Management and Leadership

Level 2 Humanitarian Principles (Blended learning including level 1)

About the Course

This module is for humanitarian decision-makers and advanced university students. The level of difficulty is considerably elevated compared to the introductory module in both the asynchronous and new facilitated reflections and exercises. 

Central Thematic: "How does speaking out articulate with MSF’s working humanitarian principles?"

In this advanced module, we will build upon and challenge the skills and competencies you gained in Module 1, in keeping with the thematic of this training – the articulation of humanitarian principles and speaking out. The advanced module focuses on enhancing reflection and analysis skills that can be transferred to contemporary contexts. 

The advanced module takes a closer look at the central thematic of humanitarian/working principles and speaking out by focusing on these concepts and issues:

principled speaking out actions amidst humanitarian dilemmas 

instrumentalisation, diversion, and politicization of humanitarian aid

obtaining, grounding, and adapting speaking out strategies based on credible and authentic data 

reflection on the relevance of humanitarian principles going forward


For advanced work on speaking out, you will need to apply to enroll in one of the scheduled courses and be approved by the course administrator.

It is created for internal and external use. 

These courses are offered by MSF’s Speaking Out Case Studies team and in coordination with MSF operational centres and entities, and several universities from around the globe. 

This is the second in a series of courses taught based on thematics that address dilemmas surrounding speaking out in humanitarian crisis. It is for humanitarians – current and futur


Credentialing upon completion of full course (8 sections) including facilitated sessions.

Learning Objectives

Knowledge Competencies

1. Examine the concept of speaking out and the imperative to speak out based on humanitarian principles.

2. Examine Speaking out in MSF and the normative international framework for humanitarian action including international law.

3. Analyze how far humanitarian principles and ethics are compromised while formulating critical approaches to speaking out.

4. Examine the pertinence or irrelevance of humanitarian principles and the normative international framework to today’s analysis and operations.

Skills Competencies

5. Ability to base speaking out on critical reflection, as discursive and constructive engagement with humanitarian dilemmas.

6. Apply critical thinking & leadership skills to real-life contemporary dilemmas.

7. Ensure speaking out is grounded in experience and based on evidence (with the acknowledgement that evidence is not positive or incontrovertible), where the methodology is explicit and set in specific political and historical context.

8. Compare and apply the concepts and dilemmas learned in this module to contemporary crises and contexts.

9. Apply critical thinking skills to the working humanitarian principles of accountability and speaking out with regards to state power (if course administrator chooses optional facilitated session 4).

List of Contents

Module Structure - Eight Sections


•Part 1 Independent work: Complete all sections of the online introductory module – concepts and case study on Srebrenica

•Part 2 Facilitated session 1: Reflections on humanitarian principles & concepts and the case study on Srebrenica.

•Part 3 Independent work: Complete all sections of the online advanced module - case study on Gorazde 

•Part 4 Facilitated session 2: Reflections on Dilemmas and Gorazde case study

•Part 5 Independent work: Compulsory readings on relevance of humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law today

•Part 6 Facilitated session 3: Humanitarian principles going forward

•Post-Course Feedback


Courses use online interactive training technologies and methodologies and some documents are downloadable. Additionally, the course includes three facilitated sessions (group work) delivered via Zoom.


Post-course feedback is required after you complete all sections of the course. Your feedback will assist in improving the courses for future learners. In order to obtain your credentials, you will need to complete the four independent sessions and activities, attend the three facilitated sessions, and complete the post-course feedback.


To enrol in this course please go to the Speaking Out & Humanitarian Principles (SOCS) Learning Hub and complete the Introduction modules. Upon completion of the two modules you may apply for a place in the advanced course by completing the brief questionnaire. 

If not, you will still be able to do the Speaking Out and Working Humanitarian Principles (SOCS) self learning modules by using the enrolment key that will become available when the Introduction modules are complete.