Welcome to the Global Health and Humanitarianism MOOC. We are delighted to have you with us, and hope that the next six weeks will provide an interesting and thoughtful experience for you.
We hope the course will give you an overview of global health and humanitarianism in theory and in practice. These fields overlap, and are connected, in many significant ways. However, we have used three key themes to explore our subjects: each key theme will be discussed over two week blocks by specialist course lecturers, and supported by unique video perspectives by three keynote speakers who are leading specialists in the field.
- Weeks 1 & 2: An Introduction to Global Health Dr Amy Hughes MBE;
- Weeks 3 & 4: Humanitarian Responses and Dilemmas Dr Tim Jacoby;
- Weeks 5 & 6: The Right to Humanitarian Assistance and the Responsibility to Protect Dr Kirsten Howarth.
To get the best out of the course we encourage you to try and set aside a few hours each week. This will give you time to work through videos, written materials and linked resources, and to get involved with discussion with other learners. We have provided a variety of different readings, resources and suggested activity based on the course content. Some will be essential to your understanding of the MOOC themes, and to assessment (if you have chosen to take part in assessment activity). Others will be for those of you who want to discover more about a particular subject or perspective, or to make your own study of global health or humanitarianism in action. Check through the weekly resources and content to find out which best suit your needs.
During the course we will look at a range of different opinions and debates, linked to key themes and addressing ethics and moral issues. We hope you will be inspired and encouraged to explore and share your own perspectives, and those of others, throughout the course. Different viewpoints are essential to understanding global health and humanitarian practice.
We hope you enjoy the next six weeks finding out about Global Health and Humanitarianism, and look forward to hearing from you on the discussion boards.
What is Global Health?
These first two weeks will introduce you to the concept of global health through a range of perspectives from three keynote speakers, draw out some of their key thoughts, explore these with examples, and determine whether we can clearly conclude upon a definition of Global Health. We will be using various educational platforms to navigate the question 'What is Global Health?' - some short video narrations from me, expert thoughts from our three keynote speakers and some external documentary videos and articles.
Global Health definitions, case studies and evolution
We will first re-visit part of last week's keynote video and discuss their thoughts on what global health is, and bring particular focus to the origin and evolution of the term, the main organisations and agencies involved in global health and the influence of private and commercial organisations on global health.
This week we will consider what gives rise to a humanitarian emergency. We will look at different types of hazard, and how these combine with vulnerability to give rise to a disaster. We will then go on to think about how responses to such phenomena are organised: Who undertakes these? What phases do they go through?
Last week we looked at the nature of 'disasters' and examined a possible set of humanitarian responses to disaster. We concluded by considering the problem of mitigation, leading us to complex ethical questions that make the main focus of the course this week. In particular we will look at the way humanitarian agencies bear witness to the actions of others, and the problem, or requirement, of holding people accountable for these actions.
The Right to Humanitarian Assistance
In the previous weeks of this course, you learned about the origins, key agencies and different approaches of humanitarianism. As the world becomes more interconnected as a result of globalisation, increased migration and technology, disasters (both natural and man-made) are no longer of local but global concern. The right to assistance for those affected by armed conflict and natural disasters is at the forefront of humanitarian action.
Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
Moving on from last week, where we examined the right to humanitarian assistance and the obstacles and challenges surrounding its practice, this week we explore another controversial issue within humanitarianism: the responsibility to protect, or more commonly known as R2P.