In the last week of January Clingendael Academy organised the fourth edition of the Global Health Diplomacy course. Launched in 2020 in response to the changing dynamics and accelerated challenges in Global Health Diplomacy as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the course seeks to empower diplo mats and global health experts with a diplomatic toolkit to expand global equal access to vaccines and public health.
This time around, the online training programme was offered to diplomats and global health experts from nine countries on the African continent – spanning from Cabo Verde in the west to Tanzania in the east. Working for their national embassies, ministries of foreign affairs, health, or for international organisations such as ECOWAS and the West African Health Organisation, each individual brought in their own relevant expertise and experiences with global health issues. The interactive set-up of the course was a great way for the participants and the trainers to engage with each other.
The programme saw them exploring the work of a diplomat in the context of global health and negotiating access to vaccines during a simulation. Furthermore, participants had the chance to discuss global health issues with experts from the GAVI institute, and a representative from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, focusing on vaccine equity and the consequences of the pandemic for young populations in African countries respectively. Views on the spread of misinformation and the ‘infodemic’, resulting for example in vaccine-scepticism all over the world, were exchanged with Dr Etienne Augé. Overall, the course was evaluated by the participants as highly relevant for their future careers.
It was great to have such knowledgeable and engaged participants in the course, and we wish them all the best in their future endeavours.