Humanitarian relief is an extraordinarily complex subject. There are organizations that are in the field every day saving current or at-risk hungry people, diseased people, war victims, and/or the uneducated masses. Where there is poverty, hunger, disease, AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, epidemics, war and natural disasters, the world needs people who care, want to make a difference, and want to help the sick, handicapped, poor, battered and needy. There are always new issues in public health and challenges to overcoming poverty and disease. Those wishing to enter this field should feel a strong dedication to change the world to make it a better place to live and a desire to serve others by doing good works. These are the people who become experts in helping desperately poor people in underdeveloped countries find permanent solutions to hunger and poverty, as well as helping domestically when disaster occurs.

Career Opportunities

There are close to a million non-profit, state and federal government agencies, and organizations locally and internationally, who minister to the needy. There are positions for administrators, fundraisers, grant writers, program organizers, teachers, researchers, policy analysts and others. Candidates must demonstrate business acumen, personal diplomacy and basic toughness.

Types of Jobs

  • Educators
  • Financial analysts
  • Researchers
  • Human rights monitors
  • Monitoring and evaluation auditors
  • Communications/PR
  • Program officer or manager
  • Consultant

Qualifications + Skills

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Grassroots organizing
  • Cross-cultural skills
  • Knowledge of another language
  • Creativity and ability to do a lot with few resources
  • Working well with others

PRO TIP: It is difficult to find a humanitarian job with no experience. Use your time at Maxwell to volunteer, intern abroad, and develop in depth expertise in a specific area of development. Consider volunteering during breaks or vacations to build necessary skills and connections to people in the field.

Sample Employers

  • Adventist Development and Relief Agency International
  • Africare
  • Alpha Omega Foundation
  • American Red Cross
  • AmeriCares
  • Amy Biehl Foundation
  • Association François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB)
  • Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard
  • CARE (Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere)
  • Center for Humanitarian Outreach and Intercultural Exchange (CHOICE)
  • Church World Service
  • Cross-Cultural Solutions
  • Dakshinayan Foundation
  • Direct Relief International
  • Eugene Bell Centennial Foundation
  • Global Development Center
  • Global Volunteer Network
  • Goodwill Industries of America
  • Healing Hands International, Inc.
  • Himalayan HealthCare, Inc.
  • Global Village Foundation
  • InterAction
  • International Medical Corps (IMC)
  • Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)
  • Peace Corps
  • Project Contact
  • Project HOPE
  • SatelLife
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • United Way
  • U.S.-Latin American Medical Aid Foundation (MedAid)
  • Volunteers for International Development and Aid (VIDA)
  • Volunteers of America

Sample Maxwell Classes

  • Language, Culture and Society
  • Women, War and Peace
  • Environmental Policy in a Development Context
  • Development and Sustainability
  • Theories of Development
  • Food Security
  • Culture in World Affairs
  • UN Organizations: Managing for Change
  • Culture in World Affairs
  • Governance and Global Civil Society
  • Development Assistance: Policy, Theory and Practice
  • Fundamentals in Post-Conflict Reconstruction
  • Social Policy: Financing the Poor
  • Non-State Actors in World Affairs


  • Global Corps
  • InterAction
  • International Jobs Center
  • ReliefWeb

Related Career Guides

  • Human Rights and Social Justice
  • United Nations
  • International Development
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