The Institute of Studies on Conflicts and Humanitarian Action (IECAH) was founded in the year 2000 and has its central office in Madrid . It is a private initiative which unites experts from various fields and geographic areas related to international conflict and cooperation with special emphasis on humanitarian action. The expertise and activities exist at both an educational as well as a research level, and from national as well as international perspectives and centers. IECAH unites considerable practical experience and knowledge from work for NGOs and other types of organizations active in the field of international cooperation.
IECAH's activities are developed through a flexible and open network which consists of a group of full-time IECAH researchers and other staff as its core (see “Staff”) and a large number of other experts – with varying backgrounds and profiles – contracted according to specific demands and projects. There is also an advisory board which assesses the overall direction of the institute and maintains strong ties with other research centers and institutes.
With a clearly defined multidiscipline approach, IECAH's activities consist of four main branches: analysis, advice and consulting, teaching, and diffusion. Its main frame of reference is rooted in the necessity to explore the dynamics that generate present conflicts – both interstate as well as intrastate -; to determine the main characteristics of the tendencies and global challenges facing the international system of the post-Cold War period; to examine the different approaches to prevention and resolution of conflicts; and to evaluate and influence the responses of the international community with respect to development cooperation and humanitarian action.
From a geographic perspective, IECAH especially focuses on two regions of particular interest to Spain and the European Union: the Mediterranean and Latin America . However, this focus is not exclusive and other areas and regions certainly fall within the institute's scope of interest and research.