Global Health Diplomacy

Thanks to the recommendation of several LSHTM professors I spent the first part of my summer doing courses: one was a 6-week on-line course on ‘Understanding Research Methods’ (www.coursera.org) which I greatly recommend and which will help you do your academic writing. The other course was directly linked to the topic of my summer project in my final year of “MSc Global health policy”: a one-week course at the Graduate Institute in Geneva on ‘Global Health Diplomacy’, organized by Prof. Ilona Kickbusch. On the picture you can see the 30+ participants from all over the world attending this English-language course.

Global Health Diplomacy course group photo

Global Health Diplomacy as a subject is gaining more and more interest worldwide now that in the new millennium not only career diplomats but also ‘new diplomats’ like global health partnerships and other global governance bodies are trying to forward human (and animal) health in this globalized world. And quite successfully too.

Health issues interact and overlap with multiple sectors like international trade, foreign policy, agriculture, environment and human rights. During that week in Geneva, we learned that nowadays, global health diplomacy is less focused on coming with that one solution and is more oriented towards managing processes in a multidisciplinary, interdependent context.

Sunanda Deshapriya

We learned about negotiating for health issues through lectures by highly estimated speakers such as Dr. Mark Dybul (Global Fund), Prof. Michel Kazatchkine (UN Secretary General Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia), Professor Brian Hocking (Loughborough Univ. Clingendael Institute) and Dr. Gaudenz Silberschmidt (WHO). We had panel discussions, intensive group working sessions and also a very well organized 6-hour practical negotiation simulation exercise on the real life issue of virus-sharing in which all course participants had a role to play (minister/delegate of an affected or interested country, civil society, expert, WHO Dir. Gen, corporate sector). Some of us really deeply got into the skin of the persons they had to play, even during the breaks (as was written in the very precise instructions!)

For your info: at the initiative of Prof. Michel Kazatchkine this course is also offered in French language later this year.

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