Drug Policy, Diplomacy and Public Health

Negotiating the health dimension of drug policies

Applications for 2019 NOW OPEN!

Course Dates
From 28 to 30 Oct. 2019
Apply by 16 Sep. 2019

CHF 1'800

Contact us
Sophie Hahn, Project Officer
+41 (0)22 908 45 62 | globalhealthdiplomacy@graduateinstitute.ch

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The 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem set the tone for the drug policy reform debate, but moving forward, many fear that this tone will be lost. In this 3-day course we will explore questions such as: What should the new direction post-2019 be for the future UN governance of international drug policy? How can different actors contribute to a global process in order to ensure that drug policies improve rather than harm the health and welfare of people? What should the role of civil society and user networks be in the international debate on drug policies?

who is this programme for?


Policy-makers involved in public health, drug policy, and human rights negotiations including:

  • Government representatives from presidential offices, ministries of health, foreign affairs, justice, interior and drug control agencies

  • Representatives from international and regional institutions

  • Health attachés and diplomats with a portfolio linked to health or drug policy

  • Professionals in academia

  • Representatives from non-governmental organisations

programme objectives


  • Gain insight into the key concepts and current issues related to the international drug control regime and its intersection with global public health

  • Analyse the role of the Geneva-based agencies and understand how the human rights and global mechanisms balance drug control policies

  • Inform and influence the design and the implementation of drugs policies nationally and internationally

  • Identify the different stakeholders of the current debate at the regional and international levels be it governments, civil society or others

  • Consider national measures that protect public health in conformity with the international drug regime

programme overview


This three-day course is designed to increase the understanding of participants on the main intersections between drug policy, public health and human rights in global policy processes. It includes the following topics:

  • International Drug Control Regime and perspectives for reform

  • Drug control, public health and human rights

  • Drug policy stakeholders and perspectives

The course is highly participatory, drawing on the national and international experiences of participants through a multi-disciplinary learning process. It includes lectures by internationally-renowned experts and negotiators, case studies, and working groups. A negotiation simulation exercise will complement the learning experience.

duration & location


The Executive Course on Drug Policy, Diplomacy and Global Public is a 3-day full time course held at the Graduate Institute’s Villa Barton Campus.  Sessions normally run from 09:00 to 18:00. Participants will take part in an evening negotiation simulation exercise.

The course will take place at the Graduate Institute, Villa Barton, Rue de Lausanne 132, Geneva.



Tuition for attending the full programme is CHF 1,800. The tuition fee includes teaching costs, course material and the use of Graduate Institute facilities. It does not include travel and accommodation expenses nor travel, health or personal insurances. Participants are advised to contract their own insurance as the Global Health Centre and the Graduate Institute decline all responsibilities concerning medical expenses incurred during the stay in Switzerland.



Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of attendance from the Graduate Institute. Participants have the possibility to complement the course with a research paper and earn 3 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). For CAS participants, this course may also be recognised as one of the elective courses for Module 2 of the Graduate Institute's Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Global Health Diplomacy.



Up to 20 participants are admitted to the course.



Participants are responsible for their own accommodation during the course. Further information is sent to participants upon acceptance to the course.

speakers for the 2018 edition included


  • Barbara Broers - Professor, Head of the Dependencies Unit, Primary Care Division, Geneva University Hospitals

  • Thomas Cueni - Director General, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations

  • Antoine Flahault - Director of the Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva

  • Ann Fordham - Executive Director, International Drug Policy Consortium

  • Gilles Forte - Coordinator, Office of the Assistant Director General, Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals, World Health Organization

  • Jennifer Hasselgard-Rowe - Executive Coordinator, Geneva Platform on Human Rights, Health and Psychoactive Substances

  • Ambassador Juan Raúl Heredia Acosta - Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva

  • Zaved Mahmood, Advisor - Drug Policy and Human Rights, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

  • Suerie Moon - Director of Research, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

  • Benjamin Müller - Deputy Head, Human Rights Section, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva

  • Vinh-Kim Nguyen - Professor, Anthropology and Sociology, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

  • Roy Robertson - Professor, Addiction Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Centre for Population Health Sciences; Partner, Muirhouse Medical Group

  • Christian Schneider - Associate Researcher, International Drug Policy Unit, London School of Economics and Political Science

  • Els Torreele - Executive Director, Access Campaign, Médecins Sans Frontières

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