The relationship between aid agencies and international/local media is often ambivalent yet vital for public and operational outcomes. This course explores the theoretical and practical implications of this challenging relationship.

The programme focusses on the two sides of the interaction: the impact of media attention in a changing media environment, as well as public communications by aid agencies.

It offers key insights into the role of local and international media in reporting humanitarian contexts, the visual politics of aid framed by ethical codes of conduct, and how to use audience and media landscapes for operational outcomes.

Overall, the course questions the collaboration between aid and media organisations by adopting a cross-professional dialogue and a more ethical approach in a media landscape influenced by digital networks.

Admission requirements:

  1. A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a Swiss or foreign university;
  2. At least two years of relevant professional experience;
  3. Excellent command of English (see below)

Documents required:

  • CV (Resume)
  • Cover letter (explaining what is the reason why you apply for this course and how will the acquired skills help you in your career)
  • Employer’s funding agreement, if applicable
  • Highest educational qualification obtained
  • Work certificate or official document of your current job position
  • Proof of English language competence to be dated less than 2 years (see details below)
  • Portrait photo (ID format)
  • Scanned copy of the passport

Language Requirements

The minimum required English level is B2. Providing a language certificate is mandatory, except in the following cases:

  1. If you are a native English speaker, please provide a copy of your passport as proof.
  2. You have been studying in English for at least three years: please provide a certificate from your institution, your transcript or your diploma.
  3. If you have worked for at least five years in English with MSF or ICRC, please provide a copy of the English test you have undertaken internally with your employer.

Recognized Tests and Scores:

    • Cambridge English First (FCE) 160-179
    • Cambridge English Preliminary (PET) 160-170
    • B2 Business Vantage
    • IELTS 5.5-6
    • TOEFL iBT 72-94
    • TOEIC Listening & Reading 785
    • TOEIC Speaking & Writing 310
    • PTE Geneval Level 3
    • PTE Academic 59-75
    • Duolingo : 110
    • EF SET (CEFR) : B2

More information about the admission process is available on our application page.

” (The course) has been tough but exceptionally exciting and useful. A complete take on the relation between media and aid organisations. Well composed and well presented. As an external with many years far from academic studies, I really enjoyed collaborating with a group of master’s students. I feel motivated to dig deeper into humanitarian reporting with a new set of tools”.

Micael Lindholm, journalist, opinion strategist and former public affairs expert at the Swedish Red Cross (2022 course student)


“A relationship at stake: media and aid organisations” has helped me sharpen and strengthen my communications and media skills through different topics and learning activities. This training course gave me the essential tools and resources to deal with media and find new perspectives in Humanitarian Communications”.

Majd Aljunaid, MSF Yemen Field Communication Officer (2022 course student)

“As a humanitarian worker, taking the Executive Short Course covering the relationship between media and aid organisations has given me the tools and practical steps to better engage with the media and assess the ethical dimension of humanitarian communication.”

Anmar Oyon Al Sood, Senior Programme Assistant, UNHCR (2022 course student)

“This is one of the best online courses I’ve taken at the Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies – or on any other online platform. I appreciate the care taken to give real examples in each lesson, and I also like the exercises that kept me engaged. There’s nothing worse than listening to an instructor who’s not even prepared and is “just sitting there” in front of a camera. I enjoyed the course and learned a lot; the explanation was evident even for beginners,  visually attractive and descriptive”.
Reem Nazem Malhis (2022 course student)