What is a Humanitarian?

Image of humanitarian for our FAQ on What is a Humanitarian

what is a humanitarian A humanitarian is an individual who strives to promote human welfare and to engage in meaningful social reforms. The basic goal of the humanitarian is:

  • saving lives
  • striving to relieve suffering
  • assist individuals in maintaining human dignity
Humanitarians can be found:
  • helping the homeless find shelter
  • assisting refugees needing safety and protection
  • lending a hand after a natural disaster strikes
  • helping  people in need of aid after incidents of civil unrest

Career Paths

Individuals who have degrees in areas such as nonprofit management and possessing doctorates of nursing practice are invaluable when it comes to being a humanitarian. Both of these skillsets are of paramount importance when working within tight budgets and in areas where direct medical aid and attention is needed. Another useful degree can be in the field of diplomacy. A great deal of a humanitarian’s job is to interact with an incredibly diverse group of individuals and organizations.

Necessary Traits

Humanitarians are driven by a need to help others. To do so, more is needed than simply having a strong desire. Some of the traits needed to be an effective humanitarian include powerful communication skills, as well as the ability to think outside the box. Humanitarians need to enter into conversations with individuals and organizations from all walks of life. They need to create the right environment to make the changes needed to accomplish their goals. Another vital trait of being a humanitarian is to be extremely detail-oriented. When a seemingly Herculean task is presented, the ability to take what might have been an impossible situation and break it down into manageable milestones is of great importance.

Stress Levels

Since humanitarians tend to find themselves in chaotic situations, it’s important to carefully monitor and regulate stress levels. There are a variety of ways to relieve stress in the humanitarian’s life, according to Forbes. One of the ways is to make sure everyone involved with the project has been given thorough training and a complete briefing as to what to expect. Going into a situation without that knowledge can lead to less than optimal results.


A good humanitarian has strong leadership skills. When individuals find themselves dealing with what some might consider insurmountable problems, those who can form a team and address the issue quickly and efficiently are invaluable. Part of what makes a good leader is the ability to communicate effectively and to listen to ideas and suggestions coming from different directions and viewpoints.

Setting Goals

When someone undertakes a humanitarian career path, it’s important to understand the need for setting goals. One of the key elements is the need to have goals that are both measurable and attainable. This can prove to be challenging when faced with what might seem to be incredibly daunting circumstances. One of the ways to successfully navigate these situations is to determine what can be realistically accomplished in a given time frame.Then set about putting into effect a course of action using small and attainable goals.


While there are hundreds of other career paths that are less stressful, few are as rewarding as those of the humanitarians. Taking what might seem to be an impossible dream and having the strength and tenacity to make it happen is what sets humanitarians apart from those around them. Related Resources:

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