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Do you want to make the world a better place? Here’s how

August 25, 2022 - 3 min read

Almost every day we get news of another crisis in the world. Events such as a natural disaster, conflict, famine or a pandemic require people to support others in a time of need. That is why there has never been a more important time to think about a role in international development and humanitarian aid if you want to lead positive change.  

Development and humanitarian assistance aren’t only needed at the international level. During weather events caused by climate change or during a pandemic, the need is often at a local level.


What is the difference between humanitarian assistance and international and community development?

Humanitarian aid and international and community development are often thought of as similar fields.  

Humanitarian aid addresses the immediate needs of people affected by situations beyond their control, such as a war, natural disaster or famine. ‘The system was designed to work alongside communities and support them during times of distress,’ says Associate Professor Mary Ana McGlasson, Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership at Deakin University in Australia.  

Along with providing emergency assistance, aid workers also help prepare people for the future. This work on future harm reduction, according to Associate Professor Max Kelly, Course Director of Deakin’s Master of International and Community Development, is where humanitarian assistance and development overlap. ‘There’s quite a crossover with the humanitarian side,’ Kelly says. ‘We look at food security, sanitation, health, hygiene and economic development that are impacting both short-term and long-term human experience.’  

Development and humanitarian assistance aren’t only needed at the international level. During weather events caused by climate change or during a pandemic, the need is often at a local level. People can have a huge local impact, leading local initiatives that support their own communities.  


Who should study humanitarian assistance and international development? 

Humanitarian assistance and development work requires people from a variety of backgrounds coming together with a common desire to help people. 

Daniel Mcavoy is the Course Director for the Master of Humanitarian Assistance at Deakin. He says students come into the program ‘from an engineering background, a nursing or health background. Or they could be someone really good at accounting and project management or designing programs.’  

Max Kelly agrees that the work ‘is for anybody who is interested in humanitarian and urban development and environmental issues.’  


How can Deakin University prepare you to work in these fields?

Deakin’s humanitarian and assistance degrees focus on the skills needed to understand the challenges the world faces. They are about helping people critically understand the world as it is and how it could be in the future. The goal is for students to graduate with the skills to fill that gap. A key part of this is how climate change affects everything from food security to disease. Understanding this issue is crucial to being ready for what the future brings. 

Deakin staff have professional experience in the field and close connections with government and non-government organisations. This gives students insight into the opportunities available and helps build a network for workplace learning opportunities and employment after graduation. ‘Students work with the teachers and staff to really expand their interests and to actually find new interests that they didn’t know they had prior to doing the course’, says Associate Professor Kelly. The agency connections help ensure that the programs stay up to date with current issues and employer needs.  

If you want to make the world a better place, study international development or humanitarian assistance at Deakin. It is the right choice. 


Quick links 

Discover Deakin’s humanitarian development and international relations degrees 

Learn more about Deakin’s Master of International and Community Development 

Learn more about Deakin’s Master of Humanitarian Assistance 

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