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European University Institute - Florence School of Transnational Governance

Strengthening negotiations skills for humanitarian leaders across continents

Since September 2023, the Florence School of Transnational Governance, in collaboration with UNOPS Global Executive Leadership Initiative (GELI) and the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN), has successfully conducted four residential executive courses across three continents.

31 January 2024 | Event - Partnership


The blended programme "Leaders’ Engagement As Responsible Negotiators (LEARN)” is a collaborative endeavour between the Florence STG, CCHN, and GELI. The initiative launched on 1 October 2023 with a session in Panama City catering to senior leaders from international organisations, humanitarian agencies, and NGOs. Afterwards, intensive residential courses were held in Amman, Nairobi, and Dakar, each complemented by five online sessions.

The programme aims at providing senior humanitarian leaders with a responsible negotiation approach that supports them in terms of strategy, operations, and skills to facilitate complex processes within and outside their organisation.

Like other GELI learning programmes, LEARN is delivered through the lens of collaborative leadership, capitalising on the diverse expertise, skills, and leverage points within the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and the UN Country Team (UNCT), groups that coordinate efforts and resources to address humanitarian needs and achieve common goals in each country.

The collaboration

In less than four months, the project has encompassed 16 days of residential training followed by 20 online sessions, benefiting over 70 humanitarian leaders across four regions: Central & Latin America, Eastern & Western Africa, and the Middle East. The collaboration between GELI, CCHN, and the faculty members of the EUI, led by Professor Alain Lempereur and Julie Habran, along with the support from the STG Executive Education team, proved incredibly successful.

During the last course in Dakar, Panos Moumtzis, Executive Director of GELI, reflected on the accomplishments of the initiative: “GELI's regional training on Negotiations for Senior Leaders in Dakar, concluded successfully, signifying the completion of a rewarding and collaborative experience. The last few days showcased the strong dedication and active participation of our respected leader participants, along with the esteemed faculty from the European University Institute.”

The programme

Each residential segment of the programme, coupled with its corresponding online sessions, focused on three fundamental pillars of negotiation: engaging with stakeholders, facilitating processes, and problem-solving. Participants gained valuable insights into negotiation strategy, tactical planning, and navigating unforeseen challenges, resulting in a comprehensive grasp of responsible negotiation practices.

Feedback from attendees like Kapil Sharma, Deputy Head of Mission for Médecins Sans Frontières, who joined the training in Nairobi, Kenya, in November underscores the course's practicality and effectiveness. According to Kapil This negotiation training helped me in reflection, access to new tools and best practices from facilitators and peers. I am now applying and benefiting from this learning experience in my day to day dealings with stakeholders and partners. The training is very practical. It is a mix of real life scenarios, discussions, and exercises relevant in everyday practices of humanitarian professionals”.

The training session in Nairobi saw the participation of other 30 leaders from prominent organisations, such as the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), who expressed their satisfaction with the course.

What’s next

Looking ahead, the next edition of the LEARN Programme will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, between 12-16 February, followed by five additional online sessions. This marks another important advance of the significant collaboration between the Florence STG, GELI, and CCHN, further solidifying the Institute's expertise in mediation and negotiation across diverse contexts.


For organisations interested in partnering with us to design tailor-made training, please contact us and share your organisation’s training needs.

For individuals seeking further professional development opportunities, the 2024 Executive Education catalogue offers insights into our open-call courses.

Last update: 31 January 2024

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