Humanitarian Diplomacy Lab: Global Pitch Night

Discover innovative solutions from teams working across the globe to solve the urgent humanitarian challenges facing nations across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


March 23, 2017 from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm



Join us to discover innovative solutions to the urgent humanitarian challenges facing nations across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

In this Global Pitch Night, co-organized by foraus, nine teams present the outcomes of the Humanitarian Diplomacy Lab’s “Open Situation Room” workshops held in their respective countries. We’ll share global team findings in short presentations from our team in San Francisco and from Kathmandu, Mumbai, Montreal, Bogota, Medellin, and Geneva [flyer]. The San Francisco team will share ideas for how the International Committee of the Red Cross could harness emerging technologies to better reconnect families separated by armed conflict.

In the following panel discussion, thought leaders from policy, tech, and field work reflect on the findings, and on the role of emerging, more inclusive forms of diplomacy in humanitarian action. The evening starts with an introductory note by Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet, Director of Communication and Information Management at the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Humanitarian Diplomacy Lab

A grand experiment in humanitarian diplomacy, the Humanitarian Diplomacy Lab is a global series of workshops that explore new and inclusive forms of diplomacy to tackle urgent humanitarian challenges. Led by members of the Swiss foreign policy think tank foraus and the Global Diplomacy Lab, the workshops bring people together from various backgrounds and disciplines in a format called the “Open Situation Room.” The model is a contemporary interpretation of the situation room created by US President John F. Kennedy to discuss acute crisis situations in the 1960s.

Nine teams from Africa (Ghana, Ethiopia), Asia (India, Nepal), North America (San Francisco, Montreal), South America (Colombia), and Europe (Geneva) are hosting open situation rooms on humanitarian challenges related to their respective countries on March 21-22. The final Global Pitch Night is held on March 22 at swissnex San Francisco.

As part of the Everyone a Humanitarian event series, the Humanitarian Diplomacy Lab is a joint initiative of the Swiss foreign policy think tank foraus, the Global Diplomacy Lab, the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco, and swissnex San Francisco.

More panelists to be announced.


6:30pm – Doors open

7:00pm – Welcome & introductions 

7:10pm – Introductory note by Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet, ICRC

7:25pm – Introduction of the panel

7:30pm – Global pitching session

8:15pm – Panel discussion

8:45pm – Networking, food, drinks


Nicola Forster

Nicola Forster is the founding president of the Swiss grassroots foreign policy think tank foraus (Forum Aussenpolitik) as well as a serial social entrepreneur in public sector innovation. He is an Ashoka Fellow and Founding Curator of the Global Shapers Bern Hub (WEF), and advises different foundations, international think tanks as well as foreign ministries as the German Federal Foreign Office on creative formats and strategic innovation. Nicola sits on the boards of Fondation Science et Cité (as vice president), Global Diplomacy Lab as well as Fondation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe. He has been ranked among the Top 99 foreign policy leaders under 33 by The Diplomatic Courier. He regularly contributes to Swiss and international media and is a frequent keynote speaker, panelist and moderator.


Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet

Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet is the Director of communication and information management for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She has a degree in business studies and a master’s degree in communication. She began her career at the British Red Cross as information and marketing officer and subsequently as head of project before joining the ICRC in 1993. She worked in the field for five years as delegate, coordinator and head of sub-delegation. She has since held a number of posts at headquarters including head of the “women and war” project, deputy head of division, and deputy director of communication.



Oliver Blank

Oliver Blank is an artist, designer, and composer. His work restores a sense of intimacy to public spaces and his design projects focus on the prevention of suffering.  Oliver is currently a Program Manager and Senior Designer at, the philanthropic arm of Google. In the past he has made things with UNICEF, Lego, Nokia, HP, Marvel Comics and many others. Oliver loves making things: civic things for nonprofits, cloud-based things for low-resource contexts, thoughtful things for museums, useful things for communities in crisis.



Photo: Satellite imagery captured, compiled, and provided by Planet. Typhoon Haima in the Philippines (CC590).

Event Photos