Focusing on a career in humanitarian aid

Jennan Al-Hamdouni
Jennan Al-Hamdouni, MA COEX'16

Jennan Al-Hamdouni, MA COEX'16

Topol Fellow in Nonviolent Practice

Jennan’s calling to development and peacebuilding could be seen well before she arrived at Heller. From her undergraduate studies onward, she worked as a medical volunteer, a field journalist, and a youth and community development volunteer in Southeast Asia, Central America, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Her experience as an Iraqi-American and her international work combined to forge a long-standing commitment to help others living in conflict zones. “I didn’t grow up in Baghdad, and I could have,” Jennan shares. Ultimately, this commitment led Jennan to pursue a degree in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence (COEX) at the Heller School. During her time at Heller, Jennan was among the first to add the program’s semester-long concentration in Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Management.

“It’s very humbling to be in a room full of colleagues who have and continue to devote their lives to alleviating human suffering and making societies more just,” Jennan says as she explains how her COEX concentration experience has inspired her humanitarian work. “The COEX program helped provide me with a profoundly passionate and experienced network of faculty and peers from all over the world and who are renowned in their respective fields.” 

Jennan’s humanitarian focus landed her an internship with Conflict Dynamics International (CDI). Today, she works with CDI’s Humanitarian Access and Negotiation Support Unit, where she supports monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian access organizations in armed conflict contexts, conducts research, and contributes to workshops and publications. Her work with CDI involves regular contact with humanitarian practitioners in current armed conflict and emergency contexts. She says, “I got into my job, sat at my desk and realized, ‘Wow, I know how to do this.’”