When Health Diplomacy Serves Foreign Policy: Use of Soft Power to Quell Conflict and Crises

Nasim Sadat Hosseini Divkolaye, Mohammad Hadi Radfar, Fariba Seighali, Frederick M. Burkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Health diplomacy has increasingly become a crucial element in forging political neutrality and conflict resolution and the World Health Organization has strongly encouraged its use. Global turmoil has heightened, especially in the Middle East, and with it, political, religious, and cultural differences have become major reasons to incite crises. Methods The authors cite the example of the human stampede and the deaths of over 2000 pilgrims during the 2015 annual Haj pilgrimage in Mecca. Results The resulting political conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia had the potential to escalate into a more severe political and military crisis had it not been for the ministers of health from both countries successfully exercising soft power options. Conclusion Global health security demands critical health diplomacy skills and training for all health providers. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;page 1 of 4).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-727
Number of pages4
JournalDisaster medicine and public health preparedness
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Haj
  • conflict
  • global health security
  • health diplomacy
  • humanitarian crises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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