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Top 5 Harvard University Courses on Peace, Humanitarian Aid and Child Rights

Learn about the global framework of child protection, how humanitarian aid workers respond to emergencies, and how religion inspires peace and conflict with online courses offered by Harvard University. All courses are free to audit. You can opt-in for a Harvard certificate for an extra fee.

Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice

Around the world, children are under threat from exploitation, violence, abuse, and neglect. Wars, conflict, and climate change force millions of children to leave their homes and take on a perilous journey searching for safety. Human Trafficking, sexual exploitation, and forced labor are still an unacceptable reality in many countries.

In this course, you will learn how to protect children from violence, exploitation, and neglect in a human rights framework. You also explore the legal foundation and the main components of the child protection system. You will equip yourself with skills and strategies to strengthen the child protection systems.

This introductory self-paced course takes roughly 16 weeks to complete. The course is especially relevant for human rights workers, policymakers, lawyers, health workers, educators, law enforcement officers, and social workers but it will be useful to everyone with a desire to apply child protection strategies to their work.

Religion, Conflict and Peace

Religion, peace, and conflict have been intertwined for thousands of years. In this course, you will analyze conflicts in different regions of the world with emphasis on the role that religions play in each context.

In this course, you will learn about the complex roles that religion plays in promoting, preventing, and mitigating violence. You will equip yourself with tools to assess the role religions play in current conflicts and assess the impacts that conflicts have on civil society.

This introductory course is open to everyone. It can be completed within 8 weeks and will be especially relevant for human rights workers, educators, journalists, public health workers, foreign service officers, and government officials who want to get a better understanding of how religions function in international affairs.

Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster

Humanitarian emergencies have reached an unprecedented scale around the globe. From the Syrian refugee crisis to the outbreak of the coronavirus, there is an urgent need for humanitarian action to alleviate human suffering.

In this course, you will learn about the legal frameworks of humanitarian action and how the principles guiding humanitarian responses are applied during emergencies. Beyond that, you will analyze major trends in humanitarian work and what challenges humanitarians face during their work assignments.

This course takes roughly 5 weeks to complete and covers a variety of case studies from around the world. The course is ideal for early-career humanitarian practitioners, scholars, policymakers, and everyone else with an interest in humanitarian action.

Early Childhood Development: Global Strategies for Implementation

An estimated 250 million children are at risk of missing their development potential in the first five years of life. The lifelong consequences affect their lives in all areas including health, learning behavior, and adult productivity. Critical interventions during early childhood development can help ensure that children lead productive and healthy lives as engaged citizens as they grow older.

In this course, you will learn about early childhood development concepts and their strategic implementation globally. You will assess success criteria for development programs and key strategies for enabling quality programming. The course features practitioners from Harvard University, UNICEF, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who will discuss real-world case studies during the lectures.

This course is open to everyone with an interest in early childhood development regardless of their context and country. The course will be especially helpful to child rights professionals, NGO workers, international development professionals, policymakers, educators, caretakers, and other stakeholders who work with children.

U.S. Public Policy: Social, Economic, and Foreign Policies

Religion and politics have been a persistent source of conflict in the United States. From same-sex marriage to abortion and public welfare to climate change, conservatives, liberals, and seculars often disagree.

In this course, you will learn how public policy puts laws into action and how it shapes the dynamics of politics in the United States. Within six weeks you will learn about social, fiscal, welfare, regulatory and foreign US policy. The fifth week of the course will specifically be dedicated to the foreign policy including the US stance on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

This course will take 4-6 weeks to complete. While the course is open to everyone, it will be especially useful to early career diplomats, public policy workers, government officials, and everyone else with an interest in US politics.

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Human Rights Careers

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