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 of the Central- and South-East European states and globally. Our legacy rests on the work of Professor Heinrich Pompeÿ (Caritaswissenschaft) and Dr. Kveta Princova embracing the following pillars of humanitarian work: humanity in action, people-based approach, and practical orientation towards community service work.
We understand humanitarian aid not only as immediate disaster relief, but also as a social work carried out in an intercultural and interreligious context of the local communities across the globe. In our work, salience is given to the ethical behaviour in humanitarian aid, cohesion and the mobilization of solidarity and the use of cultural and social resilience for community rebuilding.
The principles of social justice, human rights, collective and social responsibility as well as the respect for cultural and religious diversities are central to our mission.
Highlights of cooperation 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)
- We collaborate closely with NOHA Network on Humanitarian Action in Europe (nohanet.org)
- We have initiated a long-term strategic academic partnership with Institute of Humanitarian Affairs of the Fordham University in New York, leading to International MA in Humanitarian studies www.fordham.edu/iiha
- We are official member of FORS Working Group (a Czech Forum for Development Cooperation and a platform of Czech non-governmental non-profit organizations and other non-profit entities that are involved in development cooperation, development education and humanitarian aid (www.fors.cz)
- We formally cooperate with main national humanitarian organisations, like Caritas Czech Republic (www.charita.cz), People in Need (www.clovekvtisni.cz), Adra and many international humanitarian UN, IGOs and NGOs including OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF, MSF, ICRC and many more.
What We Do
Education, Humanitarian Sector Collaboration, Student International Internships, Research
- Postgraduate Education and undergraduate education in cooperation with our partnering institution, CARITAS – College of Social Work Olomouc
All education is provided in English and Czech, and there is an International English MA programme underway.
We host external tutors from renowned international academic institutions and humanitarian & development organizations in our classes.
We provide annual international summer schools ISS 2018 with simulations of humanitarian crises in cooperation Integrated Rescue System of Olomouc Region.
- International Internships — Practice-based approach
We provide and facilitate internship placements for our students in international environment among the leading humanitarian and development organisations.
We offer opportunities for Minor field studies and publications of students' MA thesis through Internal Faculty Grants.
- Research — Evidence-based and service learning approach
Our research is empirical and focuses on evidence-based policy and practice with particular focus on social action research and service learning approach.
- 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).
In the past we have implemented some of the following projects:
- European Humanitarian Action Partnership (EUHAP: 2014-2017) with following outputs: 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) 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 Město Olomouc.
- European Universities on Professionalisation on Humanitarian Action (EUPRHA: 2011-2014), with following outputs: 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) (social work area)
Who We Are
Our scholars and practitioners have 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. Selma Porobić, Head of the Section
Selma Porobić is an international scholar focusing refugee protection from the integrative perspective of social sciences. She holds a PhD degree in migration studies from Lund University in Sweden and American University in Cairo. She holds a prestigious International Academic Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance, from the International Centre for Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University in New York. In 2006 she was a Visiting fellow at Development Studies Department and Refugee Studies Centre, at Oxford University, UK. From 2012-2015 she was a director the Center for refugee and IDP studies (CESI) at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo, where she organized and delivered International Summer Schools in Refugee Law and Rights (2013,2014,2015) with Professor Emerita Barbara Harrell-Bond, University of Oxford. From 2009-2016 she also worked at International University of Sarajevo as an external lecturer of psychology, lectured International Refugee Law at European Master for Human Rights and Democracy of University of Sarajevo and was a project leader for the SDC funded RRPP/ Fribourg University project “Engendering Forced Migration, Socio-political transition and Mental health in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo” (20014-20016). Dr Porobić has over ten years of experience in education, research, mentoring of academic work and evaluations and has authored, edited and co-edited four books and published dozens of articles and book chapters on range of issues relating to crisis-affected communities, politics and discourses of humanitarian responses and protection and rehabilitation of the war-displaced.
Assistant Professor Dr. Agnieszka Zogata Kusz
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.
External lecturer Mgr. Veronika Šťastná
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 to the position of qualified humanitarian and development practitioner. She has worked as a programme manager in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iraq or Angola and DRC 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).
External Lecturer Dr. Květa Princová
Květoslava Princová is a 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.