About Student Engagement


Project ASPIRE provides a great opportunity for students to become involved in a highly relevant humanitarian situation, through CU coursework, field-level research
and community outreach events.


Columbia Coursework


Global Refugee Response: Policy & Practice

Learning goals include:

  • Provide an introduction to refugee literature;
  • Equip students with refugee response research methodologies;
  • Enable students to distinguish how varying governments respond to refugee crises, and
  • Focus on how services are targeted and delivered (and by whom).

Using Syrian refugee crisis as overarching case study, the course will cover topics such as:

  • Problem – influencing forces, historical impact, why this is viewed as a “problem”
  • Humanitarian ecosystem – Major UN agencies and NGOs, guiding principles
  • National policies – how governments influence response and displacement
  • Impacts on well-being (emphasis on health) – key needs, key gaps in provision, how to identify needs, how to inform response
  • Social media (ICT4D) – Refugee response in the internet age

Student internships, field placements, independent studies


Available positions:

  • Grant writing (foundations and government institutions)
  • Literature review (immediate needs for literature review around refugee health and mental health)
  • Tool/metric development (a good opportunity to learn mobile data collection through ODK)
  • Conducting analysis (statistical software skills required)
  • Marketing (newsletter, outreach events, panel discussions, etc.)

Interested students should email ASPIRE at aspirerefugees @ columbia.edu

Those interested in an individualized project should share their CV as well as a letter of interest.