Humanitarian Diplomacy (HD) emerged as a concept in the early 2000s and can be defined as the persuasion of decision-makers and leaders to act in the interest of vulnerable people and with full awareness and respect for humanitarian principles, regardless of circumstances. In the international community's commitment to the 2030 Agenda's "leave no one behind" notion, HD is seen as a vital instrument through which to reach the most vulnerable populations.

As a result of the increasing light being shed on HD, on 28 January 2021, the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) in collaboration with the Conflict Management and Humanitarian Action Master's program at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies hosted Mr. Antoine Bieler in his capacity as the Medecins sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) humanitarian representative in the Middle East and North Africa to deliver a lecture entitled 'Humanitarian Diplomacy in the Era of Weakened Multilateralism'. The lecture sought to highlight the notion of humanitarian diplomacy in the face of declining international cooperation.

In his lecture, Mr. Bieler touched on various points such as the concept of humanitarian diplomacy (HD), humanitarian principles, the link HD has to humanitarian action, limitations of humanitarian action in relation to sanctions imposed by the USA or the United Nations Security Council, and the politicisation of humanitarian action and diplomacy.

His presentation was followed by a discussion moderated by Professor Sultan Barakat, Director of CHS and a Q&A session with a live and online audience. Some of the questions touched upon the impartiality of humanitarian and medical groups, the unfair target placed upon similar local groups following the War on Terror, how MSF's function as a group funded by private donors rather than state donors affects their operation, and the possibility of having an Arab chapter of MSF in the region.

The full lecture in English and Arabic is available on our various social media accounts @onlineCHS.