Professional Development Program – Testimonials

I was really pleased by the quality of the Core Training. The individual benefits attending this training are remarkable, since it provides a substantial set of paths that one can follow with further studies. For NGOs/UN practitioners this course helps in contributing to the overall definition of strategies thanks to a better understanding of legal frameworks distinctive of crisis contexts. In my experience, there is plenty of room and opportunity for a very open participation and so for true learning, also thanks to simulations, examples, and opinion/fact sharing among participants. As in previous experiences, PHAP staff as well as lecturers were professional, and at the same time friendly and extremely careful in making sure that everyone was comfortably benefitting by the course. I recommend this training.
Marco Rotelli, Secretary General, Intersos
Participant in Amman, February 2013, and in New York, July 2013
I took the basic course in NYC over the summer. The PHAP class is different because it makes an effort to combine "real world" experiences with the basic substantive learning of the Geneva Conventions and other elements of IHL. Our course had a good mix of presentations from academics and practitioners. It was a good refresher for me, and I would recommend the course to others.
Kazumi Ogawa, Deputy Chief, Peacekeeping Situation Center, United Nations
Participant in New York, July 2013
For the last several years, I have been working at the International Criminal Court and I have taken part in the legal representation of hundreds of victims of atrocities. Working at the ICC requires a high degree of knowledge in international law and, in particular, IHL. I am of the view that, in order to fully understand the rules of IHL, besides judiciously studying the relevant provisions of IHL, one must truly understand the context within which armed conflicts occur and the roles played by various actors. In December 2012, I participated in the “Core Training in Humanitarian Law and Policy” and “Thematic Workshop on Protection of Civilians in Internal Conflicts” in Geneva, Switzerland. These trainings organized by PHAP in collaboration with the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University were a good choice for updating my knowledge of IHL and helping me deepen my understanding of the complexity of the humanitarian problems presented during armed conflicts. Especially, I was glad to learn about the profound impact that decisions of international courts may have on the ground and how the behavior of the main actors in armed conflicts are influenced by actions of international judicial institutions. I was also impressed by the participation of mature and mid-level professionals whose real life stories and shared experiences greatly complemented the lectures provided by highly reputed professors.
Orchlon Narantsetseg, Legal Officer, International Criminal Court (ICC)
Participant in Geneva, December 2012
In my opinion, it is a very useful training and it is an excellent chance to have reflections on various topics from the different parts of the world round one table. The discussions are very rich and we will learn a lot as they always bring in excellent experts that you might resort to in any future cooperation. Regarding the thematic workshop, it is really interactive and creates room for innovation and better interpretation of what is available in the law.
Malvina Elkhoury, Deputy Project Manager, Norwegian Refugee Council
Participant in Amman, February 2013
I really enjoyed the training. I found it a very well organized course giving you the tools to go into more depth in IHL but also a vast source of information and access to resources. It was a great opportunity for me to interact with people working in this area, to exchange views and understand their work in this field. I really enjoyed the several case studies which were part of the course. In general it was quite an interactive course with excellent speakers.
Marcia Kammitsi. European Commission
Participant in Barcelona, March 2012
The training I joined in Jordan in Feb, 2012 was important because topics were related to current challenges and emerging trends in field. Moreover participants from conflict related countries contributed their experience and lesson learned how to work with parties to the conflict for improving civilians’ protection. The training in real sense equipped me to carry on successfully my service as a Human Rights officer for protection of civilians in current NIAC conflict of Afghanistan.
Inayatullah Zia, Human Rights Officer, UNAMA
Participant in Amman, February 2012
PHAP's training courses in IHL and the thematic workshops are excellent. My experience in Bangkok in May 2011 was that the course was by far the most professional, in-depth, informative and relevant of all the workshops in which I've participated over the last fifteen or twenty years. I would also add that it was a lot of fun, socially as well as academically. One element that makes a course successful is that the other participants are also interesting people as well as experienced professionals. It's this aspect too that makes PHAP stand out.
Mark Simmons, International Director, FAR Sudan
Participant in Bangkok, May 2011
My very positive experience is that these trainings and workshops are not ‘just another conference’, but that they actually manage to bridge the gap between theory of humanitarian action and the operational experience.
Pooja Ahluwalia, Legal Advisor, ICRC, India
Participant in Geneva, December 2011
I realize that, just like me, many of my colleagues would need the kind of training PHAP offers. Therefore, I am certain that PHAP will play an important role for my organization in the future.
Ahmed Wali, Humanitarian Values and Organizational Development Officer, IFRC, Afghanistan
Participant in Amman, February 2012
I found the core training and the thematic training on occupation law in March 2012 very informative and interesting. The trainings are organised very well, those leading the sessions were clearly experts in their fields, and the combination of presentations/ discussions/ simulation exercises helps bridge between the theoretic principles and practical application. I would definitely recommend the training, and would suggest taking the thematic training that follows the core training.
Antonio Galli, Access Analyst, UN Access Coordination Unit
Participant in Jericho, March 2012
Having the sort of theoretical knowledge that PHAP trainings contribute to is important for humanitarian professionals, in order for them to reflect upon their role and how it interacts with those of others and to find new and better ways to serve the populations we work with.
Tirana Hassan, Emergencies Researcher, Human Rights Watch
Participant in Brussels, August 2012
I found it extremely relevant, particularly in terms of external communication where we have to make sure that our terminology is accurate.
Participant, Amman, February 2013
I really liked the case studies and discussion of specific contexts - this works.
Participant, Nairobi, April 2013
The online trainings were a fantastic background for the training and workshop. Good quality and excellent idea. Proved to be very useful to better understand the training.
Participant, Brussels, September 2012
It was an eye opener to the reality on the ground especially during emergencies. Decisions that are timely can be very useful and avoid a crisis situation.
Participant, Nairobi, April 2012
Fantastic training session. Will be useful for almost any future assignment. Great mix of theory and practical discussion.
Participant, Ottawa, March 2011
Very refreshing and orienting; while on the legal side much of the curriculum was not novel to me as I am a military lawyer, the perspectives that I was exposed to are critically important and different from the way I normally view these issues.
Participant, Cambridge, July 2011
Overall it has been a great balance of information, grounded in practical examples from facilitators and the group. Great energetic and engaging facilitation.
Participant, Nairobi, October 2010.