Humanitarian Crisis Simulation

Group being briefed by leaders under a tent

An immersive learning experience where participants played the role of humanitarian aid workers or volunteer responders in a simulated international humanitarian crisis.

The Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility led the organization of the Humanitarian Crisis Simulation for participants to learn the foundations of humanitarian response, and applied concepts in the simulation through active teamwork, intense interaction with role-players, and on-the-spot decision-making. This 48-hour learning experience was relevant to professionals and graduate students of all backgrounds, and aimed to prepare learners to work or volunteer in a humanitarian crisis; assess their personal career alignment with humanitarian aid work; and to develop a greater understanding of the refugee experience.


  • Pre-simulation resources and during-simulation skills-stations advance learners' knowledge of: humanitarian standards; humanitarian law and human rights; water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH); food security and nutrition; shelter and settlement; health; rapid assessment of disaster; safety and security; disaster behavioral health, and more.
  • Learners were divided into interdisciplinary multiple emergency response teams (ERTs) responding to a simulated international humanitarian crisis where they applied skills and knowledge to assess a fictional area experiencing a humanitarian crisis.
  • Each team developed a plan to address the issues present such as infrastructure, health, nutrition, insecurity, and human rights.
  • Participants experienced what it is like to live and work in an insecure environment and with living conditions common for professionals working in humanitarian response environments.

Simulation Update

The Humanitarian Simulation 2020 has been canceled. Please find our other educational opportunities here.

Related Opportunities

Although the Center is no longer hosting the Humanitarian Crisis Simulation, there are other opportunities that occur on the UMN campus.

In-Person Global Health Course | May, 2020

This four-week course, hosted by the University of Minnesota Global Medicine, provides intensive training ideal for healthcare providers who serves a global mobile population, such as immigrants, refugees or international travelers. Participants can register by the week, or for the full experience.


Public Health Institute | May-June, 2020

The Summer Public Health Institute, hosted by the School of Public Health, offers week-long courses for students and practice professionals in public health and related fields. Courses are intensive, highly interactive and application-based with opportunities for field trips, case studies, hands-on labs, and simulations. Interest areas include Global Health, Public Health Practice, and more.