Elodie Pernici

Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) Communication and Advocacy student

Meet our alumna Elodie Pernici ! She obtained the CAS Communication and Advocacy in Humanitarian Action in 2014 and recently joined the International Committee of the Red Cross.



What is your background in humanitarian action?
« Actually, I’m not the typical student who comes to the CERAH with a relevant experience in the field. My background is Communications, more specifically corporate branding activities. I have a broad range of experience in the design of communication strategies in the both public and private sector. In addition, I also worked for one major NGO during 18 months. »

Why did you decide to participate in the Certificate of Advanced Studies Communication and Advocacy in Humanitarian Action at the CERAH?
« Working in the humanitarian sector has always been on my mind because I wanted to be part of a whole that I can identify with, with values in line with mine. Being engaged only on a personal level was not sufficient for me. I wanted to move into a humanitarian organization and try to contribute as much as I can with my professional skills. That’s why I decided to participate in the CERAH executive programme to gain specific expertise in the humanitarian sector. The fact that the CERAH is a joint centre of the well-known Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the University of Geneva was also a key element in my decision to choose the CERAH. »

What were the top three features in this course?
« Each topic of the programme is addressed with a specific blend of lectures, practical case studies and group work. We had the opportunity to learn from a variety of humanitarian professionals, including from major organizations such as ICRC, MSF, Oxfam etc... but also from less known organizations such as Foundation Hirondelle, a Swiss NGO of journalists and humanitarian actors working to create civic minded news media in conflict or crisis zones.
It is difficult to say what were the most interesting topics for me but I enjoyed greatly Ethical considerations in humanitarian communication, communication during humanitarian negotiation, communication with local communities, working with interpreters to name but a few. »

Congratulations! You've recently been appointed as " Project manager" for the staff association team at the International Committee of the Red Cross. What does this news mean to you?
« It is the outcome of my determination to work in the humanitarian sector and the result of the efforts I made to reach this goal. I really admire the work done by the ICRC. For me, the ICRC is «the» benchmark and a symbolic reference that has to lead the humanitarian sector in the very difficult times of new challenges, especially those related to the security of humanitarian staff all over the world. It is, as well, the beginning of a new chapter for me, full of meaning and passion ! »

Any tips to give to other students?
« ....Do not forget to listen to your co-students ! Share your experience, your opinions, your convictions. Learn from others coming from a diversity of backgrounds and cultural environments. CERAH is above all a great human experience for life... »