Trauma & Health in the Context of Conflict, Climate Crisis and Displacement

July 26th - August 1st, 2020

The 2020 Global Health summer school explored how trauma as a cross-sectional consequence of distressing events exponentially multiply already present stressors in susceptible populations due to the knock-on effects of climate change, displacement & migration and conflicts.

During the week we learnt about the socioeconomic determinants of health, the role of the neoliberal economy in a globalised world and its effects on health and particularly on the conceptualization of trauma. We discussed how Climate Change and forced migration affect (mental) health and we asked questions like: What do we mean when we talk about trauma? How can we critically think and evaluate therapy concepts related to trauma? Which role does this phenomenon play in a society shaped by neoliberal and productivist approaches to life?

Students and practitioners from various countries participated in a dialogue with professionals from diverse backgrounds in order to highlight problems and discuss potential solutions, looking at examples of „best practices“ in the health sector. We discussed in which ways we, as health professionals and political activists ca work for the health of all and explored how we as citizens and members of the health community can have a positive impact.

Participants gained a thorough understanding of issues related to trauma and health through interactive lectures, workshops and skills training.

Participants Voices 2020

The Summer School was a wonderful experience, which has exceded my expectations and expanded my horizons. It allowed me to meet, exchange ideas and lead profound discussions with a group of committed and diverse individuals from many different disciplines. The ongoing pandemic forced us all to socially distance, but this did not stop us from building a creative and safe space in which to critically reflect on today's most pressing global health challenges. This experience challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and to critically assess my values and social responsibilites as a medical doctor and researcher in Global health. I am taking away a much broader understanding of the topics we discussed, lots of new impulses and a strong motivation to challenge dysfuntional structures and break down barriers to health care for the most vulnerable people in our societies.

Nicole Mauer, doctoral student at the Heidelberg Institute for Global Health


The Summer School was a very eye-opening experience. Learning about how various issues such as climate change, mental health and migration intersect and have a big impact on health has allowed me to acquire a holistic and inclusive perspective on global health.
I would definitely recommend this Summer School to anyone interested in the global health field.

Hanna Abraha, Global Health Policy Masters student at the University of Edinburgh


The Summer School was a great opportunity this year to meet many interesting people with divers backgrounds. The speakers and their presentations initieasted interesting discussions on topics they were presenting and beyond. Even with COVID-19 restrictions there was a space for positive discussions as well as opinions and the opportunity to exchange experiences; the organisers put effort into ensuring that everyone feels safe and comfortable. Additionally, in one of the workshops at the Summer School, I had the opportunity to present my research on the mental health of humanitarian national staff. All of these aspects combined enriched my knowledge and made my time at this event enjoyable.

Khaled Kaiyali, International Humanitarian Action Masters student at Ruhr-Bochum University


At the summer school, I learned different perspectives on how to facilitate trauma experiences among newcomers. Stories of people who went through the process of migration and those who are addressing the government to tackle these issues made me think critically about the global situation and my position in it. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to meet fellow open-minded participants and to have had a very insightful week.
There are so many things to work on, and this Summer School gives a good push to action. 

Olga Leshchenko, Sociology student at the Free University Berlin

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Health and Globalisation