Profile image of Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings

Dr Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings



Honorary Fellow


Faculty of Arts and Education


School of Hum & Social Science


Off-Campus (Home)


Master in International Humanitarian Action, Catholic University of Louvain, 2013
Master of Arts, University of Edinburgh, 2011


Dr Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings is the Associate Director of Research at the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, and Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Before joining Deakin in 2018, Nazanin completed her doctoral studies at City University of Hong Kong.

Read more on Nazanin's profile

Units taught

2023 units

AHA721: Dynamics and Dilemmas of the Humanitarian Sector

ADH701: The Humanitarian World

ADH702: The Humanitarian-Development Nexus

AHA722: Applied Humanitarian Assistance: From Theory to Practice

Previous units

AHA724: Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Humanitarian Contexts

ADH703: Evidence and Decision Making in Humanitarian Action

Humanitarian Action Team Internship (HATI)

Knowledge areas

Humanitarian aid, international relations, North Korea, civil society, humanitarian education, geopolitics of aid, international organisations, humanitarian-development nexus


Selected conferences

2021 Conference on Humanitarian Studies - New Realities of Politics and Humanitarianism: Between Solidarity and Abandonment (3-5 November 2021, Sciences Po, Paris/virtual)

2021 Humanitarian Leadership Conference (28-29 April 2021, Centre for Humanitarian Leadership at Deakin University, virtual)

North Korea International: (Re)Evaluating, (Re)Viewing, and (Re)Connecting in a COVID World (6 October 2020, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University, Seoul/virtual)

Second Biennial Melbourne Metropolitan Korean Studies Meeting (17 July 2020, Monash University, virtual)

2019 Asia Pacific Humanitarian Leadership Conference (22-24 May 2019, Centre for Humanitarian Leadership at Deakin University, virtual)

World Congress for Korean Politics and Society 2019 (24-26 June 2019, Konkuk University, Seoul)

Professional activities

Board member, International Humanitarian Studies Association (2022 - present)

Steering committee member, HPass (2022 - present)

Media appearances

Selected media appearances

‘Humanitarian studies programmes in short supply in Africa’ by Wagdy Sawahel, 17 March 2022, University World News:

'In the first few years of life, 1 in 5 North Korean kids suffer stunted growth' by Won-Gi Jung, 5 May 2021, NK News:

'North Korea says it’s ‘gravely concerned’ about Australian human rights abuses' by Chad O'Carroll, 22 January 2021, NK News:

'Typhoon Bavi strikes North Korea amid pandemic lockdown' by Jason Strother, 27 August 2020, The World:

'Coronavirus fears in North Korea as closed China border deals blow to economy' by John Power, 13 February 2020:

Selected commentary

'Need, Aid, and Root Causes: The Appropriateness of Humanitarian Response in the DPRK' by Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, 8 April 2021, Global North Korea:

'Why diversity matters for humanitarian negotiation' by Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, 24 August 2021, Centre for Humanitarian Leadership:

'North Korea’s silent health crisis' by Gianlucca Spezza and Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, 25 February 2019, The New Humanitarian:

'The Hanoi US-North Korea Summit: Why Pyongyang’s Crippled Economy Is Central' by Gianluca Spezza and Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, 25 February 2019, The Diplomat,


Current research projects

Transnational Engagement with North Korea: The Potential for Experience Based Learning

Collaborator: Mr James Banfill (Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue)

This project explores the potential of experiential learning, such as simulation and/or serious games, to inform and prepare individuals for effective engagement with North Korea.

Transitional Justice in Korea: A Role for Australia?

Collaborators: Dr Danielle Chubb (Deakin University), Dr Sarah Son (Sheffield University)

Funded by the Academy of Korean Studies, this project considers how Australia may support current and future transitional justice initiatives on the Korean peninsula.

Other projects

Humanitarian Leader

I am the Editor in Chief of the Humanitarian Leader, a monthly working paper series published by the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership. We publish papers that deal with concepts of leadership in the humanitarian system, as well as ideas useful to humanitarian decision-makers, or that interact with core concepts of the humanitarian system.


Filter by


Shaping the Humanitarian Arena: South Korean, American, and Christian NGOs in North Korea

Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings

(2023), pp. 17-36, Korea and the Global Society, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

Preparing for transitional justice in North Korea

N Zadeh-Cummings, S Son, D Chubb

(2022), Vol. 76, pp. 121-129, Australian Journal of International Affairs, London, England, C1

journal article

Mastering humanitarianism? A survey of postgraduate humanitarian courses

A Stibral, N Zadeh-Cummings, M Clarke

(2022), Vol. 84, pp. 741`-760, Higher Education, Berlin, Germany, C1

journal article

International engagement with North Korea: disability, human rights and humanitarian aid

D Chubb, N Zadeh-Cummings

(2022), pp. 1-18, Third World Quarterly, London, Eng., C1

journal article

The impact of sanctions against North Korea on humanitarian aid

Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, Lauren Harris

(2020), Vol. 2, pp. 44-52, Journal of Humanitarian Affairs, Manchester, Eng., C1

journal article

Humanitarian Aid in North Korea: Needs, Sanctions and Future Challenges

Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, Lauren Harris

(2020), Geelong, Vic., A6

research report/technical paper

Funded Projects at Deakin

Industry and Other Funding

Transitional Justice in Korea: A Role for Australia?

A/Prof Danielle Chubb, Dr Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings

The Academy of Korean Studies

  • 2020: $24,732

UNFPA Humanitarian Leadership Training Program

Ms Mary Ana McGlasson, A/Prof Cai Wilkinson, Dr Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings

The United Nations Population Fund

  • 2023: $43,286
  • 2022: $145,609

Changing the way the world responds to humanitarian crises: train current and future humanitarian leaders as innovative thinkers and dynamic achievers.

Ms Mary Ana McGlasson, A/Prof Cai Wilkinson, Dr Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, Mrs Justine De Rouck, Ms Manika Saha

Action Against Hunger - USA

  • 2023: $1,565,986
  • 2022: $599,433
  • 2021: $700,453

Humanitarian (Re)Engagement With North Korea

Dr Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings

CAT 3-5 IFES Academic and Policy Research Projects on North Korea and Unification

  • 2023: $38,643


Principal Supervisor

Rachel Coghlan

Thesis entitled: Caring for the seriously ill and dying in humanitarian crisis and conflict: Shifting a 'usual' palliative care paradigm to Gaza's own

Doctor of Philosophy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Associate Supervisor

Adriana Alana Stibral


Doctor of Philosophy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences