About ATHA

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.

Who We Are

Carolina Leff

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Carolina Leff is a researcher working on the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action, focusing on humanitarian innovation and training tools that accompany processes of change.

She has experience as a facilitator in dialogue processes and building networks between the private sector, civil society, government, and international organizations, as well as in creating, implementing, and evaluating innovative methodologies in peace-building games and simulations. Her thematic areas of focus include training and facilitation, intercultural dialogue, strategic planning, mediation, and negotiation in the international development and humanitarian fields.

Previously, Carolina worked for the Office of the Ombudsman at the Pan-American Health Organization-World Health Organization (PAHO-WHO) in Washington, D.C. She has also worked at the Organization of American States (OAS), in the Department of Political Affairs, in the area of Mediation. She has participated in various trainings and conferences in Washington, D.C., such as the Negotiation and Drafting Peace Agreements Training Series: Transitional Justice (ICTJ); the "OAS Annual Conference Youth in Action 2013" which analyzed key issues affecting the 534 million youths in the Western Hemisphere; and the OAS Workshop "Mechanisms to Protect the Rights of Indigenous Peoples." 

In 2011, she worked in the field with The German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) in Colombia. Her main focus was on creating, implementing, and evaluating innovative methodologies in peace building, as well as facilitating dialogue processes and intercultural training with NGO's, World Bank, PNUD, and the government using innovative methods in conflict-affected areas. In 2010, Carolina was the only woman selected to represent her state (Cundinamarca, Bogota) at a National Meeting of Youth in Colombia, which proposed guidelines for the Colombian Plan of Development of Youths. In 2007, Carolina worked in Israel with the Institute for National Security Studies doing research on Middle East Conflict. Carolina holds a BA in International Relations and Government from Rosario University in Colombia and is an MA Candidate in Sustainable International Development with a Concentration in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence from the Heller School of Social Policy at Brandeis University.

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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Legal Research Associate

Julia Brooks is a 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.  

Steve Wilkinson

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Senior Legal Researcher

Stephen Wilkinson is a senior legal researcher with the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action, specializing in international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights in armed conflict. Previously he was a Legal Officer with the United Nations, a Legal Advisor with the Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Center in Jerusalem and researcher with the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. He has engaged in numerous projects with both the United Nations and academic bodies relating to the monitoring and investigation of international humanitarian law. Other previous work includes time in Cambodia as a legal researcher on child sexual violence and for the United Nationals Relief and Works Agency in Lebanon. He has also engaged in recent consultancies addressing IHL and human rights issues in Syria and Mali. He holds an LL.M (distinction) from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian law and Human Rights, as well as an LL.B (hons) from the University of Leeds. In addition he is a PhD candidate at the University of Geneva. He has also previously worked with us on the MRF project.

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