17-19 January 2024
Application start 16 October 2023
Application end 27 November 2023


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Leading in the Human Rights Council

54nd session of the Human Rights Council. 54nd session of the Human Rights Council.

An Executive Course for Geneva-Based Diplomats on UN Human Rights Mechanisms

This executive course, tailored for Geneva-based diplomats and co-organized with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, addresses the negotiation practices at the multilateral level, by taking the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) as an example of formal and informal negotiation and decision-making processes by an international intergovernmental body.

Negotiation processes and voting of resolutions and decisions are among the most sophisticated and developed processes in today’s UN system. These processes involve not only states, who are the main players and the only ones entitled to vote but also UN agencies – like the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which acts as the HRC substantive and logistical secretariat –, independent experts such as Special Rapporteurs or members of fact-finding missions or commissions of inquiry, as well as civil society actors.


Leveraging our extensive network of international experts and practitioners, this executive training delivers to Geneva-based diplomats profound and pragmatic insights into multilateralism and the functioning of UN human rights mechanisms, with a particular focus on the HRC. It is tailored to suit the needs of the audience, with content continuously adapted throughout the course to ensure it aligns with participants' expectations. Other prominent HRC-mandated mechanisms like the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the UN Special Procedures - as well as treaty-based mechanisms such as the UN human rights treaty bodies - take centre stage, encompassing detailed explanations, hands-on practical exercises, thought-provoking anecdotes, and engaging storytelling.

Diplomats will gain proficiency in essential skills such as drafting resolutions, negotiation techniques, and managing interactions with regional and political groups active in the HRC negotiating area. The training also includes sessions on the key role of national stakeholders in implementing and/or monitoring international HR recommendations, including national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up (NMIRFs), national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and civil society organizations (CSOs). The training will facilitate meaningful connections among participants and with the organizers, fostering opportunities for ongoing collaboration on matters of mutual significance.


At the end of the course, participants will:

  • Be able to facilitate their active participation in the work of intergovernmental bodies at the UN, in particular, the HRC
  • Have gained proficiency in essential skills such as drafting resolutions, negotiation techniques, and managing interactions with regional and political groups active in the HRC negotiating area
  • Understand interactions and interdependency of all political and expert human rights bodies from the UN system
  • Facilitate meaningful connections among, fostering opportunities for ongoing collaboration on matters of mutual significance.


The course will be conducted in a participatory mode with a combination of illustrated lectures (using power points and short videos) and exercises aimed at understanding how best to lead in the Human Rights Council. It will be held over the course of 3 full days, and preparation ahead of the course will include short readings.


This executive training course is designed for newly Geneva-based diplomats who have been working in their respective permanent missions for less than 1.5 years. Only one diplomat per mission will be admitted to the course and preference will be given to diplomats from non-OECD countries.

Access to a Dedicated Community Platform

All participants in our training course have access – ahead, during and following their course – to a dedicated community platform (on Mighty Network). This community brings together all the participants to our courses who have unlimited access to the training materials and resources shared during their course and can exchange with all the alumni of the Geneva Human Rights Platform Training Hub.


The training course will be led by Kamelia Kemileva, the Co-Director of the Global Cities Hub, that promotes city diplomacy at the UN and a Senior Consultant to AxLR Ltd, a Geneva-based private company. Her policy research and publications focus on the functioning of the UN system, multilateral diplomacy and selected topics in international law.


Participants who successfully complete the training course receive a certificate of participation from the Geneva Academy.


This training is supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and is provided free of charge for newly Geneva-based diplomats.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted via this online application form.

If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us: traininghub[at]

Professor and Lecturer

Picture of Kamelia Kemileva

Kamelia Kemileva

Co-Director, Global Cities Hub

Kamelia Kemileva is the Co-Director of the Global Cities Hub and a leading human rights expert.


Villa Moynier, 120B Rue de Lausanne, Geneva.


Access by Public Transport

Tram 15, tram stop Butini

Bus 1 or 25, bus stop Perle du Lac

Access for Persons with Disabilities

Villa Moynier is accessible to persons with disabilities. If you have a disability or any additional needs and require assistance in order to participate fully, please email events[at]


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