The online 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.

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, as well as individuals.

The programme will extend the knowledge base and develop the practical skills of current and future practitioners in humanitarian diplomacy and policy. On completion of this programme, 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
  • analyse 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
  • analyse case studies of humanitarian diplomacy, identifying goals, actors, methods, challenges and implementation.

Course outline

The curriculum will comprise eight modules.

  • Module 0 – Orientation to online learning
  • Module 1 – An introduction to humanitarian diplomacy
  • Module 2 – Humanitarian diplomacy toolkit
  • Module 3 – Who are the humanitarian diplomacy actors?
  • Module 4 – How humanitarian diplomacy is performed – persuasion and advocacy
  • Module 5 – How humanitarian diplomacy is performed – persuasion and advocacy (practical skills)
  • Module 6 – How humanitarian diplomacy is performed – negotiations
  • Module 7 – Humanitarian diplomacy beyond negotiation
  • Module 8 – Other practical skills in humanitarian diplomacy

Period of study

The period of study is three months part-time through online fully supported distance learning.

Practical information

Who can 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

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is English. However, participants who are more comfortable with French or Spanish will have the option to write and submit some course assignments and the final research paper in either of those languages.


The fees are 990 euros per participant. Fees are due once you have been accepted on the programme.

Application deadline

Upcoming course sessions

  • September 2021
    • Application deadline: 2 August 2021
    • Start date: 13 September 2021
    • To apply: application form to be available in late spring 2021
  • February 2022
    • Application deadline: 10 January 2022
    • Start date: 21 February 2022
    • To apply: application form to be available in autumn 2021
Course details
Launch date: 13 September 2021
Additional information
National Society