CAS Communication, Advocacy and Negotiation in Humanitarian Action 2020

Communication, advocacy and negotiation are essential elements of any humanitarian response. CERAH is one of the few academic institutions providing a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) and several Thematic Short Courses (TSC) on these topics.



20 April 2020 - 5 June 2020
10 ECTS credits
300 Teaching hours
7 weeks






+41 (0)22 908 44 53




Registration deadline

4 February 2020


Total fees: CHF 5’000.-

Deposit: (upon acceptance of admission): CHF 500.-

The payment of the registration fees can be made in several installments. If registration fees are not paid before the beginning of the course, access to the programme will not be allowed. 

There are no available scholarship for this programme.


  • Analyse the communication environment in which Humanitarian Action evolves
  • Master concepts, methodologies and major related tools and processes in order to design the most suited Communication, Advocacy and Negotiation strategies
  • Critically review past and current Humanitarian Communication and Humanitarian Principles
  • Reflect on, critically review one’s own practice and make recommendations


Professional in humanitarian social and development organisations or other sectors who wants to improve his competencies as well as reflect and capitalise on his experiences
Professional from other sectors who wishes to deepen his understanding of the contemporary humanitarian action and understand how to transfer his acquired competencies in that sector

Learning outcomes

The CAS is a full-time executive training of 10 ECTS credits, which focuses on the way that humanitarian organisation addresses operational communication at HQ or field level.


  • The Concepts and Framework around Humanitarian Communication
  • Dialogue with Communities
  • The Design of Advocacy Strategies
  • The Use of Media (traditional and virtual)
  • The Ethical Concerns of the Representation of Suffering
  • The Design and Carry out of Negociation Strategies

The CAS is composed of 6 intensive weeks of courses, pre-readings, lectures, workshops and role-plays. The seventh week is allocated to the writing of a personal thematic paper. 




Prof. Doris SCHOPPER, Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH), a joint Centre of the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva



Diploma delivered jointly with

Université de Genève, IHEID


The programme is developed with expert input from CDAC Network, Médecins sans frontières (MSF), Owl Research & Evaluation Network and Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL).


The degree is awarded jointly by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE).
Clear and efficient communication is essential to the success of projects carried out in humanitarian settings. CERAH is one of the few institutes providing courses in communication, advocacy and negotiation that are specifically tailored for humanitarian action.

Communication during aid action projects confronts several, important challenges. Humanitarian workers need to, often simultaneously, build positive relations with the affected populations, authorities and journalists, raise awareness and support, as well as lobby the cause they defend.

It is therefore important for humanitarian professionals to understand the different needs, stages and strategies of communication which play out during humanitarian project implementation. These include the development of a real dialogue with all stakeholders - including affected populations - the production and reception of information, the use of traditional and new communication tools and the cooperation with the media. Such practical expertise and competence needs to be complemented by critical understanding of the media landscape and the wider image of humanitarian action. This course delivers on both aspects.

This Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) enables participants to acquire theoretical and analytical competencies essential to develop communication, advocacy and negotiation strategies in the context of humanitarian action.

At the end of the course, participants will have strengthened communication competencies and will be able to develop a proper advocacy or negotiation strategy in line with their humanitarian objectives and their environment.


  • Week 1: Humanitarian Communication: Concepts and Framework
  • Week 2: Dialogue with Communities
  • Week 3: Designing an Advocacy strategy
  • Week 4: Media and Humanitarian Action: Approaches & Challenges
  • Week 5: Representation to create Relationship: Strategy and ethical concerns
  • Week 6: Negotiation in Humanitarian Settings: Main concepts and Strategy

Pedagogical method

7 intensive weeks (around 300 hours) of individual work including

  • pre-readings,
  • face to face sessions (lectures, role plays, working groups, field work, media training)
  • personal work (readings, research, writing)

Admission criteria

  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent university degree, plus a minimum of five years of work experience in the humanitarian, social or development sector
  • Hold a Master’s degree or an equivalent university degree, plus a minimum of two years of work experience in the humanitarian, social or development sector
  • Be fluent or have a very good level in English. A proof such a TOEIC/TOEFL/IELTS Certificate or other certificate is required.

Comité scientifique

Valérie BABIZE, Field operationnal communication coordinator, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), Switzerland
Dr Edith FAVOREU, Deputy Director and Head of Training, CERAH
Dr Valérie GORIN, Lecturer / SNF Senior Researcher, University of Lausanne and CERAH
David LOQUERCIO, CHS Alliance Head of Policy, Advocacy and Learning
Sarah MACE, Humanitarian Communication Trainer & Advisor for the CDAC Network
Jean-Paul MARTHOZ, Visiting Professor Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), Journalist and Writer
Prof Doris SCHOPPER, Director, CERAH

Number of participants

20 candidates maximum are selected each year.

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