Humanitarian Diplomacy online course

Application deadline: 22nd July 2013
Start date: 2nd September 2013

Humanitarian diplomacy is persuading decision makers and opinion leaders to act, at all times, in the interests of vulnerable people, and with full respect for fundamental humanitarian principles.

The  rapid expansion of  the number of humanitarian actors in recent years, working for or with governments at all levels and often in complex situations, makes humanitarian diplomacy increasingly important.

Humanitarian diplomacy aims to mobilize public and governmental support and resources for humanitarian operations and programmes, and to facilitate effective partnerships for responding to the needs of vulnerable people. Humanitarian diplomacy includes advocacy, negotiation, communication, formal agreements, and other measures. It is a field with many players, including governments, international organizations, NGOs, the private sector, and individuals.

Enabling Action 2 of Strategy 2020 commits the IFRC to “pursue humanitarian diplomacy to prevent and reduce vulnerability in a globalized world”.

The online course will extend the knowledge base and develop practical skills of current and future practitioners in humanitarian diplomacy and policy

To achieve its objectives, the online course will:

  • Familiarize participants with basic definitions,  concepts, actors, and institutions in the field of humanitarian diplomacy
  • Introduce participants to international humanitarian law, the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and National Societies’ role as an auxiliary to government
  • Hone the advocacy and negotiation skills of participants
  • Facilitate an international exchange of experiences and knowledge in a safe and supportive online class environment
  • Develop the research skills of participants, and increase their understanding of national and regional humanitarian diplomacy activities.

By the end of this online course, participants should be able to:

  • Explain clearly the concept of humanitarian diplomacy and provide examples of humanitarian diplomacy in action
  • List and categorize the main actors in the field of humanitarian diplomacy and describe their roles
  • Describe the interplay between relevant international law, including international humanitarian law, and humanitarian diplomacy
  • Analyze the role of advocacy and persuasion in humanitarian diplomacy
  • Organize a humanitarian diplomacy alliance
  • Plan a persuasion campaign, taking into consideration
    the application of the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
  • Explain how to shape or influence negotiations through obtaining and using an evidence base
  • Describe how different humanitarian diplomacy contexts influence negotiation outcomes
  • Analyze case studies of humanitarian diplomacy, identifying goals, actors, methods, challenges, and implementation. 

For more information on the programme and how to apply, please visit and read the course leaflet. (pdf)