Advanced Level: How does Speaking Out Articulate with MSF’s Working Humanitarian principles?

This is an advanced course on the speaking out case studies. It goes beyond the introductory course, asking you to reflect on the dilemmas and contribute your thoughts in facilitated sessions. The advanced course focuses on enhancing reflection and analysis skills that can be transferred to contemporary contexts. 

For advanced work on the speaking out case studies, you will need to apply to enroll in one of the scheduled courses. These courses are offered by MSF’s Speaking Out Case Studies team and in coordination with operational centers and several universities from around the globe. 

Following the pedagogy of the introductory level modules, advanced modules also pair thematics with case studies, while adding the think / pair / share pedagogy for facilitated sessions.  

The module uses the Speaking Out Case Study: MSF and the War in Former Yugoslavia 1991-2003

The working principles thematic for the advanced course includes concepts such as: 

  • Instrumentalisation, diversion, and politicisation of humanitarian aid
  • Obtaining, grounding, and adapting speaking out strategies based on credible and authentic data 
  • Reflection on the (ir)relevance of humanitarian principles going forward
  • Examination of speaking out through the lens of calling for national inquiries by state actors (optional choice made by course administrator)

What you need to know before starting the course:

6 sections:

  1. Independent work: Complete all sections of the online introductory level course 
  2. Facilitated session: Reflections on humanitarian principles & concepts and the - case study on Srebrenica
  3. Independent work: Complete all sections of the online advanced module - case study on Gorazde 
  4. Facilitated session: Reflections on Dilemmas and Instrumentalisation in Gorazde 
  5. Independent work: Readings and Video - The (ir)relevance of humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law today
  6. Facilitated session: Humanitarian principles going forward


14 to 18 hours


  • The topics are complex so plan to work at your own pace over several sessions instead of all at once
  • Try to follow the structure sequentially as topics and the case study timeline build upon each other as you move through the module
  • Be prepared and complete each assignment ahead of each facilitated session to obtain your credentials
  • The course offers multimedia and interactive approaches or you can download the module for offline work, however, this will suppress the interactivity
  • Knowledge checks and reflection questions must be completed to proceed. They are built into the module or you can download them to work offline. They are part of the credentialing
  • You must attend the three facilitated sessions on Zoom to earn your credentials
  • Facilitated session methodology: Think/Pair/Share
  1. Think – read in-class assignments and write reflections 
  2. Pair - share reflections in small groups
  3. Share – share small group reflections in large group
  • A complete advanced bibliography is provided at the end of the course
  • Opportunity to join the SOCS discussion forum on TEMBO for extended learning experience 


The facilitator will issue certificates / badges upon completion of all 6 modules (3 self-paced sections and 3 facilitated sessions) in the advanced course.

By the end of the advanced course, you should gain the following competencies:

Knowledge Competencies:

  1. Examine the concept of Speaking Out to the imperative to speak out based on humanitarian principles.
  2. Examine Speaking out in MSF and the normative international framework for humanitarian action including international law.
  3. Analyze how far humanitarian principles and ethics are compromised while formulating critical approaches to speaking out.
  4. Examine the (ir)relevance of humanitarian principles and the normative international framework for today’s analysis and operations.

Skills Competencies:

  1. Ability to base speaking out on critical reflection, as discursive and constructive engagement with humanitarian dilemmas.
  2. Apply critical thinking & leadership skills to real-life contemporary dilemmas.
  3. Ensure speaking out is grounded in experience and based on evidence (with the acknowledgement that evidence is not positive or incontrovertible), where the methodology is explicit and set in specific political and historical context.
  4. Compare and apply the concepts and dilemmas learned in this module to contemporary crises and contexts.
  5. Apply critical thinking skills to the working humanitarian principles of accountability and speaking out with regards to state power (if course administrator chooses optional facilitated session 4).
  • The Initial Module: “Introduction to MSF, SOCS, and Speaking Out” must be completed before proceeding to all other courses. It is a prerequisite for all SOCS learning modules.
  • All students - internal and external - must register on TEMBO, the MSF learning platform, in order to access courses. Click on the button below to access the platform.
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