The Institute for Human Security was founded in 2000. Its aim was to bring together the many scholars at The Fletcher School who worked in the areas of development, human rights, conflict resolution, and humanitarianism, and to explore the intersections, overlaps and contradictions between their works.
Over the years, the IHS has brought many new scholar-practitioners to the School. All of them teach courses and do research, frequently with student involvement. The support from the estate of Henry J. Leir has been invaluable—without his vision, the Institute could not have done what it did.
The faculty associated with the Institute for Human Security is overwhelmingly multi-disciplinary: they work at the intersections between various professional and scholarly domains involved in social change. They are also mostly operationally oriented: they are frequently in the field, working for NGOs, bilateral and multilateral donors, and applied research agencies; their work, while building on insights from scholarship, is concerned with promoting actual change in deeply complex environments.
Since its inception, the director of the IHS has been Prof. Peter Uvin, Henry J. Leir Chair in International Humanitarian Studies and, since 2007, Academic Dean of the School.