and the questions with which advocates, policy makers and policy practitioners grapple.
Who Should Take This Class?:
Students interests in human rights, refugees, asylum in the United States, international humanitarian response, multilateral humanitarian organizations and U.S. foreign policy
Learning Objectives:
Students will gain a broad understanding of the policy issues that are involved in international refugee and humanitarian response - an understanding that will integrate concepts from a range of fields - as well as knowledge of the key international and U.S. institutions that define and impact policy and practice in this area. Students will also develop an appreciation of key dilemmas faced by policy-makers and practitioners involved in response to humanitarian crises, challenges to achieving policy and operational objectives, and strategies for success. We will also consider U.S. domestic issues involving refugee protection, including the U.S. refugee admissions program and asylum in the United States.

(These may be subject to slight but not significant modification.)
25% -- a short paper responding to about 12 assigned questions drawn from the readings for the course. Each response in this paper should be about two paragraphs, and the exercise is designed to ensure students have considered the readings carefully before the two class sessions. There will be about 12-15 hours of readings, in total, for the course.

50% -- class participation, possibly to include participation in a short in-class presentation (5-10 minutes) developed during the course of the two days of class.

25% -- a 2-3 page thought paper on a humanitarian policy of your choice, with your perspectives drawn from information learned in class.
Exam Format:
No exam
Class Format:
Combination of lecture, guest lecture and class discussion.
Workload outside of class will include --
1. A short paper on the assigned readings.
2. A 2-3 page paper on a humanitarian policy issue of your choosing, in which you offer your perspectives and integrate information learned in class.
Past Syllabi:
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/eschwart_PA5823_Spring2019.pdf (Spring 2019)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/eschwart_PA5823_Spring2018.pdf (Spring 2018)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/eschwart_PA5823_Fall2016.pdf (Fall 2016)
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
6 January 2020

ClassInfo Links - Spring 2020 5000 Level Public Affairs Classes Taught by Eric Schwartz

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