About ATHA

Who We Are

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Our Goal

The Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA) seeks to build operational capacity, facilitate learning across organizations in the humanitarian sector, and to mobilize change through a community of practice.

What We Do

ATHA enhances the capability of professionals in the humanitarian sector to manage and lead teams in multifaceted, remote, and often hazardous missions.  ATHA’s unique set of online and in-person learning tools, trainings, and engagement with the professional community support the expansion and deepening of key legal and policy exchanges within and across agencies in order to create a dynamic and creative space for learning and innovation.

Jerome Grimaud

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Senior Fellow

Jérôme Grimaud is a humanitarian worker. He devoted his first missions to protective accompaniment in Central America and to frontline negotiations in the Middle East before becoming a psychosocial support delegate of the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He gradually specialized in the field of protection, conflict sensitivity, humanitarian access as well as humanitarian mediation and dialogue facilitation, both as a practitioner and a trainer. His humanitarian negotiation and mediation experiences range from negotiating access of medical agencies and civilians at check points in the Palestine territories to facilitating humanitarian mediation processes in the Central African Republic. For the last three years he has developed and piloted third party neutral humanitarian mediation initiatives aiming at improving protection of civilians and humanitarian access for various NGOs, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Red Cross. He is currently collaborating with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) as roving humanitarian negotiation and mediation adviser. He is affiliated as a research fellow with Harvard University’s Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) focusing on Humanitarian Mediation. He also provides training with Harvard University’s Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action in collaboration with the Geneva based Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiations as well as with the NOHA Network on Humanitarian Action.

Emmanuel Tronc

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Senior Research Analyst

Emmanuel Tronc is Senior Research Analyst at the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA) at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. He focuses on field research and context analysis on humanitarian negotiation and access in numerous frontline contexts. Emmanuel has worked in the humanitarian sector since 1996 and brings extensive experience in conflict settings, medical and emergency humanitarian response, and networking and dialogue with State and non-State actors. Emmanuel worked with Médecins sans frontiers (MSF) from 1997 to 2016, as Head of Mission in several countries, including Liberia, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo and extensively in Afghanistan. In 2004, he joined MSF’s International Office developing and leading Humanitarian Diplomacy initiatives for its operations. Emmanuel was also Humanitarian Advocacy and Representation Coordinator and represented MSF among major stakeholders in the evolving Aid system, including political leaders and armed group representatives for more than a decade. Emmanuel leads the Humanitarian Access and Negotiations program at Conflict Dynamics International (CDI) and has extensive experience in professional development design, training, and teaching. He taught Masters level courses on conflict and crises at Sciences Po Paris from 2011 - 2013 and has been Senior Advisor for the François Xavier Bagnoud International Foundation since 2016 focusing on conflict analysis and community development programs for several entities. Emmanuel is a trained economist and holds advanced degrees in economics and political science.

Ruba Nimer Zinati

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Senior Research Analyst

Ruba holds a Bachelor of Physics and  Master in International and Diplomatic Studies as well as a diploma in Strategic and Security Studies. She is the former Head of the International Cooperation Section of the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy where she trained Jordanian diplomats and officials on topics related to negotiation, mediation, international organizations, expatriates affairs and political analysis.She has also conducted research on topics related to IHL, IL, public diplomacy, NATO partnership, UN Peace Operations and Peacebuilding, UN Security Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and culturally sensitive conflict prevention and mediation in the Middle East. Ruba has authored numerous pieces related to conflict resolution and perceptions of justice  in the Middle East and contributed to political analysis through publishing papers at www.worldsecuritynetwork.com

Gabriel Costa

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Research Analyst 


Gabriel Costa is a MPA candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is a recent graduate from the MBA program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was also an Arbuckle Leadership Fellow. Before graduate school, Gabriel lived in Les Cayes, where he was a Civil Affairs Officer at the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. Earlier in his career, he served as a Regional Field Coordinator for the Institute of Socio-Economic Solidarity, in Brazil, where he managed different impact investments in the region of Paracatu. Gabriel received his BA in International Relations from Ibmec Rio de Janeiro and his Law degree from Rio de Janeiro State University.

Serena Hajjar

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Serena Hajjar is an intern with the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action. She is a rising sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is majoring in international relations.

Anaïde Nahikian

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Program Manager

Anaïde Nahikian leads the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA) at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Through field-based research and engagement with humanitarian practitioners, Anaïde focuses on developing responsive research and professional tools to enhance the capacity of professionals in humanitarian environments, on issues such as frontline humanitarian negotiation, response to forced migration, and communities of practice. She leads field research and implements projects across the Middle East / North Africa, East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe. She also produces and co-hosts the monthly Humanitarian Assistance Podcast.

Anaïde is Associate Instructor in graduate courses at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Kennedy School of Government, leading the case research and curriculum design of an annual intensive, field-based course on strategic planning in humanitarian action, since 2008. She is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and an Affiliate at the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Julia Brooks

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Senior Legal Research Associate

Julia Brooks is a Senior Legal Research Associate at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), where she focuses on international humanitarian law and protection in armed conflict, as well as humanitarian policy and education. For the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA), she serves as a researcher and trainer focusing on international humanitarian law and humanitarian protection in armed conflict; managing editor and contributor to the ATHA paper and blog series; and co-host and producer of the Humanitarian Assistance Podcast series. She also teaches and develops curriculum for e-learning tools, online and in-person courses and workshops on international law and humanitarian protection, civil-military relations, and humanitarian response in armed conflict and complex emergencies.

Previously, Julia worked in Berlin, Germany on human rights and transitional justice at the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility & Future" (Stiftung EVZ), the German Parliament (Bundestag), and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as a Senior Fellow with Humanity in Action. She has also worked on post-conflict justice and governance at the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (OHR) in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and on international war crimes prosecutions the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, The Netherlands. She holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she received the Alfred P. Rubin Prize and Leo Gross Prize for excellence in international law, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Public Policy from Brown University, magna cum laude.

Rob Grace

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Senior Associate, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Rob is a Senior Associate at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). In this role, he contributes in various capacities to several HHI programs. For the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR), he leads the research for the Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding project, which has entailed drafting a series of working papers and serving as the lead drafter for the HPCR Advanced Practitioner's Handbook on Commissions of Inquiry. For ATHA, he serves as co-host and associate producer of the Humanitarian Assistance Podcast series; a researcher focusing on humanitarian protection, and in particular, on humanitarian negotiations; and a contributor to the ATHA blog. He also contributes as a writer, as well as a substantive and editorial consultant, to e-learning tools produced by the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard. Rob’s writing on international law and foreign policy has also been published by the Journal of Conflict & Security Law, the European Society of International Law Reflections, Foreign Policy in Focus, the Foreign Policy Association, and Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection. He holds an MA in Politics from New York University and a BA from Vassar College.

Meredith Blake

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Program Coordinator

Meredith is the Program Coordinator for the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA). In this role she manages ATHA’s communications and dissemination strategy, while serving as executive producer and co-host of ATHA’s monthly Humanitarian Assistance podcast. Additionally, Meredith organizes the global logistics for ATHA's conferences on frontline humanitarian negotiation in cooperation with the ICRC's Humanitarian Negotiation Exchange Platform (HNx) and oversees the supplemental development of practitioner-focused community programming. She is the project lead for ATHA's Gender and Humanitarian Response policy project and is currently conducting research on child protection and gender challenges in the Middle East, specifically as they pertain to the integration of Syrian refugees. Before joining ATHA, Meredith worked for the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, coordinating diplomatic visits for heads of state and thought leaders from the government, business, and media industries and in the communications department of the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She holds a BA in Government and International Relations.   

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