Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Humanitarian Innovation Initiative (HI2)

About the Humanitarian Innovation Initiative

The Humanitarian Innovation Initiative (HI²) seeks to develop and foster a more synergetic relationship between the academic and applied worlds of humanitarianism to better fulfill their shared goals of establishing effective and sustainable policy and practice. Launched in 2016, HI² is housed at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. 


Crises around the world ranging from intra-state conflicts to natural disasters continue to leave millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance. To address the rising challenges of these global crises, greater global collaboration is needed in areas of research, education, and advocacy as a means to develop and implement innovative, evidence-based practices of humanitarian assistance. By its very nature, humanitarian assistance is an incredibly multidisciplinary field, incorporating a diverse range of academic arenas. With the launch of the Humanitarian Innovation Initiative, Brown University is in a unique position to bring together traditionally separate areas of academia to tackle the significant and increasing challenges that international emergencies will pose over the coming years.


To improve the effectiveness and accountability of disaster preparedness, humanitarian response, and post-emergency reconstruction through interdisciplinary research and educational programming that fosters collaboration between academics and practitioners both locally and globally.


  • Support interdisciplinary research by faculty and students into both the causes of, and solutions for, the most pressing global humanitarian challenges  
  • Reimagine the education and training, both locally and globally, of the next generation of humanitarian researchers, educators, and responders 
  • Create linkages between Brown University faculty, students, and the global humanitarian community, including governmental, intergovernmental, non-governmental, and community-based agencies around the world 
  • Serve as a clearinghouse within Brown University for providing information and resources to students, faculty, staff, and alumni regarding global emergencies through workshops, symposia, and social media.

For more information please contact the HI² Director, Dr. Adam C. Levine (adam_levine@brown.edu) or the HI² Program Coordinator, Seth Stulen (seth_stulen@brown.edu)

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