New Research Center for Humanitarian Logistics and Regional Development Launched in Hamburg

Africa Logistics Conference Nairobi 2018

After many years of successful project-based collaborations, Kühne Logistics University (KLU) and HELP Logistics have now established a joint Research Center for Humanitarian Logistics and Regional Development (CHORD). The new center will provide premium academic research and education in supply chains and logistics to support social and economic advancement in low-income countries.

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Prof. Dr. Thomas Strothotte, president of KLU, comments the opening of KLU’s third research center: “Humanitarian Logistics has been a key focus of research at KLU since its inception. We are truly excited and looking forward to further strengthening our activities in this regard, providing state-of-the-art research in the new joint center with our partner, HELP logistics.”

The cooperation agreement between HELP and KLU for the new center has an initial term of five years. CHORD’s projects will be entirely funded by external donors.

HELP Logistics is a subsidiary of the Kühne Foundation. According to Dr. Christian Berthold, Managing Director of the Kühne Foundation: “Supply chain management is the backbone of humanitarian operations and the lifeline of sustainable economic development. Thanks to CHORD, we will have two strong entities within the Kühne Foundation that offer unique services in the humanitarian and development context.”

Research and Education

The focus of CHORD’s work will be on analyzing and strengthening supply chains in the context of disaster preparedness and resilience, food and agriculture, pharmaceuticals and health, as well as sustainability. CHORD will work to bring together the best of both worlds, combining premium academic research and education with operational training and technical excellence.
Prof. Dr. Maria Besiou, Professor of Humanitarian Logistics and Academic Director of CHORD, underscored the fact that the field of humanitarian operations offers a wealth of opportunities for relevant and impactful research: “CHORD gives KLU the chance to work much more closely with humanitarian players operating in this area and HELP Logistics access to many disciplines like leadership and AI.”


Sean Rafter, Managing Director of HELP Logistics and Operations Director of CHORD, added: “We have completed several impactful projects in recent years. CHORD will take the collaboration between HELP and KLU to the next level. We are particularly excited to work together with the other KLU Centers such as the Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chain Management (CSLS) and also local universities or regional HELP offices work with in Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and West and East Africa.”

Executive Education, Research on Supply Chain Systems

The new center will take over several joint projects begun by KLU and HELP in the past. One example is the Executive Supply Chain Management (ESM) program, which includes a series of seminars by professors and experts, offered to leaders and senior managers of humanitarian agencies and local governments. The program is offered at KLU in Hamburg and has since been extended to Dubai and Nairobi.

In terms of research, CHORD has developed a number of System Dynamics models (used to simulate the nonlinear behavior of complex systems over time) to better understand the complexity of humanitarian supply chain systems. The outcomes of the corresponding studies offer a baseline for strong investment business cases and have facilitated discussions between donors, humanitarian agencies and governments.


    About HELP Logistics

    HELP Logistics AG registered in 2014 as a non-profit organisation in Schindellegi, Switzerland. It is a subsidiary company of the Kühne Foundation. Since 2016, HELP Logistics has established four regional offices; Singapore (Asia), Amman (Middle East), Nairobi (East Africa) and Dakar (West Africa). From these centres, our dedicated supply chain and logistics experts partner with a range of government, academic and professional institutions to provide technical assistance and training programmes on supply chain and logistics.

    About Kühne Foundation

    Together with his parents, Klaus-Michael Kühne established the Kühne Foundation in the year 1976. The deed of the Foundation is support for training, further education, scholarships and research in the fields of transport and logistics. It is also involved in Humanitarian Logistics and supports a project “Global Free Trade” at the University of Zurich. Furthermore, the Kühne Foundation has established a Medicine Campus in Davos, Switzerland, supporting there two major research projects in the fields of allergology and cardiology, and runs the Hochgebirgsklinik. In the area of culture, the Kühne Foundation supports festivals, operas and concert halls in Europe, and the annual Harbour Front Literature Festival.

    More information:


    • Portraits of: Prof. Dr. Thomas Strothotte, Prof. Dr. Maria Besiou, Dr. Christian Berthold and Sean Rafter
    • 7th African Logistics Conference Nairobi, HELP Logistics
    • KLU Building