For a long time, negotiating in humanitarian operations was felt as compromising principles and norms. Only recently was it found to reinforce humanitarian impact by considering the interests of all sides and the context to make a deal.

This executive short course is a full-time training that focuses on the design of adapted negotiation strategies in humanitarian settings and the development of participants’ self-awareness.

It links real situations experienced by participants with the latest concepts around humanitarian negotiation, meaning negotiations aimed at securing access, assistance, and protection for civilians facing humanitarian emergencies.

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.

“This training has allowed me to process my thoughts and to put words on situations and experiences which I kind of felt “stuck with” at this point in my carrier, without being able to pinpoint what made me uncomfortable. The reflexive process is too often absent from our daily practice, busy as we are running around trying to “fix things” and I am very grateful to have had that opportunity.”

Maëlle, course participant, November 2020


“On the one hand, what I learned from this training can be used not only externally with interlocutors of governments or non-state armed actors by getting access to a community in need of assistance and/or protection or to evaluate those needs and as part of this negotiation (but not as the main aim) to obtain security guarantees for the staff that will deliver aid or/and work alongside the community. On the other hand, it can be used internally to have the support of key stakeholders of my organisation that are important for one intervention as sometimes it is more difficult to gather a consensus in house. Finally, it can also be used when negotiating with other humanitarian or development organisations.” 

Thaïs, course participant, November 2020


“I found both  group and individual exercises very enlightening about negotiation techniques, approaches and don’ts of humanitarian negotiations. It was great to discuss during the group work on several elements which to me were obvious, but other members had a completely different vision and perspective. Several elements of this part will be used in my team’s and my future negotiations”.

Alexandros, course participant, November 2020