Humanitarian Law at the American Red Cross

March 4, 2010
By Nigel_Snoad

Phebean Cole, from the ARC in Washington DC helps run their International Humanitarian Law program. As I’ve mentioned before she’s interested in having us work with them on a range of topics. In the note below she outlines a few things that immediately came to mind that are worth exploring further, or using as inspiration or a starting point for your own discussion. You should feel free to setup time to talk to her next week by phone or email. One point that she emphasized to me was that they have a number of teaching materials for school students, but need to do a better job of the primary engagement so teachers decide to start using them. She’s also interested in any projects or thoughts that we come up with after doing some thinking and research.

I’ve posted it before, but the primary site for IHL at the ARC is here (it’s actually very hard to find from their home-page, you need to go to “About Us” from the top link header), but there’s also a short url for the educational material

Here’s her most recent note:

Whether through personal experience or exposure from the news, students are affected by conflicts around the world and need the skills to understand the rules governing war and their impact on human life and dignity.

The American Red Cross Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) curriculum is a flexible toolkit of resources that gives teachers easy-to-use materials to help students understand how conflicts—at home and abroad—intersect with the rights and protections of those impacted.

With 30 hours of activities that teachers can use as a whole or mixed and matched into their lessons, EHL helps students connect current events and real-life questions to the classroom. Using high-quality primary source materials, including news accounts, photos and letters, students build analytical skills by exploring different perspectives on the rules of conflict while grappling with their effect on human life and dignity.

Aligned with the National Council for the Social Studies’ (NCSS) ten thematic strands for secondary education, Exploring Humanitarian Law challenges students to investigate real situations and discuss some of the most important humanitarian questions facing us today. From the treatment of prisoners of war during the Revolutionary War, to the establishment of international courts at Nuremburg, to the use of child soldiers in conflicts around the world, Exploring Humanitarian Law is designed to fit seamlessly into a wide variety of courses, including social studies, history, law, literature, civics and gifted programs.

Listed below are few of the challenges we are having in promoting the Exploring Humanitarian Law program.

-          marketing free curriculum to teachers and educators

-          getting school administrators to utilize curriculum

-          marketing our EHL summer institute for teachers and educators (institute held in Washington, DC for 3.5 days, some scholarship, registration $75.)

-          marketing the EHL curriculum as resources that teachers can incorporate into the subject areas

-          promoting and teaching the Geneva convention in schools

-          marketing our curriculum and website efficiently

-          reaching our targeted audience

Hope this helps.



Phebean Cole | International Humanitarian Law Dissemination | International Services | ÌAmerican Red Cross

2025 E Street NW| Washington, DC 20006 |Tel: 202-303-5224 | Fax: 202-303-0052 | Email:

2 Responses to “ Humanitarian Law at the American Red Cross ”

  1. Kristopher on March 4, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I think it’s unnecessary to have the introduction and the education be different. Even though the EHL might be more directed towards teachers, I think the general public can learn more from the EHL site because it’s incredibly more friendly than the Introduction one.

    I still need to look into it more but the Geneva Convention / IHL is a topic that was lightly talked about when I was in MS/HS. I found it odd that in a class where discussions about global issues and current events, GC/IHL was never talked about in depth.

  2. Nadiah on March 4, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you for this post, Nigel.

    This opportunity has put the IHL in another perspective for me.
    An area which I have always been interested in; where important, real-world issues and deeper engagement are concerned in the realm of: education and pedagogy.

    I too, am exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL), and feel that the potential for this is great, locally and internationally. A sense of community, sharing, and knowledge-building is emphasized, through dynamic ways in the evolving roles of teacher and student.

    Here is a link to the International Committee of Red Cross’
    video presentation on EHL

    I will get in touch with Phebean Cole shortly, to inquire about the strategies that are currently in place to market EHL, and how this can tie in with others in the Collab who are interested in overall communicating IHL.