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The  European Commission,  at  the initiative  of Vice  President  Manuel
MARIN  and  Commissioner Antonio  RUBERTI,  has taken  the initiative  of
creating  a  European University  Postgraduate  Degree  on  International
Humanitarian  Assistance.  This  degree  is  already  being  taught  this
academic  year (1994-95) in five European universities,  in the framework
of the ERASMUS Programme.

The importance  of the development of  International humanitarian aid  in
our  contemporary  world   leads  to  new  questions  concerning  several
fundamental   areas   of  International   Law   and   the  evolution   of
international   affairs.  The   creation   of   the  European   Community
Humanitarian  Office  (ECHO) in  April 1992  has  provided  a substantial
response and has  considerably increased the European Union's operational
ability.

ECHO  has  also  intervened in  the  field  of  disaster  prevention,  an
essential aspect  of humanitarian  aid. Thus  the necessity  to create  a
link  between  humanitarian   law  studies  (which  are  efficiently  and
constantly  promoted by  the  International Federation  of Red  Cross, in
every aspect concerning  armed conflicts) and the preparation of  men and
women  to  work  in the  field,  (which  is  directly  undertaken by  the
organisations dealing with aid) has appeared recently.

It has  became more and  more evident  that students wish  to be  able to
follow a more  specialised course on the various aspects  of Humanitarian
Aid. Various  aid agencies have noted  that the professional training  of
their  staff  is  one  of  the  main  conditions  for  their  operational
efficiency.  

As it  appears that no nationally  recognised degree in Humanitarian  Aid
exists,  nor  at an  European  level,  the   Commission  of the  European
Communities  and   more  specifically   ECHO   -the  European   Community
Humanitarian Office-  has  taken  the  initiative to  develop,  in  close
collaboration  with  the  Task  Force  for  Human  Resources,  Education,
Training and  Youth, a  University postgraduate  multidisciplinary degree
in five Universities  of the European Union: Aix Marseille  III (France),
Bochum  (Germany),  Deusto-Bilbao   (Spain),  Université   Catholique  de
Louvain (Belgium), Oxford (United Kingdom).

The  College  of  Europe  (Bruges,  Belgium)  will  participate  in  this
programme as of September 1995.

The  first  year of  the  Degree concerns  about 100  students  in the  5
universities.

This  degree, which  started  in September  1994  has included  in  their
syllabus five  major  issues  of  International  Humanitarian  Aid:  Law,
Geopolitics,     Management/    Logistics,     Anthropology,    Medicine/
Epidemiology.

In each  subject, a reference handbook  was prepared by specialists,  who
come from two  different universities,  and  edited into  four  languages
by  the  European Commission's  services.  These  reference handbook  are
divided  into two  parts: the  first part  is  a scientific  presentation
dealt with by the subject  of methodology, basic concepts and  scope, and
the  second part, a selection of references and documents.

The  organisation of  studies is  included in  a  full ERASMUS  programme
among  the  five Universities of the network (exchanges  between students
as   well   as   lecturers,   intensive   programmes,   common   teaching
development).  This   programme   has  been   named   NOHA  (Network   on
Humanitarian Assistance).

This one year  course is divided into four phases:

a)   A  two weeks  Intensive Programme  in one  of  the European  network
     universities where  students  could  meet  counterparts  from  other
     European Union Member States;

b)   A  General  course in  the University  of origin  from the  1  st of
     October until the end of January;

c)   A specialised  course in one of  the relevant Universities from  the
     1st of February until the end of April each  University will develop
     its own specialisation;  (specifically Erasmus period abroad)

d)   A    professional   traineeship    in   Specialised    International
     Organisations, NGO's or concerned administrations,  from the 1st  of
     May until the end of June. 

A dual-degree system has been laid down: 
     -    A national degree from the University of origin;
     -    A  complementary  certificate from  the  University  where  the
          student  has  spent  three  months  as  part   of  the  Erasmus
          programme.

The specialisations offered by each university during the  Erasmus period
are the following :

Université d'Aix-Marseille III          Law
Universidad de Deusto,Bilbao            Law and  Administration-logistics
Ruhr-Universität Bochum                 Law and Medicine
Université Catholique de Louvain        Medicine and Geopolitics
University of Oxford                    Anthropology

The professors  of the five universities  concerned by the NOHA  (Network
on Humanitarian Assistance)  programme will present the different aspects
of  the degrees at an information meeting (open to  the press) to be held
in Brussels, on Friday  14 October 1994 at 14h00,  at the UCL  Bruxelles-
Woluwé, faculté  de Médecine, Bâtiment  51, avenue Mounier 51, Auditoires
Centraux (Auditoire central F).

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