Ethics in Humanitarian Negotiation and Mediation - PhD level course


23 - 27 Sep 2024

Online event

Jørgen Jensehaugen:

Equals 5 ECTS (with approved essay) according to standards of the University of Oslo, subject to approval by participants’ own university

Jørgen Jensehaugen:

Course leaders: Kristoffer Lidén (PRIO) and Kristina Roepstorff (PRIO) 

In addition to the course leaders, the course features:  

Humanitarian action relies on negotiations with political authorities, armed groups and local communities for access, programming and protection. These negotiations are filled with ethical dilemmas, like accepting to cooperate with war criminals and repressive regimes, favouring certain groups or individuals, risking the lives of own staff or undermining local norms and institutions.  How do humanitarian negotiators handle these dilemmas, and what can we learn from ethics in this respect? The humanitarian principles are supposed to guide such decisions, but there is often substantive disagreement on how they should be understood and applied. Examining the ethics of humanitarian negotiation is therefore also an examination of the ethics of the humanitarian principles 

Course Description:

Themes that will be covered include:  

  • Humanitarian negotiations
  • Ethics of humanitarian action 
  • Humanitarian law and principles 
  • Humanitarian mediation 
  • Global ethics and the pluriverse  

 In this course, we will explore these themes together with the participants. We will do so in three formats: 

  • Guided discussions on selected texts 
  • Discussions on how the topic relates to the work of the participants 
  • Case studies 

The course is organized as part of the research project Red Lines and Grey Zones: Exploring the Ethics of Humanitarian Negotiation. It is offered in association with the NOHA Network on Humanitarian Action.  


Application deadline: 20 June 2024


Participants must be familiar with the course readings and participate actively in the discussions. They are expected to keep their camera on during all sessions and be available for questions by the course leaders at any time. An adequate internet connection, microphone and camera are needed.

Upon full participation and the satisfactory completion of a course essay (4-5000 words), the course is valued to the equivalence of 5 ECTS.

The participants who plan to submit the course essay, must submit a one-page essay outline by the end of day one.

Submission of course essay outline: 23 September 2024

Submission of course essay: 31 October 2024

All participants will receive a diploma from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) proving that they have taken the course, but in order to have the course recommended as equivalent to a 5 ECTS the essay must be evaluated as passed.