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Who Is a Humanitarian?

We often talk about humanitarianism, global aid, emergency relief, and other related terms. But what does it mean to be a humanitarian? For many people, it’s a way of life and philosophy they live by – to put humanity first. And for a few lucky ones, it’s also a job.

The ultimate humanitarian traveling list

Defining a humanitarian and humanitarianism

Dictionary.com defines a humanitarian as “a person actively engaged in promoting human welfare and social reforms, as a philanthropist.” However, it is much harder to identify a humanitarian in real-life terms. Each person might view what it means to be a humanitarian in a different way.

One of the essential traits of a humanitarian is compassion. He or she helps others, values human life, and promotes social well-being, as well as the alleviation of human suffering. And in a professional sense, a humanitarian is someone who works for a humanitarian organization.

What do humanitarians do?

Humanitarians put people first. They work tirelessly to make the world a better place for everyone. In a way, this is a humanitarian ideology. And it does come with several humanitarian principles. These include independence, humanity, neutrality, and impartiality.

These principles allow humanitarians to aid those who most need help, without any regard for their race, gender, age, and so on. They do not associate themselves with any political or religious movements but work independently. And they do not follow the government mandate. Instead, they do what is best for humanity.

You might also want to read about the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Of course, there are specific career profiles in the industry. All aid workers are humanitarians, but they may do different jobs. For example, a humanitarian may be a disaster relief worker, a shelter specialist, a human rights activist, and so on. But accountants, administrative assistants, engineers, and many other career profiles may also work for humanitarian organizations.

Learn more about humanitarian jobs.

History of humanitarianism

The concept of humanity and humanitarianism has been around forever. People tend to help others when they are in trouble. However, the formal idea of humanitarianism as we know it today emerged in the 1800s.

The first modern humanitarian organization was the International Committee of the Red Cross, which still exists today. A Swiss businessman established the Red Cross in 1863 to provide medical help to the wounded, no matter what side they were on.

Eventually, the organization brought forth the Geneva Conventions, the Humanitarian Principles, and what we know to be today’s humanitarian industry.

Here you can read more about Humanitarianism.

Famous humanitarians

You have probably heard of many of these people. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to list every single person who has helped others in an emergency. But these are some of the examples of what it takes to be a true humanitarian.

  • Mahatma Gandhi: opposed the oppressive regime in India in a non-violent way. He also provided help to those in need. Eventually, Gandhi received a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
  • Henri Dunant: we’ve already mentioned the businessman who set up the Red Cross in the 1860s. His name was Henri Dunant, and his ideology of humanitarianism lives on to this day.
  • Oprah Winfrey: you may have never thought of Oprah as a humanitarian, but she truly is. She has built a multi-million-dollar foundation to fight hunger, poverty, and build dreams. Further, she runs a Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.
  • Martin Luther King Jr.: another political figure, Martin Luther King Jr., fought tirelessly for the well-being of humanity. He believed in equal opportunity for all and wanted to achieve it peacefully. We continue to see his influence today!
  • Mother Teresa: she traveled the world to help those most in need. This Roman Catholic nun helped hundreds, if not thousands of people. Mother Teresa also founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India to help orphaned and sick children.

Here are some more articles about famous humanitarians;

What is Humanitarian Travel About?

Humanitarian is described as having concern for or helping to improve the welfare and happiness of people and for example, trying to save human lives after a large-scale natural disaster like a severe earthquake or drought. Or going to third-world countries to help improve the living conditions by building schools, houses or churches. So when you speak about humanitarian travel, it means that a group of people looking to carry out humanitarian work, travel to an affected area to try and improve the situation and save lives. To increase, and hopefully, to sustain the welfare and happiness of the local population

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