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With at least 100 million people forced to flee their homes during the last ten years, 2020 marked the end of a decade witnessing a changed reality when it comes to forced displacement. Nowadays not only are individuals uprooted in many regions worldwide, but the length of their displacement is no longer a short-term and temporary phenomenon.

At the end of 2019 an unprecedented 79.5 million people were displaced. Among these were 26 million refugees, 45.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), and 4.2 asylum-seekers. In addition, the number of international migrants globally amounted to 272 million, representing the 3.5% of the world’s population, and at least 10 million individuals were still considered stateless, not receiving protection from any State.

Mixed movements make it increasingly difficult to identify vulnerable people, including migrants and refugees, who require referral to apposite services and assistance.

As the number of persons in need of protection is incrementing and new emergencies are arising, an appropriate and inclusive response is fundamental. This requires adequate national, regional and international legal frameworks and effective protection mechanisms based on the involvement of key stakeholders at all levels, including refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, stateless persons, migrants and host communities (hereinafter, “persons of concern”). The International Institute of Humanitarian Law (hereunder, “the Institute”), through its Department of International Refugee Law and Migration Law (hereinafter, “the Department”), aims at enhancing the knowledge and skills of government and civil society officials engaged in work with people in need of protection. Through its training, capacity-building, and peer to peer sharing of experiences, the Department advocates for the safeguarding of human rights in a way that complements and adds to the efforts of donors in the field of protection of refugees, IDPs, stateless people and migrants.

The Institute is an independent, non-profit, humanitarian organization founded in 1970. Following years of quality courses, the Institute has earned an international reputation in the field of training and capacity-building on International Humanitarian Law, Refugee Law, Human Rights, and related fields of law. The dissemination of materials and research relevant to the abovementioned areas of law and the exchange of expertise and best practices among lecturers and participants of the workshops also constitute core activities falling within the Institute’s scope.

The Institute’s well-known notoriety of independence, academic rigour, and creative learning methodologies attract a wide range of participants from different professional backgrounds and nationalities. Governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) continue to entrust the Institute with building the capacity of their officials and staff through participation in quality expertise.

Such diversity generates in-depth discussions and constructive exchanges of points of view. These factors, alongside the interactive teaching methodologies, as well as approachability of the team of lecturers and facilitators, create a unique multinational and multicultural environment, which has come to be known as “the Spirit of Sanremo”.

Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, including the time needed to readapt and reconceive the capacity-building activities, the Department’s online training programme managed to reach noteworthy figures and numbers in 2020.

A total of 813 applicants registered to the online courses. Among these, 403 participants were carefully selected for attending the workshops on International Refugee Law, Internal Displacement, International Migration

Law and the Global Compact on Refugees. A total of 96 countries were represented in the online courses. Such a diverse participation, successfully achieved through the generous contribution of the Department’s donors, added value to each training and encouraged fruitful exchanges of experiences and best practices among the audience and between attendees and speakers.

Since its first Refugee Law Course in 1982, the Department has trained over

6,800 government officials and members of the civil society from more than 180 countries worldwide.

These figures, together with the quality of the courses, have positioned the Institute as a reliable, neutral, and independent institution supported by several donors, including different departments or ministries within governments, United Nations (UN) agencies, and universities.

From April to December 2020, the

Department designed and implemented five Online Courses on International Refugee Law, three Online Courses on Internal Displacement, two Online Courses on International Migration Law and one Online Course for Governmental Training Institutions and Academia on the Global Compact on Refugees.

Online Courses
People trained

The reach of the Department around the world is best illustrated by this map, which shows the number of participants of the courses per region.

North America
Latin America & Caribbean
31 0
Middle East

Online Courses of International Refugee Law

Online Course for Governmental Training Institutions and Academia – GCR

Online Courses on International Migration Law

Online Courses on Internal Displacement

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic presented challenges to the traditional work of the Institute. In particular, the travel restrictions imposed by national authorities worldwide did not allow the Institute to deliver its face-to-face workshops, traditionally held at its headquarters in Sanremo, Italy, or in loco, based on the specific requests of governments.

In order to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic, the Department promptly adapted its training programme, redesigning its courses and transferring their interactive teaching methodology into an innovative online format.

The Department’s choice to offer virtual learning opportunities was not new, as it met a previously established objective to deliver online workshops on specific topics, in order to be abreast of modern learning tools and meet the capacity-building needs of who was not able to travel to the courses’ venues.

To provide a sound and sustainable new online programme, in line with the learning gaps and necessities of its audiences, the Department conducted a needs assessment activity with former selected participants.

The exercise allowed to gather views, inputs, and suggestions on relevant initiatives to be taken in the absence of face-to-face workshops.

As a result of this consultative process, the recipients valued the Department’s idea to provide online courses and offered advices and suggestions on topics to be covered, as well as challenges to be taken into account, such as bandwidth issues and limited interactivity among participants and between the audience and the facilitators.

By restructuring and reconceiving its programme, the Department was able to transfer to online setup the principles that make its courses unique: geographical and professional diversity of participants and facilitators; awareness raising on forced displacement and related issues; and, most importantly, advocacy-driven approach for enhancing the protection of refugees, IDPs, stateless people, migrants and host communities.


Key Achievements

The proactiveness and flexibility of the Department’s team in re-adapting its training programme in light of Covid-19 led to the following accomplishments.

Online Learning Tools

The Institute purchased and customised an Online Learning Platform to host its online courses. Through its newly developed Platform, the Institute created a user-friendly space, tailored to the learning needs of its audiences, in which participants could easily follow the structure of the workshops, find relevant resource materials, submit their feedback on sessions, pose questions to facilitators and upload their assignments. 

UNHCR’s Learn & Connect Platform

Participants who attended the Department’s capacity-building programme were encouraged to access the UNHCR Platform Learn & Connect, through which they could undertake additional learning activities on protection, increase their knowledge on relevant thematic areas, and expand their learning process beyond Course completion.

The Department made accessible to participants and visitors of the Institute’s website its already existent repository of relevant reference documents. The Online Resource Library was established as an open source and a living space, constantly updated with international legal instruments, position papers, documents, and other background materials organized by topics and language. 

Communication tools

The Department purchased Zoom for Education, to deliver the live sessions of its online courses. This videoconference application allows to conduct live classes with no time limitation and to offer interactive sessions through its incorporated features, such as screen sharing, annotation tools, collaborative white board, breakout rooms, polling, and questions.

New & Updated Course Curricula & Delivery Methodologies

With the decision to move online, the Department embarked, in record time, in a comprehensive exercise of development and revision of its training programme.
Led by its newly established team of instructional designers, this activity encompassed the areas below:


​of general and thematic sessions, based on latest trends, policy papers, and legal developments;


of existing sessions, in light of current events, such as the pandemic;


to be incorporated into the online courses, including interactive exercises, case studies, questionnaires, polling and guided discussions;


of the Department’s staff, who attended other online courses and virtual thematic sessions developed by international organizations or training institutions, for being abreast of content developments, delivery methodologies and online learning tools.

New Structured System for Selection of and Communication with Applicants and Selected Participants

While reconceiving its programme, the Department generated a new system for compiling applications to its courses, and categorizing them based on specific indicators, such as: country of work, gender and profile of participants (e.g. government officials, representatives of large international organizations and NGOs, members of the civil society, academics, lawyers, and journalists). This systematic gathering of information allowed and will allow the Department to:

Ensure each online workshop has a GLOBAL OUTREACH;


Create DIFFERENT and BALANCED COHORTS OF PARTICIPANTS for the various online courses, based on the profiles and gender of attendees, and their geographical representation, experiences, and time zones;

EXPAND THE LEARNING CYCLE by, for example, communicating with participants after the workshops, establishing potential partnerships and measuring the impact of the training activities.

Multifunctional Platform for Management of Applications, Procurement and Financial Reporting

With the increase of the number of participants, donors and budget, the Institute has been reinforcing its internal control and oversight capacity. One of the major initiatives in 2020 was to partner with Oracle NetSuite and introduce a sound and comprehensive multifunctional platform, which includes systems for financial and procurement management as well as for the management of applications and selection of participants. This system will allow the Institute to enhance the management of the increasing number of applications to the courses and to administer grants allocated by new donors. In 2021, the Institute will undertake an extensive customization process in order to transfer all related procedures to the system and start fully using the multifunctional platform.

Online Courses

From April to December 2020, the Department designed and offered 11 online courses on various thematic issues, in different languages.

These online workshops have become an added value for the Institute’s learning strategy and international outreach and are planned to remain in the years to come as a constitutive part of the Department’s teaching programme. The section below will provide a more detailed overview of the online courses.

The Online Training Programme

The Department’s new online training programme is guided by the following objectives:

Maintain the trust and support of long-lasting donors regarding the Institute’s capacity to offer concrete and effective deliverables, despite the lack of face-to-face workshops;

Prove to the participants who have relied on the Institute for several years, that its courses can still be relevant for their functions as government and civil society officials, and can still meet their traditional learning objectives;

• Uphold the so-called “Spirit of Sanremo”, by reproducing in the online setup an international and multicultural learning environment, made of participants and expert speakers from different geographical and professional backgrounds;

Deliver coherent and comprehensive courses, which differ from stand-alone webinars or lecture-based classes, and that are tailored to specific profiles of participants;

Offer a personalized learning experience to participants, allowing them to interact throughout the courses, pose questions and obtain answers on various topics, and receive individual feedback to assignments;

Conceive teaching and learning as an intrinsic aspect of advocacy, which goes beyond simple awareness raising.

The Department’s online courses are structured into different content-related modules, with the objective to provide an in-depth analysis of the subject of the workshops, including cross-cutting issues. Modules are composed by live sessions and self-paced sessions.

Live sessions are pre-scheduled and usually last between 90 and 120 minutes. These are delivered via Zoom for Education.

Self-paced sessions are completed at participants’ own pace and must be undertaken before the
beginning of each following session. These usually consist in pre-recorded videos and/or selected reference materials, uploaded on the Online Learning Platform.

The Online Courses are offered through a mix of theory and practice, aimed at facilitating the learning process and implementing the gained knowledge throughout the workshop. 

  • Participants have access to video conferences, discussion forums, and audio-visual materials, and are exposed to case studies, polling and assignments, to which they receive tailored and individual feedback. 
  • The audience has the opportunity to exchange practices and experiences with international experts delivering the thematic sessions of the workshop, and peer colleagues from different professional and geographical backgrounds. 

The online courses are developed primarily to benefit senior and mid-level government officials involved in the formulation and application of legislation and policies affecting people in need of protection. Members of the civil society and academia, lawyers and journalists, who could advocate for the rights of refugees, IDPs, stateless persons, migrants and host communities are also accepted as participants.


Based on the feedback of participants and facilitators, and the experience of the Department’s team in setting up and implementing the online learning tools and courses, the following lessons were learnt in 2020. These aim at being a “living product”, to take into account for the development and delivery of future courses, and to be updated based on newly identified challenges and suggestions for improvement. 

  • Support of donors: the true partnership built with donors rewards in moments like these, when flexibility to readapt projects is needed to fulfill pre-set objectives. Donors have been contacting the Department for providing additional support and reallocating budget as needed. 
  • The “Spirit of Sanremo: to maintain the international nature of the courses delivered by the Department, an attentive and careful selection of participants and facilitators must be conducted. This guarantees geographical and professional diversity of the class and allows fruitful exchanges between the audience and the speakers. 
  • Learning environment: to preserve a neutral learning space, online courses are conducted according to the Chatham House Rules. By knowing that sessions are not recorded and interventions cannot be quoted, participants perceive the classes as neutral forums, supportive of open dialogues and in depth discussions.
  • Interaction with participants: despite the increased amount of work that this entails, it is important to offer participants a personalized learning experience. Individual feedback, tutoring, and answers to posed questions are fundamental elements for allowing the courses to go beyond the mere teaching, and include advocacy and awareness raising components.
  • Threshold of participation: for sessions to be interactive, and for ensuring the delivery of a quality product, a limited number of participants can attend each online training. Larger attendance numbers, added to the connectivity issues faced by some countries, would create a disruptive learning environment and wouldn’t enable participants to have time to exchange experiences and views. 
  • Instructional design: to overcome the limited interactivity of the online courses compared to face-to-face workshops, sessions must be carefully designed to ensure a balance between theory and practice and an active engagement of participants. Lectures must be dynamic and integrated with case studies, time for question and answers, and individual assignments of participants. 
  • Connectivity and technical issues: some participants work in countries with limited bandwidths and consequent connectivity issues. Others are not so practical with online learning tools and digital communication. It is important to address the needs of these profiles by, for example, allowing them to decide how to interact with the facilitators (e.g. via the Zoom chat or unmuting themselves), or how to submit the assignments (e.g. via the Online Learning Platform or email), and by making sure they have access to all the needed material for each session (e.g. presentations of the facilitators, audio-visual support, and background documents).
  • Simultaneity of online courses: notwithstanding the need of precise coordination and the increased work, having two online courses on the same topic but different language running in parallel proves to be effective. This allows to: i) meet the high demand of participation for the Department’s courses; ii) divide participants into cohorts and meet their time zones; iii) maximize the availability of facilitators, who often conduct the same sessions at different hours of the day.

2020 Activities

Regular Programme

In 2020 the Department organized, through the Online Learning Platform, 11 online courses on:

International Refugee Law; Internal Displacement; International Migration Law; and the Global Compact on Refugees. 

In addition to this, tailored live sessions were implemented for military officers from Latin America, and international post-graduate students. 

The courses benefitted senior and mid-level government officials, members of the civil society, including representatives of local and international non-governmental organizations, students, members of the academia and staff of international organizations and UN agencies.

All the workshops organized by the Department shared the following overarching objectives:


participants’ ability to apply the relevant international norms underpinning the protection of refugees, IDPs, stateless persons, migrants and host communities


the sharing of experiences among participants with regard to policy, legislation, implementation and monitoring mechanisms


the respect for, domestication and implementation of the  relevant corresponding human rights frameworks and instruments


for governments to establish or  improve existing legislation and policies on the protection of refugees, IDPs, stateless persons, migrants and host communities

20th Online Summer Course on International Humanitarian Law

The Department was proud to join the team of the Institute implementing the traditional Summer Course on International Humanitarian Law. 25 participants from 18 countries attended the workshop, which lasted from 6 to 17 July 2020.

The specific contribution of the Department regarded the development and delivery of two tailored sessions on “Refugees and Other Persons in Need of Protection” and “International Protection of Refugees and Durable Solutions”.

Cooperation with Online Courses Military Department

As an important step towards the promotion of International Refugee Law, the Department contributed to the courses organized by the Military branch within the Institute. The Department developed specific sessions for two online courses, both offered in Spanish:

Curso de Extensión en Derecho Internacional Humanitario

for this advanced Online Course on International Humanitarian Law, the Department designed and delivered a session on “International Protection in the context of Forced Displacement”. The Course audience comprised 38 military officers from 12 countries.

Curso de Formación de Instructores en D.I.H.
y Capacitación en Mediación para la Paz

the Department developed and delivered a session on “Refugee Law”, which benefitted 41 military academies tutors and professors representing 11 countries.

Online Summer School on Refugee Rights and Migration

The Refugee Law and Migration Center of the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus” in Skopje, North Macedonia, invited the Department to be member of the Board of Organizers of the Summer School on Refugee Rights and Migration, which was delivered online on 24 – 28 August 2020. The Department supported with the coordination and design of the Course programme and facilitated specific sessions on “Refugees and Other Persons in Need of Protection” and “Seeking Solutions”. Both classes were tailored to the audience, which included 67 participants from 21 countries.

With the objective of ensuring high quality of learning and satisfaction for its audience, the Department’s courses are constantly subject to rigorous review for content and relevance. Sessions and themes are regularly changed and updated based on specific needs, challenges, new policy standards, and most recent events. Feedback and suggestions provided by participants and facilitators also contribute to the consistent development of the Department’s offerings.

The quality of the courses is likewise ensured by a selection of speakers with diverse backgrounds and fields of experience and expertise. In 2020 the workshops were delivered by 54 facilitators (gender ratio: 25 male /29 female) from more than 30 countries worldwide, and with notorious expertise on the covered topics.

Among them were: representatives of different UN agencies (such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration – IOM, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – OHCHR); members of international organizations (such as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – IFRC); officials of international NGOs and inter-agencies (such as the Norwegian Refugee Council – NRC, and the Joint IDP Profiling Service – JIPS); members of the academia, such as professors of Law; representatives of Governments and military officers.

One of the key features of the Department’s courses is its participatory and creative teaching methodology, which enables the audience to simultaneously develop knowledge and skills, in a highly interactive way .

Participants are engaged in simulations, case studies, group discussions and other activities led by the facilitators and have the opportunity to interact with practitioners and experts in the field of international protection very training strikes a balance between theory and practice, allowing the audience to exchange experiences and ideas and use their existing skills to deal with complex protection-related issues in a pragmatic manner.
The teaching methodology and the facilitators are frequently cited as highlights of the courses in the evaluations filled by participants. The impact of each workshop is assessed using the Kirkpatrick scale:

• Level 1 – Reaction

• Level 2 – Knowledge Learning

For Level 1, participants are invited to fill post-sessions and post-course evaluation forms, covering different aspects of the training, to measure their levels of satisfaction and active engagement.

While post-session forms include a rating of the virtual lesson, as well as spaces for comments and suggestions for improvement, the post-course evaluations (final evaluations) survey the training as a whole, including content, methodology, length, facilitation, logistics, and expected impact.

For assessing Level 2, which measures the progress of the class in terms of knowledge, participants are invited to undertake, on the Online Learning Platform, an initial assessment comprising of ten questions on the topics covered during the Course. On the last session of the workshop, the same questions are asked to the participants through an interactive polling, and a comparison is drawn between the initial and final results. At the end of the Online Course, a comprehensive answer key to the questionnaire is provided on the Online Learning Platform.

Average Course Rating by Participants (0-10)


Number of Donors


Implementation rate of Grants

0 %
0 %

of participants would recommend the online courses to their colleagues

0 %

of participants expressed high satisfaction with the online features of the courses

0 %

of participants expressed high satisfaction with the online live sessions

Detailed Description of Courses

Courses on International Refugee Law

The general courses on International Refugee Law have been held since 1982. The workshops, organized by the Institute in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration and the US State Department (Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration), are delivered in English, French, Arabic and Spanish. Different language options enable a wider number of participants from different regions to attend the workshops. The International Refugee Law courses have been primarily developed to train senior and mid-level government officials involved in the formulation and implementation of legislation and policy affecting forcibly displaced persons. Over the years, the workshops have expanded their reach to different profiles, welcoming staff of NGOs and international organizations, as well as scholars, professors and researchers. Recently, the attendance of members of the judiciary and lawyers, including those doing pro bono work, has also sharply raised. This variety of professional and geographical backgrounds provides participants with the opportunity to exchange best practices and experiences. The courses on International Refugee Law present the key aspects of the international protection of refugees. The topics covered range from the analysis of International Refugee Law and its complementarity with other bodies of law, to the different displacement phases. The causes that force people to flee, the protection risks encountered through the displacement cycle, and the search and implementation of durable and sustainable solutions are also examined. Additional refugee-related issues are analysed through a cross-cutting approach, and in light with the developments generated by the Global Compact on Refugees.

The courses on International Refugee Law aim at:


Promoting law, principles and policies relating to the protection of forcibly displaced persons.


Developing a common understanding
on the implementation and promotion of these legislations and policies at the national level by a variety of stakeholders.


Enhancing the skills of participants
in developing and applying policies and standards in conformity with principles of international law.


Developing a positive attitude
among participants towards the protection of persons of concern.

The IIHL really did an excellent work in this course. I really appreciate the diversity of the participants coming from different fields and expertise, who wanted to increase or to have a deeper understanding on internal displacement. (…)
It was also great that the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs have joined, sharing her valuable inputs on the topics.

UN Official

Courses in 2020:

Courses on Internal Displacement

The Courses on Internal Displacement are organized by the Institute in collaboration with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the US State Department (Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration). The Courses are delivered in English, French, and Spanish. The workshops meet the increasing demand for up-to-date information on internal displacement, on the applicable law, policies, and standards, and on the coordination mechanisms for prompt and efficient protection responses. The courses have traditionally targeted government officials responsible for and dealing with IDPs-related issues. In recent years, the workshops have also received staff from international agencies, NGOs, and grass-roots organizations.  The diversity among participants’ profiles allows the class to further acknowledge the importance of addressing internal displacement within a holistic and multi-stakeholder approach. The courses cover the key components of the protection of IDPs throughout their displacement cycle.  International norms underpinning the protection of IDPs, including the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the Kampala Convention, are analysed in the perspective of better understanding the causes and consequences of internal displacement, its current global trends, the protection risks faced by IDPs, and the search and implementation of durable and sustainable solutions for IDPs.   Cross-cutting issues, such as housing, land and property, data collection, and the international community coordination mechanisms, are also addressed. 

The courses on Internal Displacement aim at:


Enhancing participants’ understanding
of the international norms underpinning the protection of IDPs


Promoting the use and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.


Building up capacities of governments
to establish or improve existing legislation and policies on the protection of IDPs.


Encouraging the sharing of experiences and best practices among participants regarding the protection of IDPs and the search for solutions.

The knowledge I acquired was realistic and I really resonated with all topics that were taught.The examples given were cross cutting in many situations that I face daily, therefore, I will be able to apply the necessary guidance given during the RL course.
Government Official

Courses in 2020:

Courses on International Migration Law

The Courses on International Migration Law are organized with the support of the International Organization for Migration, the Organisation Internationale de La Francophonie, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration. The workshops are delivered in English, French, and Spanish and are designed for government officials, representatives of NGOs and international organizations, and the academia. Due to the actuality of the topic, these courses have rapidly become among the most sought for of those offered by the Institute.
One of the key components of the workshops on Migration is their dynamism in terms of updated contents and exercises, which aims at responding to the volatile nature of the phenomenon.

The courses present the most relevant aspects of the migration phenomenon from different angles, including the obligations and concerns of States and the rights and responsibilities of migrants. The courses include an analysis of the international legal instruments that relate to migration, as well as the legal framework concerning other categories of persons in need of protection. The complex nature of today’s migratory phenomenon is analysed, including trends, causes, journeys and associated risks, integration in the country of destination, and return and reintegration in the country of origin. Key components of migration management and governance are highlighted, within the framework generated by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration.

The courses on International Migration Law aim at:


Promoting law, principles and policies relating to the protection of migrants and other persons in need of protection.


Enhancing participants’ skills to develop and apply policies and programmes in conformity with International Law.


Strengthening participants’ ability to contribute to the development of effective migration management systems.


Encouraging the sharing of good practices and experiences among participants and with international experts.

It was a great experience, and, during this pandemic crisis, it was really recomfortingto be able to move on. The Institute did a huge job. The Department succeeded in overcoming the crisis and was able to maintain and adapt his programme. It was wonderful to work with the team and to meet all these participants, from all over the world. Thank you to the Institute and thank you to all the participants. During these troubled times, the Institute stayed on course and improved, if possible, his presence around the world.
Catherine-Amélie Chassin
Maître de Conférences, University of Caen Normandie

Courses in 2020:

Specific Courses in support of
the Global Compact on Refugees

The Institute is committed to the principles of the Global Compact on Refugees, to which it dedicates two types of workshops in its offer: Course for Governmental Training Institutions and Academia and Course on Protecting Refugees in Urban Settings. Both courses are delivered in English and organized with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The first type of Course is dedicated to members of governmental training institutions and academia, experienced in International Refugee Law. The Course aims at enhancing participants’ skills to design and deliver sessions, learning modules, curricula and programmes on Refugee Law, using the latest learning methodologies, in particular online training. The workshop is intended as a concrete deliverable towards the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees, as it focuses on teaching on displacement and other issues linked to the principles, objectives and programme of action set by the Global Compact on Refugees itself. The second type of Course is dedicated to one of the most important topics in today´s refugee situations: protection of refugees in urban settings. The Course brings together municipal government officials, local and grass root NGOs, refugees and other relevant stakeholders at the city level, to analyse and exchange best practices on protection mechanisms, roles and responsibilities of all involved stakeholders, and the interaction with the receiving community. The workshop is in line with the call of the Global Compact of Refugees to have a multi-stakeholder and partnership approach towards forced displacement, including local authorities and municipalities, who are often first respondents to large-scale refugee situations. 

The courses on the Global Compact on Refugees aim at:


Enhancing the capacity of various stakeholders to embed the principles and areas in need of support of the Global Compact on Refugees in training modules and in the development of policies and programmes for cities with displaced populations.


Empowering national governmental training officials and academics to raise awareness on and advocate for the protection of refugees, included those living in urban settings.


Exchanging of best practices and peer-to-peer support to enhance programme development and implementation mechanisms at the local level and to build resilient and inclusive cities for refugees and host communities.


Identifying areas of cooperation between governmental training institutions and universities (Law Faculties) represented at the Course.

I cannot believe that the course would be so unique with lots of resources and personal experiences. I thought it would be some brief or general discussion, but I do not have a word to describe for what I found out.
Government Official

Courses in 2020:

In 2021 the Department will implement 21 online courses in English, French, Arabic and Spanish. For these, live sessions are scheduled according to different time zones in order to reach out to a broad audience, from diverse geographical areas. The 2021 calendar includes different tailored courses for government officials, governmental training institutions, academics, journalists and members of the civil society, on topics such as International Refugee Law, International Migration Law, Internal Displacement, Statelessness and the Global Compact on Refugees.

Three new courses will be developed as part of the 2021 offering: Refugee Law for Journalists; Advocacy for Protection for grass-root NGOs and; Thematic Specialized Course on Refugee Protection in Urban Settings.

The Department, together with other specialized organizations, donors and experts, will undertake different curriculum mapping exercises to update, in a detailed manner, some of the 2020 workshops.

Based on the feedback received by the audience in 2020 and the consultations with key stakeholders and facilitators and thematic experts, the Department will continue to accompany theoretical content with an advocacy and pragmatic approach, as this equips participants with a stronger skillset that can lead to changes in policy or practice.

As one of the priorities for 2021, the Department will establish an Academic Unit, through which it will expand its offerings to governmental training institutions and members of the academia to support them in developing modules and curricula on refugee protection, statelessness, internal displacement and migration.

The Department will continue to promote gender equality, in spite of the fact that the latter has yet to be reflected in many government structures, and to maximize its efforts to reach out to women by including a special mention to female participation in the 2021 call for applications. In addition, as part of the commitment to the Global Compact on Refugees, participants from the Global South will be prioritized for the granting of scholarships.

In terms of implementation procedures, the Institute will develop a Multifunctional Management Platform, in order to reduce the amount of manual data input and transfer and to allow more efficient management of activity and delivery of courses.

The Platform will allow the management of four components:
• Participants;
• Budget and Donors;
• Operation and Country Profile;
• Evaluations and Assessment.

This new tool will constitute a step towards the concretization of the Standard Operating Procedures, which will formalize administrative processes within the Department, such as selection criteria and granting of scholarships, cancellation and reimbursement policies, and others.

The Department will enhance and continue its follow-up efforts with participants after workshops end in order to maximize impact. This will include piloting follow-up surveys for Course attendees, as well as conducting post-training interviews.

Focus will be placed on countries undergoing policy changes and playing key roles in the context of the Global Compact on Refugees.

On the basis of the pledges made by the Institute at the Global Refugee Forum, the Department will continue to engage in global processes and initiatives such as the Academic Interdisciplinary Network on the Global Compact on Refugees.

The Institute remains committed to its face-to-face workshops. The live and personal relationships and interactions established with participants, mostly represented by government officials from the Global South, strongly support the Department’s learning objectives, by striking a balance between learning and advocacy. On these premises, the Institute expects to resume its face-to-face courses as soon as the situation allows.

Course Language Dates
6th Online Course on International Refugee Law English 25 January – 19 February 2021 / 9 am – 11 am
7th Online Course on International Refugee Law French 25 January – 19 February 2021 / 2 pm – 4 pm
3rd Online Course on International Migration Law English 1 March – 26 March 2021 / 2 pm – 4 pm
4th Online Course on International Migration Law French 1 March – 26 March 2021 / / 11 am – 1 pm
3rd Course for Governmental Training Institutions and Academia English 1 March – 26 March 2021 / 9 am – 11 pm
8th Online Course on International Refugee Law for Postgraduate Students English 29 March – 2 April 2021 / 2 pm – 4 pm
9th Online Course on International Refugee Law English 5 April – 30 April 2021 / 3 pm – 5 pm
1st Online Thematic Course: Protecting Refugees in Urban Settings English 3 May – 7 May 2021 / 1 pm – 3 pm
4th Online Course on Internal Displacement English 17 May– 11 June 2021 / 9 am – 11 am
1st Online Course on Advocacy English 24 May – 4 June 2021 / 1 pm – 3 pm
10th Online Course on International Refugee Law Arabic 21 June – 16 July 2021 / 11am – 1 pm
11th Online Course on International Refugee Law Spanish 21 June – 16 July 2021 /5 pm – 7 pm
1st Online Course on Statelessness English 21 June – 16 July 2021 / 9am – 11 am
1st Online Course for Journalists English 26 July– 30 July 2021 / 1 pm – 3pm
5th Online Course on Internal Displacement French 30 August – 24 September 2021 / 11 am – 1 pm
6th Online Course on Internal Displacement English 30 August – 24 September 2021 / 3 pm – 5 pm
4th Course for Governmental Training Institutions and Academia English 20 September – 15 October 2021 / 3 pm – 5 pm
5th Online Course on International Migration Law Spanish 18 October – 12 November 2021 / 1 pm – 3 pm
12th Online Course on International Refugee Law English 18 October – 12 November 2021 / 1 pm – 3 pm
7th Online Course on Internal Displacement English 15 November – 10 December 2021 / 1 pm – 3 pm
8th Online Course on Internal Displacement Spanish 15 November – 10 December 2021 /5 pm – 7 pm

Courses lasting four weeks have 2 to 3 live sessions per week

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