Humanitarian Studies Section

Sts Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology, Palacký University Olomouc

Humanitarian Studies Section at the Department of Christian Social Work of Sts Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology, Palacký University Olomouc, provides a postgraduate and undergraduate education that critically examines the complexities of the humanitarian crises and responses they trigger, with particular focus on its effects on people, institutions and societies.

The section's work involves interdisciplinary research and trans-disciplinary education with a broad spectrum analysis of humanitarian actors that shape practices and policies of emergency and post-emergency landscapes around the globe. We offer a unique opportunity to develop critical approaches to global and local factors of the humanitarian responses and the effects these have on the communities and populations in question. Added value is our embedded international social work approach that focuses on the social development, social welfare and human services in the crises-affected areas.

Vision And Mission

The vision of our section is to work towards betterment of the human conditions in the world through commitment and further development of education, research and cooperation in the humanitarian sector in Czech Republic and world wide. We commit to continue the legacy of this section's work and its founder Dr. Kveta Princova that rests on three strong pillars of humanitarian work: humanity in action, bottom-up and people-based approach, and practical orientation towards community service work. You can read more about evolution of our section and early beginnings in 2002 coinciding with the large floods that affected Czech Republic, an in particular Moravian area 1995, through response by Dr. Princova in an upcoming interview that will be soon published here.

In our continuing work we firmly stand by the principles of social justice, human rights, collective social responsibility and respect for cultural and religious diversities as central to our mission.

Highlights of cooperational development and outreach:

  • We are one of the founding members of IHSA -International Humanitarian Studies Association (ihsa.info) and have been key proponents of international social work as inherent to international humanitarian work.
  • We organise and help co-organise Annual International Humanitarian Congress in Czech Republic - HUKO Congress (humanitariancongress.com)
  • Over the years we have established close collaboration with following leading humanitarian study associations and organisations: NOHA Network on Humanitarian Action in Europe (nohanet.org)
  • We are official member of FORS Working Group. FoRS is a Czech Forum for Development Cooperation and a platform of Czech non-governmental non-profit organizations (NGOs) and other non-profit entities that are involved in development cooperation, development education and humanitarian aid (www.fors.cz)
  • We have a close cooperation with Caritas Czech Republic (www.charita.cz)
  • We have close cooperate with People in Need, largest Czech International Aid NGO (www.clovekvtisni.cz)

What We Do

Education, Humanitarian Sector Collaboration, Student International Internships, Research

  • Postgraduate Education — Master Degree with an undergraduate and Bachelor Degree in cooperation with our partnering institution, CARITAS College in Olomouc!
    We provide unique Master degree education in International humanitarian and social work consisting of partnership with CARITAS College during the Bachelor degree education (www.caritas-vos.cz) that leads to 2 years of Master degree studies at our Faculty (www.cmtf.upol.cz/en/studying/). The bachalor study program run in cooperation with CARITAS College Olomouc dates back to 2005, whereas humanitarian studies at the master level are offered since 2010 (currently as a specialisation within Master Degree in Social Work).

    All education is provided in English and Czech, and there is an International English programme underway!

    We host external tutors from renowned international academic institutions and humanitarian & development organizations in our classes.

    We provide International Summer schools with simulations of humanitarian crises in cooperation with Health sciences faculty and Integrate Rescue System of Olomouc Region.

    Through FRUP educational development grant (
    psup.cz/frup-rozvojove-projekty/) - we work on innovative syllabi for number of our courses offered in 2018 within international humanitarian and social work.

  • International Internships — Practice based approach!
    We provide and facilitate Internship placements for our students in international environment among the leading humanitarian and development organisations, such as Caritas Czech Republic, People in Need, ADRA, CARE, Aktion Deutschland Hilft, and a number of leading UN agencies and EU Aid Volunteer programs.

    We offer opportunities for Minor field studies and publications of students' MA thesis through IGA (psup.cz/iga-grantove-projekty/).

  • Research — Evidence-based approaches relevant to humanitarian research!
    Our research is empirical and focuses on evidence-based policy and practice with particular focus on social action research and service learning approach.

    Ongoing research projects:
    ROMSPIDO targeting inequality in education for Roma children in Olomouc region. The Volunteer centre is one of important objectives of the project. romspido.upol.cz

    Erasmus+ Project, SLIHE - Service learning in higher education: fostering the third mission of universities and civic engagement of students (2017/2020). We individually engaged to deliver work on behalf of the Christian Social Work Department as a key implementing partner on the project.

    In the past we have implemented some of the following research projects:
    European Humanitarian Action Partnership (EUHAP: 2014-2017) with following deliverables: Map of Humanitarian Job Profiles, Toolkit on Recognition of Prior Learning in the Humanitarian Sector, Set of Humanitarian Learning Activities in the form of Open Educational Resources; (for more info see: euhap.eu)

    Integration without Borders (2013-2016) Project focused on intercultural competencies: intercultural understanding, management of diversities, social entrepreneurship and project development. Our partners were the University of Presov (Slovakia), the European Research Centre for the Study Migration in Bamberg (Germany), Education for an Interdependent World Association (Belgium); PRO.DO.CS (Italy), Education, Culture and Solidarity (Spain), Caritas Sante Mare (Romania), Center for Social Initiative (Macedonia) and Statutární Mesto (Czech Republic).

    European Universities on Professionalisation on Humanitarian Action (EUPRHA: 2011-2014), with following deliverables: Qualification Framework for the humanitarian Sector; A European map of humanitarian actors and educators; the identification of new skills and competences required in the humanitarian field. (for more info see: euhap.eu/euprha/about/)

    Tuning Sectoral Framework for Social Science, (2008-2010) (We took part in social work area)

Who We Are

Following our mission, we have recently grown as a team to include three new staff members. Today we consist of two full time and two part-time employed scholars and practitioners and a number of important external lecturers with a distinct research and experience record in the following areas:

  • Causes, dynamics and effects of humanitarian crises;
  • Experiences of crises-affected communities, refugees and internally displaced, gendered experiences;
  • International social work and community-based work;
  • Interaction of Faith-based and non-faith based organisations in international humanitarian and social work;
  • Legal issues in humanitarian affairs, including protection, access, international human rights and refugee law;
  • Humanitarian and Development Aid, Humanitarian team management;
  • Disaster and Conflict risk reduction;
  • Rehabilitation and Resilience; Peacebuilding in particular in protracted situations;
  • Policy advocacy at national and international level.

Assistant Professor Dr. Agnieszka Zogata Kusz is a political scientist with doctoral thesis from the Department of Politics and European Studies of Palacky University, focusing factors affecting migration policy formation. She has been working at the Department of Christian Social Work since 2008, where she contributed to the establishment of the Master's program in International Humanitarian and Social Work together with Dr. Květa Princova. She was the coordinator of the department's development projects, and until 2013 a manager of the humanitarian study programs at bachelor and master level. She participated in the implementation of international projects Tuning Sectoral Framework for Social Science as well as European Universities on Professionalization on Humanitarian Action. In teaching and research, she focuses mainly on issues related to migration and migration policy, as well as on the policy advocacy of non-profit organizations, mainly at national and international level. She connects social work with her principal discipline, i.e. political science.


Assistant professor Dr. Selma Porobić has over 15 years of experience in the humanitarian sector. She holds a PhD degree in migration sudies combined with interdisicplinary backgrund in social sciences, obtained from Lund univeristy, Oxford University, American University in Cairo and Fordham University in New York. From 2012-2015 she was an executive director of UNHCR's initiated research center in the Western Balkans (CESI) at University of Sarajevo, where she is also teaching refugee law and protection rights within The European Regional Master's Programme in Democracy and Human Rights (ERMA). From 2009-2016 she was a part-time Assistant professor of Psychology at International University of Sarajevo and worked for the Foundation for Women's Empowerment BiH, as a project coordinator for the RRPP project 'Engendering Forced Migration, Mental Health and Socio-political Transition in BiH, Serbia and Kosovo (2014-2016)'. Dr. Porobić has authored, edited and coedited a number of articles and book chapters on range of issues focusing protection of civilian victims of war, including long-term psychosocial effect of war displacement, refugee traumas and resilience, international protection and asylum, return migration, reintegration and wellbeing of forcibly displaced in a post-war societies. She has acted consultant to UN agencies such as UNHCR, UNICEF, and UNDP and lead and co-implemented intenational research projects involving partnership with leading humanitarian and human rights organizations.


Assistant Professor Dr. Karla Koutková is a policy anthropologist with a doctorate in Political Science from Central European University in Budapest. After a decade in research, teaching and consultancy in the area of public policy, state capacity, community engagement and social inclusion in the post-conflict countries of Southeast Europe, Hungary, Austria and Canada, she is now back in the Czech Republic providing expertise on disaster and conflict managment within OHS studies at Palacky University in Olomouc. Karla has previously contributed to the UNDP, OSCE and CIJA-US. Her work appears in Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, Critical Policy Studies, edited volumes on ethnography of corruption and informality, and state-building in Southeast Europe.


Assistant professor Mgr. Veronika Šťastná has been active in the sector of international humanitarian and development aid for the last eight years. She has been built her expertise gradually through practical engagement - from volunteering in developing countries and into the position of qualified humanitarian and development practitioner. She has worked as a programme manager in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iraq or Angola for international non-governmental organizations such as People in Need, Premiére Urgence Internationale or Lalmba Association. She graduated from the Social and Charity Work at the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice (BA) and International Development Studies at the Palacky University in Olomouc (MA).


Květoslava Princová, Ph.D. founder of humanitarian studies in the Czech Republic and long-time guarantor of humanitarian studies at bachelor and master level; she was an employee of the Olomouc Archdiocese Charity: the humanitarian aid coordinator after the floods in Moravia (1997), worked for the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), humanitarian aid in Ukraine, and crisis aid projects in Chechnya. After 2000, she became head of the Humanitarian Aid Department for the Czech Catholic Charity Association abroad and managed projects in Kosovo, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia and Macedonia. She also served as the Vice-Chair of the Czech Forum for Development Cooperation FORS, Chair of the Caritas Europa Internal Communications Commission. Her research is focused on ethical issues in the humanitarian field. She is currently an external associate of the Humanitarian studies section.