Fall 2024  |  PA 5823 Section 001: Human Rights and Humanitarian Crises: Policy Challenges (32465)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option No Audit
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person
Enrollment Requirements:
Grad or Masters or Law
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
09/03/2024 - 12/11/2024
Wed 02:30PM - 05:15PM
UMTC, West Bank
Blegen Hall 330
Enrollment Status:
Open (17 of 30 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, Ukraine, 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 Description:
Professor Eric Schwartz, who has recently completed a five year tenure as president of Refugees International in Washington, DC, will return to full-time status at the Humphrey School and teach this course in the spring. 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.

Whether in Burma (Myanmar), Syria, Ukraine, Somalia, South Sudan or the countries of Central America, repression, human rights abuses, civil conflict, climate change, and complex emergencies, which principally impact populations in poorer countries of the world, pose compelling challenges to the capacities of governments, NGOs and international organizations, and affected populations themselves to prevent and alleviate suffering and promote recovery. This course will examine efforts to respond to these challenges. The course will also include examination of issues relating to refugees and forced migration. And we will study the roles and institutions of the U.S. government, with a particular focus on policies and practices involving overseas humanitarian and refugee assistance, and the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. The course will involve lecture; guest lecture from practitioners, policy-makers, and individuals from affected populations; and class discussion,

This 3-credit course will take a broad and integrated approach, designed to give students a wide understanding of the lay of the refugee and 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, 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 affect policy and practice in this area. Students will also develop an appreciation of key dilemmas faced by policy-makers and practitioners, challenges to achieving policy and operational objectives, and strategies for success.

Class participation (25%)
Preliminary short policy memorandum (15%)
Second policy memo (20%)
Final exam (two hours, essay, with questions presented in advance) 40%
Note: these requirements may be subject to modest changes after consultation with class members
Exam Format:
Essay, with questions presented in advance
Class Format:
Combination of lecture, guest lecture and class discussion/presentation.
About 130-150 pages per week of reading in syllabus. (See also grading section, above.)
Past Syllabi:
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/eschwart_PA5823_Spring2023.pdf (Spring 2023)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/eschwart_PA5823_Spring2021.pdf (Spring 2021)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/eschwart_PA5823_Spring2020.pdf (Spring 2020)
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:
7 November 2022

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