Deakin University program

The Humanitarian World

Discover the history of humanitarian aid and the principles and values that underpin the sector.

This program is part of the Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Action degree offered by Deakin University

Investigate the history, principles and practices of humanitarianism

In this unit we will explore the history of humanitarianism, followed by the principles, theories and values that inform current practices in the field, learn about the various actors involved in the humanitarian system and analyse emerging trends.

You will have opportunities to discuss some of the dilemmas faced by the sector with educators and fellow students.

Through the use of case studies and interaction with International humanitarian experts, we will examine the importance of ethical practice to effective humanitarian outcomes and the changing focus to sustainability and localisation.


5 courses

Delivered by expert academics

Deakin University is Australia’s eighth largest university with more than 53,000 students from more than 100 countries studying online and on-campus. With world-class teaching and research, Deakin produces sought-after graduates poised to make a real difference in the world.

  • Deakin University

Who will you learn with?

Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership at Deakin University. Her research interests are North Korea, civil society, human rights, and disaster response.

Daniel McAvoy is a Lecturer in Humanitarian Assistance. He has worked in humanitarian responses in Iraq, Kosovo, Indonesia and the Pacific for a range of organisations.

Learning outcomes

  • Articulate a scholarly, as well as personal understanding and critical examination of the complexities of the historical development of humanitarianism across geo-, socio- and political contexts.
  • Critically evaluate ideas and arguments, developed through individual research, to identify how ethics, principles and values inform humanitarian action.
  • Use digital research and communication tools to collaborate, investigate and critically reflect on the changing nature of humanitarian action and relationships between stakeholders at all levels of the humanitarian ecosystem. Learn to make recommendations to enhance future practice.

Benefits of studying with Deakin University


Whether you're studying forensic science, teaching dance or you're a member of the public with an interest in mechatronics engineering, we've got what you need.

Study support

Whether you want to improve your general study skills or you need help on a tricky assignment, there's plenty of support available. As a Deakin student, every aspect of your study will be supported by online resources, student mentors and, of course, our staff.

Health and wellbeing

At Deakin, you get support every step of the way. For health or mental wellbeing services, healthcare professionals are on hand. We take care of your needs so you can enjoy life at Deakin.


Maybe you're going after your dream job, or perhaps you're still exploring your career options. Deakin offers the exclusive Job Search Essentials platform, which holds career resources to help plan your future.

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