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International Mediation and Private Diplomacy


Admission requirements

Only students of the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy programme can take this course.


International peace mediation is dominated by mediation support organizations, such as the Mediation Support Unit at the UN or the Mediation Support Team at the EU, and private diplomacy organizations, such as HD Centre, CMI, the Carter Center and ACCORD. What is it that these organizations actually do? How are they organized and how do they function? Where do the finances come from? What are the successes and the problems? How is oversight organized? What is the role of normal diplomacy?

This elective takes a deep dive in the world of international peace mediation: a field which has seen rapid expansion and professionalization, but also plenty of growing pains.

The course will do two things:
1. How to do mediation support and design mediation processes; and
2. It will provide students with in-depth knowledge of these different organizations and their roles.

Together these two prepare students for a career in the field of mediation support and private diplomacy, which is very popular amongst young professionals.

Course objectives

After the course students:
1. Have a sound understanding of the field of international peace mediation;
2. Know different organizations in the field and their respective roles;
3. Know how to design a mediation process; and
4. Understand what it means to work in this field.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

The course will be taught in the month of September, intensively. A session will have the following components:

  1. The first hour will be for discussing negotiation and mediation tools as well as literature;
  2. Each session has an (online) guest speaker who works in mediation support or private diplomacy. The guest speakers will introduce their organizations and the type of work they do and have done followed by extensive Q&A. This part of the session will be two hours.

Currently the following speakers are invited, but not yet confirmed):

  • Tomas Henning (former head of the EU Mediation Support Team, former OSCE, currently at the EEAS responsible for EU monitoring missions);

  • Katia Papagianni (Director Mediation Support Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue);

  • Chetan Kumar (Head of the regional team at the UNDP Bangkok hub on peacebuilding and conflict resolution);

  • Betty Bigombe (former mediator between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the government of Uganda, currently Uganda’s special envoy to the South-Sudanese peace process as well as ambassador for Uganda in Malaysia).

  1. The remainder of the session will be a workshop on process design, where students need to design in groups mediation responses to current cases. Students are expected to work on their design between sessions and are expected to present their end report in the last session. Some of the guest speakers will be invited as panelists to react to the presentation.

Study load: 140 hours

Attendance Policy
Attendance is mandatory, subject to course structure (see syllabus for details).

Assessment method

  1. Active constructive participation will lead to a higher grade (25%).
  2. Group presentation of their mediation design report in the last session (20%).
  3. Full report on per group on their mediation design (35%).
  4. A 1000 word reflection essay about lessons learned and how to apply these lessons (20%).

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

  • Should a student fail the overall course, s/he can complete the course in the next academic year. In cases of exceptional circumstances, a student may apply to the board of examiners for a resit to complete the course in the same academic year.

Reading list

Students are expected to do extensive research on their conflict case for which they are designing their mediation intervention. Further reading will be on private diplomacy, mediation support and specific tools.


The programme will register the students in Usis based on the group division. Use Brightspace for course information.


Mr. Wilbur Perlot, Founder of Peace Academy


  • This course is an elective course designed for second year MIRD students.

  • This elective is conditional on at least 5 students registering for this course.

This course is intensive, taking place in the month of September.