A very warm welcome to our first cohort of BSc students

by | Oct 3, 2016 | Staff blogs | 0 comments

by Gemma Sou

It’s the start of a new academic year at HCRI and I must say it’s quite a special one too. This is the first year that we will be running our brand new BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but that’s because there’s a lot for our new undergraduate students to get their teeth into over the next three years.

Photo by Rita Surastio

Photo by Rita Surastio

HCRI has been promoting and recruiting for this during the last 15 months so we’re all very excited to finally have our 25 ‘new recruits’ with us. They’ve had a jam-packed welcome week, which included meeting lots of HCRI staff, meeting with their academic advisors, picking their optional modules, getting to grips with the student system and attending the all-important annual HCRI social at the Ducie Arms.

The real work began with lectures commencing on Monday September 26th. I led one of these lectures for the core unit ‘Introduction to Disaster Management’, and it was fantastic to see that all of the students are as passionate and interested in issues of humanitarian as the HCRI team. And it was great to hear that so many of our students have experience in humanitarian settings, whether in the UK or overseas. In addition to this, there is a real diversity in terms of what students have studied at A-level (or equivalent) and we are happy to welcome five international students too! This variety of experiences and perspectives will be sure to make class discussions really interesting.

During the first semester students will be mainly focusing on key ideas and concepts in disaster risk management. Think questions like: Why do disasters happen? Who are the most affected and why? What are some of the social and political impacts of disasters? And how can we begin to try and prevent disasters?

Then they will move on to explore humanitarianism in the second semester. Here they can get their teeth into big questions about the ethical and moral dilemmas surrounding humanitarianism and whether humanitarianism can sometimes do more harm than good. These are questions that even the most experienced humanitarians and HCRI staff continue to struggle with, so we’re looking forward to hearing about the perspectives of our new undergraduates.

This first year will give students a grounding in some of the fundamental concepts, processes and debates in disaster management and humanitarianism. In year two, the students will start to look at more specific issues. These include courses on: Disasters, development and inequality; Peacebuilding; Emergency planning; The history of humanitarianism; and there is an option to do a work placement. Then in the final year students get to choose from a selection of optional modules which explore topics as diverse as Humanitarian law to Disaster governance to Media representations of humanitarianism.

But perhaps that’s all too far away to be thinking about at the moment. Right now, all of the staff at HCRI would like to extend a very warm welcome to the first cohort of our brand new undergraduate degree. All the very best for next three years!


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