Global Health and Drug Policy

Negotiating the health dimension of drug policies

Course Dates
To be confirmed

Live virtual classroom

CHF 1'200

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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.

Course Programme 2019

duration & location


The Executive Course on Global Health and Drug Policy is a 3-day full time course held online. Sessions normally run from 09:00 to 18:00.



Tuition for attending the full programme is CHF 1,200. The tuition fee includes teaching costs and course material.

For detailed information, please refer to our Terms and Conditions.



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 30 participants are admitted to the course.

speakers for the 2019 edition included

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

  • Ruth Dreifuss - Former President of Switzerland and Minister of Home Affairs, Chair, Global Commission on Drug Policy

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

  • Ambassador Socorro Flores Liera - Ambassador; Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in 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

  • Martin Jelsma - Drugs and Democracy Programme Director, Transnational Institute

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

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

  • Vinh-Kim Nguyen - Co-Director, Global Health Centre; 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 - Strategic Crime Analyst, Zurich Cantonal Police

  • Lucy Stackpool-Moor - Director, Programme and Advocacy, International AIDS Society

Upcoming events


To ensure a high level of safety while maintaining the highest academic standards, the format of our programmes might be adjusted. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our programme officer for more information.



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