Human Security

Présentation de cours du programme universitaire

Human Security

  • Professeure : Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh
  • Session : juillet
  • Langue d'enseignement : anglais
  • Nombre d'heures de cours : 36

Télécharger la présentation 2021 du cours "Human Security" (PDF, EN, 544, Ko).

Objective of the Course

The course on Human Security introduces students to a broader conception of “security,” one which concerns itself not just with the stability of the state, but also with risks to people in their everyday lives. 

The course looks at the intersection between the academic fields and policy practices of development, security studies and human rights. Students will learn how to define, critique and measure human security both subjectively and objectively.  They will also learn how to design policies and programs aimed at responding to and preventing multi-dimensional threats to people’s security. They will use the human security framework to evaluate various policies and practices through case studies.  


While hundreds of thousands of people died from COVID-19 worldwide and a number of heads of states declared ‘war’ and a state of public health emergency, there had not been any attacks by an enemy state using armed forces against any nation.  Traditional security thinking and the tools of national security, i.e. relying on military force, had not proven adequate to protect the lives and well-being of citizens threatened by a virus. The Coronavirus pandemic was also not just a health emergency: it had devastating impacts on economic, food, personal, environmental and political security of states and people everywhere in different ways and different degrees.  The pandemic showed how threats are linked in a domino effect across nations and across sectors. A shock in one area can ripple in other areas, snowballing into multidimensional crisis.  

If the national security paradigm cannot capture such complexity, what other framework can be used? The course on Human Security introduces students to a broader conception of “security,” one which concerns itself not just with the stability of the state, but also with risks to people in their everyday lives.

Human Security, seen from the perspective of people, is not only about preventing wars and conflicts and protecting the sovereignty of states against threats from other states. It goes beyond stability to encompass other ways that the survival, well-being and dignity of people can be ensured: managing pandemics, saving jobs in the midst of a financial crisis, having access to reliable supply of quality food and clean water, being protected from pollution, being free from gross violations of human rights, etc.

The course  combines lectures, case studies, discussions and interactive group exercises to highlight linkages between theory and practice in every session. Working in groups, students will conduct field-work and interviews among at-risk populations, such as refugees, in order to analyze people’s own experiences with security and insecurity in their lives. 

Finally, the course will include guest lectures by practitioners who will talk about their experiences with applying the human security approach in international organizations, while providing tips on preparing to work with humanitarian organizations or agencies of the United Nations. 

Organization of the Course

  • Session 1) Introduction to class modality, expectations
  • Session 2) Introduction to Human Security
  • Session 3) Relationship to Traditional Security
  • Session 4) Relations with the Development Approach
  • Session 5) Economic Insecurity
  • Session 6) Measuring Human Security
  • Session 7) Intervention, Responsibility to Protect
  • Session 8) Peace and Peacebuilding
  • Session 9) Radicalization and Violent Extremism, Part I: Causes
  • Session 10) Radicalization and Violent Extremism, Part II: Responses
  • Session 11) Using Human Security Framework for Policies and Programs 
  • Session 12) HS Analysis of the COVID-19 Crisis
  • Session 13) Discussions: Evaluating Responses to COVID-19 Crisis 
  • Session 14) Exercise: The Refugee Experience (online/virtual fieldwork)
  • Session 15) HS and International Organizations
  • Session 16) Dilemmas of Working in the Development and Humanitarian Field 
  • Session 17) Guest lecturer(s) from the UN
  • Session 18) Conclusions: Wither Human Security

Professor Biography

Shahrbanou TadjbakhshShahrbanou Tadjbakhsh is a specialist in human security, peacebuilding, counter-terrorism and radicalization, with geographic specialization in Central Asia and Afghanistan.  She teaches at Sciences Po within the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), Master's Level courses on Human Security and a course on Understanding and Responding to Radicalization as well as a Summer School Program on Human Security. Prior to the Sciences Po, Tadjbakhsh taught at Columbia University (New York) as an adjunct professor and has been a visiting professor at universities in Kabul, New Delhi, Pretoria, Moscow and Dushanbe. In 2017-2018, she worked as an Advisor to the Government of Kazakhstan during their Presidency of the Security Council (January 2018) where she helped draft a Code of Conduct for the Achievement of a World Free of Terrorism which was signed by more than 70 countries in September 2018.  Between 2010 and 2018, she worked as a consultant for the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia (UNRCCA) and the UN Office on Counter Terrorism (UNOCT), implementing the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia. 

She has also worked with OSCE on radicalization in Central Asia. Between 2010 and 2016 she was a researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) working on Regional Security Complexes around Afghanistan and between 1993 and 2003, she worked at the UN Development Program (UNDP).   Tadjbakhsh holds a Bachelor's Degree from Georgetown University (1987), a Master's Degree (1991) and a Doctoral Degree (1994) from Columbia University. She is the author of dozens of publications, including three major books: A Rock Between Hard Places; Afghanistan in its Regional Security Complexes (with Kristian P. Harpviken) (Oxford University Press/Hurst Publishers, 2016),  editor of Rethinking the Liberal Peace: External Models and Local Alternatives  (Routledge 2011) and author with Anuradha Chenoy of Human Security: Concepts and Implications(Routledge, 2007).

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