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Overview

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 mobilise 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 organisations, NGOs, the private sector, and individuals.

The online diploma course in humanitarian diplomacy is offered by the Red Cross Red Crescent Learning Network of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in partnership with DiploFoundation. Course faculty draws on leading experts from around the world, as resource people and guest lecturers.

This course is currently offered in English, however participants who are more comfortable with French will have the option to write and submit some course assignments and the final research paper in French.

Le cours se déroule pour le moment en anglais. Cependant, les participants qui se sentiraient plus à l'aise en français auront la possibilité de rendre certains devoirs de même que le travail de recherche final en français.

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Open for applications: 

No

Application deadline: 
passed for September 2014 course
Start date: 
8 September 2014
Course code: 
n/a
ECTS credits: 
0
Mode(s) of study: 
Diploma

..very dynamic, very engaging.

Carine Chehab
Course participant
Course details

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 mobilise 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 organisations, NGOs, the private sector, and individuals.

The online diploma course in humanitarian diplomacy is offered by the Red Cross Red Crescent Learning Network of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in partnership with DiploFoundation. Course faculty draws on leading experts from around the world, as resource people and guest lecturers.

This course is currently offered in English, however participants who are more comfortable with French will have the option to write and submit some course assignments and the final research paper in French.

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

To achieve its objectives, the course will:

  • Familiarise 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 course, participants should be able to:

  • Explain clearly the concept of humanitarian diplomacy and provide examples of humanitarian diplomacy in action.
  • List and categorise 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.
  • Analyse the role of advocacy and persuasion in humanitarian diplomacy.
  • Organise a humanitarian diplomacy alliance.
  • Plan a persuasion campaign, taking into consideration the application of fundamental humanitarian principles.
  • Explain how to shape or influence negotiations through an evidence-based approach.
  • Describe how different humanitarian diplomacy contexts influence negotiation outcomes.
  • Analyse case studies of humanitarian diplomacy, identifying goals, actors, methods, challenges, and implementation.

Course outline

  • Module 0 – Orientation to Online Learning: During this short module, participants will be introduced to the online classroom and tools for communication and interaction that they will use during the course. Participants will also be guided through practice exercises and will have the chance to ask questions and request assistance as needed.
  1. Module 1 – Introduction to Humanitarian Diplomacy: This module looks at how diplomacy is understood within various definitions of humanitarian diplomacy, making use of the IFRC humanitarian diplomacy policy and its four signposts for action. How has humanitarian diplomacy evolved, and what is the current situation? Why is it relevant today?  Who practices humanitarian diplomacy? What is the profile of a humanitarian diplomacy practitioner?
  2. Module 2 – Humanitarian Diplomacy Toolkit: This is a cognitive toolkit, or a set of thinking tools, to help the humanitarian diplomat navigate through vast amounts of information and fast-changing policy contexts. The toolkit does not contain ready-made solutions. Practically speaking, this cognitive toolkit will help humanitarian diplomats to engage in debate, argue in favour of their positions, persuade interlocutors, and find creative solutions for overcoming stalemates in policy discussions, eventually reaching compromises acceptable to all negotiating parties.
  3. Module 3 – Humanitarian Diplomacy Actors: This module surveys the evolution of the RCRC Movement and introduces the main characteristics, role and function of the IFRC and National Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It briefly covers the 1949 Geneva Conventions and other instruments of international humanitarian law. It also introduces the role of other actors, including national governments, international organisations, private entities, and individuals. The module looks at how decisions are made, at national, international, and global levels.
  4. Module 4 – How Humanitarian Diplomacy is Performed – Persuasion and Advocacy: This module explains the functions and audience for persuasion. It looks at different contexts for persuasion (national, international, local, crisis) and differentiates between public persuasion (similar to advocacy and public diplomacy) and private persuasion. The module guides participants through the organisation of a humanitarian diplomacy alliance.
  5. Module 5 – How Humanitarian Diplomacy is Performed – Persuasion and Advocacy (practical skills): This module focuses on skills such as framing devices as a practical technique for persuasion, spin tricks in persuasion, use of the media (including social media), speaking, and writing. It guides participants through the steps of organising a persuasion campaign (main phases and approaches) at different levels.
  6. Module 6 – How Humanitarian Diplomacy is Performed – Negotiations: This module introduces types of negotiations in humanitarian diplomacy, in the multilateral, regional, and national context, as well as in crisis situations. It covers influencing negotiations through decision-shaping (if the humanitarian player does not have a decision-making role) and the evidence base - how to obtain it and maximise its impact.
  7. Module 7 Humanitarian Diplomacy Beyond Negotiation: Through examination of case studies, this module looks at using humanitarian diplomacy to ensure implementation of a negotiated outcome.
  8. Module 8 – Other Practical Skills in Humanitarian Diplomacy: Many practical skills are relevant to humanitarian diplomacy, including protocol, drafting, media training, public speaking, and use of social media. The module also covers resource mobilisation, planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, and quality assurance.
Reviews

The most valuable part of the course was learning from the contributions of other students. The classroom was filled with people from all over the world with tangible experience in responding to disasters, armed conflict, health issues, and development and emergency situations. Their experiences highlighted where humanitarian diplomacy and advocacy works in reality, and where the theory needs to be re-worked or re-conceptualised to fit the real-world. Read an interview with Richard on Diplo’s blog.

Richard Slade
Assistant/Project Officer for International Humanitarian Law and Movement Relations, Australian Red Cross
June 2014

Both professionally and personally, I now have a broader understanding of the humanitarian world, the fundamental laws and principles, and the different actors who are part of it. This has expanded my thinking about possible partnerships and alliances in order to strengthen my work in the Federation, and the different aspects and steps I need to consider in order to make such partnerships happen. Read an interview with Margarita on Diplo’s blog.

Margarita Griffith
Learning Officer, America Zone Office, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Panama
June 2014

Using practical skills gained in this course, I have been able to support my National Society in developing its humanitarian diplomacy work. This process is still on its way but already I have seen staff members taking a more strategic approach into humanitarian diplomacy. This is very rewarding. Read a interview with Leena-Kaisa on Diplo's blog.

Leena-Kaisa Åberg
Special Adviser to the Secretary General, Finnish Red Cross
May 2013
Who should apply
  • Red Cross and Red Crescent National Society governance, senior management, branch leaders and managers, volunteers, and staff
  • IFRC and ICRC staff
  • Other professionals who need to employ humanitarian diplomacy techniques

Please note that this course is quite demanding in terms of time and commitment, requiring seven to ten hours of study time per week. Before you apply, please consider carefully whether you can commit the necessary time in order to complete the course successfully. Where appropriate, please make sure you obtain the endorsement of your line manager to attend this course.

 

Prerequisites

Applicants must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree; or at least two years of work experience in the humanitarian or development field.
  • Sufficient knowledge of the English language to undertake postgraduate-level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and writing academic essays). NOTE: some course assignments and the final reseach paper may be submitted in French.
  • Regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable).
  • Sufficient time for online study, which requires seven to ten hours per week.
Fees

€950 per participant, due upon acceptance into the course.

A limited number of partial bursaries will be available to selected candidates from developing countries who work or volunteer with their local RCRC National Society. Please indicate if you are requesting a bursary on your application form and provide the name and contact details of a reference person at your National Society.

 

How to apply

An online application form will be made available when we start accepting applications for the next course (February 2015).

Please upload the following three supporting documents in English language with your application:

1. A current CV

2. Initial ideas for your research project (300-500 words), keeping in mind that your project should be about a humanitarian diplomacy action which took place (or is currently taking place) locally, nationally, regionally or internationally; refer to the IFRC Humanitarian Diplomacy Policy to better understand what humanitarian diplomacy is about:

  • brief description of your proposed topic
  • your reasons for choosing this topic: why is it important? why is it of particular interest to you?
  • your main objectives: what do you hope to learn? who might benefit from the research? what kind of recommendations or lessons might come out of your research?

Please note that you will have the chance to further develop your research project ideas during the course.

3. A motivation letter (maximum 1 page) which includes:

  • details of your relevant professional and educational background, including your personal objectives and plans for the future
  • reasons for your interest in humanitarian diplomacy
  • why you feel you should be selected to participate in this course: how your participation will benefit you, your institution and/or your country

These are required documents and your application will not be considered without them. All supporting documents must be written in English, even if you plan to write your research paper in French. Late applications will be considered only if places remain in the course. In case of enquiries, please contact us at admissions@diplomacy.edu

On your application form please do not forget to indicate if you are applying for a partial bursary (provide contact details for a reference person at your National Society, if so), and whether you wish to write your final reserach paper in French.

Selection process

DiploFoundation and the IFRC will select up to 30 qualified participants to attend this course. Preference will be given to applicants from developing countries, and those currently working in the humanitarian diplomacy field. Selected applicants will be notified after the application deadline.

Print course info
Course details:

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 mobilise 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 organisations, NGOs, the private sector, and individuals.

The online diploma course in humanitarian diplomacy is offered by the Red Cross Red Crescent Learning Network of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in partnership with DiploFoundation. Course faculty draws on leading experts from around the world, as resource people and guest lecturers.

This course is currently offered in English, however participants who are more comfortable with French will have the option to write and submit some course assignments and the final research paper in French.

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

To achieve its objectives, the course will:

  • Familiarise 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 course, participants should be able to:

  • Explain clearly the concept of humanitarian diplomacy and provide examples of humanitarian diplomacy in action.
  • List and categorise 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.
  • Analyse the role of advocacy and persuasion in humanitarian diplomacy.
  • Organise a humanitarian diplomacy alliance.
  • Plan a persuasion campaign, taking into consideration the application of fundamental humanitarian principles.
  • Explain how to shape or influence negotiations through an evidence-based approach.
  • Describe how different humanitarian diplomacy contexts influence negotiation outcomes.
  • Analyse case studies of humanitarian diplomacy, identifying goals, actors, methods, challenges, and implementation.

Course outline

  • Module 0 – Orientation to Online Learning: During this short module, participants will be introduced to the online classroom and tools for communication and interaction that they will use during the course. Participants will also be guided through practice exercises and will have the chance to ask questions and request assistance as needed.
  1. Module 1 – Introduction to Humanitarian Diplomacy: This module looks at how diplomacy is understood within various definitions of humanitarian diplomacy, making use of the IFRC humanitarian diplomacy policy and its four signposts for action. How has humanitarian diplomacy evolved, and what is the current situation? Why is it relevant today?  Who practices humanitarian diplomacy? What is the profile of a humanitarian diplomacy practitioner?
  2. Module 2 – Humanitarian Diplomacy Toolkit: This is a cognitive toolkit, or a set of thinking tools, to help the humanitarian diplomat navigate through vast amounts of information and fast-changing policy contexts. The toolkit does not contain ready-made solutions. Practically speaking, this cognitive toolkit will help humanitarian diplomats to engage in debate, argue in favour of their positions, persuade interlocutors, and find creative solutions for overcoming stalemates in policy discussions, eventually reaching compromises acceptable to all negotiating parties.
  3. Module 3 – Humanitarian Diplomacy Actors: This module surveys the evolution of the RCRC Movement and introduces the main characteristics, role and function of the IFRC and National Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It briefly covers the 1949 Geneva Conventions and other instruments of international humanitarian law. It also introduces the role of other actors, including national governments, international organisations, private entities, and individuals. The module looks at how decisions are made, at national, international, and global levels.
  4. Module 4 – How Humanitarian Diplomacy is Performed – Persuasion and Advocacy: This module explains the functions and audience for persuasion. It looks at different contexts for persuasion (national, international, local, crisis) and differentiates between public persuasion (similar to advocacy and public diplomacy) and private persuasion. The module guides participants through the organisation of a humanitarian diplomacy alliance.
  5. Module 5 – How Humanitarian Diplomacy is Performed – Persuasion and Advocacy (practical skills): This module focuses on skills such as framing devices as a practical technique for persuasion, spin tricks in persuasion, use of the media (including social media), speaking, and writing. It guides participants through the steps of organising a persuasion campaign (main phases and approaches) at different levels.
  6. Module 6 – How Humanitarian Diplomacy is Performed – Negotiations: This module introduces types of negotiations in humanitarian diplomacy, in the multilateral, regional, and national context, as well as in crisis situations. It covers influencing negotiations through decision-shaping (if the humanitarian player does not have a decision-making role) and the evidence base - how to obtain it and maximise its impact.
  7. Module 7 Humanitarian Diplomacy Beyond Negotiation: Through examination of case studies, this module looks at using humanitarian diplomacy to ensure implementation of a negotiated outcome.
  8. Module 8 – Other Practical Skills in Humanitarian Diplomacy: Many practical skills are relevant to humanitarian diplomacy, including protocol, drafting, media training, public speaking, and use of social media. The module also covers resource mobilisation, planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, and quality assurance.
Who should apply:
  • Red Cross and Red Crescent National Society governance, senior management, branch leaders and managers, volunteers, and staff
  • IFRC and ICRC staff
  • Other professionals who need to employ humanitarian diplomacy techniques

Please note that this course is quite demanding in terms of time and commitment, requiring seven to ten hours of study time per week. Before you apply, please consider carefully whether you can commit the necessary time in order to complete the course successfully. Where appropriate, please make sure you obtain the endorsement of your line manager to attend this course.

 

Methodology:

This 12-week course in humanitarian diplomacy is conducted entirely online, using DiploFoundation’s online classroom and learning methodology. The course consists of two phases: an interactive online course lasting eight weeks, immediately followed by a four-week research phase. Participation in the course requires seven to ten hours of study time per week.

During the online course phase, reading materials and tools for online interaction are provided through an online classroom. The course is based on a collaborative approach to learning, involving a high level of interaction. Each week, participants read an assigned module text, adding questions and comments as hypertext entries. Lecturers and other participants read and respond to these entries, creating interaction based on the module text.

During the week, participants complete additional online activities including quizzes and group tasks. At the end of the week, participants, lecturers, and guest experts meet online in a chat room to discuss the week’s topic. Please note that due to the spread of course participants across time zones worldwide, scheduled online session times will not fall within working hours for all participants. Some participants will need to attend online sessions during the morning or evening hours.

During the research phase, participants will apply their knowledge to analysing a humanitarian diplomacy action or activity. Working individually or in pairs, participants will select a topic relevant to their work, country or region, and prepare a short research paper as the final assignment for the course. Each participant will have individual support and feedback from a tutor throughout this phase.

The course materials are in English, and all course discussions will take place in English. However, participants who are more comfortable with French will have the option to submit some written assignments and the final research paper in French.

Participants who complete the course successfully will receive a diploma issued by DiploFoundation and the IFRC.

Prerequisites:

Applicants must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree; or at least two years of work experience in the humanitarian or development field.
  • Sufficient knowledge of the English language to undertake postgraduate-level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and writing academic essays). NOTE: some course assignments and the final reseach paper may be submitted in French.
  • Regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable).
  • Sufficient time for online study, which requires seven to ten hours per week.
Fees:

€950 per participant, due upon acceptance into the course.

A limited number of partial bursaries will be available to selected candidates from developing countries who work or volunteer with their local RCRC National Society. Please indicate if you are requesting a bursary on your application form and provide the name and contact details of a reference person at your National Society.

 

How to apply:

An online application form will be made available when we start accepting applications for the next course (February 2015).

Please upload the following three supporting documents in English language with your application:

1. A current CV

2. Initial ideas for your research project (300-500 words), keeping in mind that your project should be about a humanitarian diplomacy action which took place (or is currently taking place) locally, nationally, regionally or internationally; refer to the IFRC Humanitarian Diplomacy Policy to better understand what humanitarian diplomacy is about:

  • brief description of your proposed topic
  • your reasons for choosing this topic: why is it important? why is it of particular interest to you?
  • your main objectives: what do you hope to learn? who might benefit from the research? what kind of recommendations or lessons might come out of your research?

Please note that you will have the chance to further develop your research project ideas during the course.

3. A motivation letter (maximum 1 page) which includes:

  • details of your relevant professional and educational background, including your personal objectives and plans for the future
  • reasons for your interest in humanitarian diplomacy
  • why you feel you should be selected to participate in this course: how your participation will benefit you, your institution and/or your country

These are required documents and your application will not be considered without them. All supporting documents must be written in English, even if you plan to write your research paper in French. Late applications will be considered only if places remain in the course. In case of enquiries, please contact us at admissions@diplomacy.edu

On your application form please do not forget to indicate if you are applying for a partial bursary (provide contact details for a reference person at your National Society, if so), and whether you wish to write your final reserach paper in French.

Selection process

DiploFoundation and the IFRC will select up to 30 qualified participants to attend this course. Preference will be given to applicants from developing countries, and those currently working in the humanitarian diplomacy field. Selected applicants will be notified after the application deadline.