CAS en communication et opinion publiques


Shaping public opinion is a key issue in all democracies, but particularly so in a federal system such as Switzerland’s, with its many channels of participatory democracy. The course’s primary objective is to investigate the details and implications of how public opinion is shaped in Switzerland. We begin with a reflection on the fundamental principles of democracy and the current challenges facing those principles, especially those developing in the light of emerging methods of e-democracy.


We subsequently examine the techniques and instruments necessary for public communication in the era of new digital media. Due to the ever-increasing volumes of information being transmitted, as well as the growing number of communication channels available, the task of mastering communication is becoming ever more complex and requires the use of increasingly sophisticated models and techniques. The sessions devoted to public communication will examine both the types of communication which are important for public administration (institutional communication, crisis communication, internal communication) and the instruments for that communication (public relations, advertising, personal relationships, etc.) We also look at communication by political parties and interest groups, as well as the characteristics of lobbying strategies and political campaigns. This block of sessions also includes a module on marketing for the public sector (place, urban, cultural and social marketing).


Finally, the course looks at the roles and functions of the media (both traditional and new) with regards to its links to the State and state actors. What are the expectations of the media and journalists? What is the margin for manoeuvre for public actors? How can I get my message across? What are my rights with regards to the media? The days devoted to media relations will spend a lot of time on practical exercises (media training) led by a professional.

  • Identify the diverse locations and mechanisms which help to shape public opinion and analyse their significance within a federal system rooted in participatory democracy
  • Evaluate the role and importance of the main actors (the State, the media, interest groups and political parties) working to shape public opinion
  • Understand the basic communication models and instruments
  • Be able to develop a communication strategy for a public or not-for-profit organisation
  • Develop skills in media relations
Target audience
  • Participants in the MAS in Public Administration (MPA)
  • Communication managers in public administrations and other stand-alone institutions
  • Leaders responsible for communication activities in political parties or interest groups
  • Executives in public enterprises or not-for-profit organizations
  • Executives in companies working with or for the public sector
2021 Speakers

Subject to modification

  • Jean-Blaise Held, Co-director of MicroPlume and lecturer at the University of Fribourg.
  • Anja Wyden Guelpa, Chairwoman of the Federal Commission for the Coordination of Family Matters, Chancellor of State of the Canton of Geneva from 2009 to 2018.
  • Claude Longchamp, former director of GFS Bern.
  • Cathy Maret, Head of the Communication and Media Department, Federal Office of Police.
  • Erik Reumann, Spokesperson for Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann.
  • Jean-Christophe Sauterel, Commissioner and Head of Safety and Communication, Vaud Cantonal Police.
  • Renaud Vuignier, Lecturer, IDHEAP.
  • Reto Wiesli, polsan AG, Vice-chairman of the SPAG/SSPA.
Discussed subjects

Discussed subjects

Subject to change

  • Democracy and public opinion
  • The basics of public communication
  • Communication instruments and strategies
  • State communication
  • Political campaign and public opinion
  • Crisis communication
  • Communication from political actors (parties, interest groups)
  • Public marketing
  • Media relations (traditional and new)
  • Media training print - new media
  • Audio-visual media training
  • Quality of democracy - current challenges and opportunities
Teaching methods

Each teaching day will be devoted to a precise theme. Participants will be asked to make presentations during classes and to prepare for these course days by reading selected texts.

Group work is also planned as a part of each teaching day.

Qualifications and Certificates

Qualifications and Certificates

Participants who actively and regularly attend the course, and complete the course project, will be awarded a Foundation of Continuing Education certificate of continuing education/Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Public Administration (with a specialisation in CEMAP). This corresponds to 10 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. Participants who follow the course but decide not to complete the project work will receive a certificate of attendance (but no ECTS credits).

Registration fees

Registration fees

Total course registration fees come to CHF 3,900 (including all documentation), which should be paid on receipt of the invoice, and by the start of the course at the latest.
A discount of 5%, up to a maximum of CHF 500 per course, is available to any IDHEAP alumni—holding an MPA, DAS or CEMAP, an IDHEAP PhD or a Master’s in PMP—who wish to follow a CAS course or a Seminar for Specialist and Executives organised by IDHEAP. This reduction does not apply to participants in the DAS who subsequently wish to follow the MPA course. Any decision to withdraw from the course must be made in writing. If withdrawal from the course is announced between 21 and ten days prior to its commencement, 50% of the registration fee will remain due. If withdrawal from the course is announced less than ten days before its commencement, the entire registration fee is due. The number of places being limited, registrations will be considered on the basis of the date of receipt.


Practical information

Program management

Prof. Andreas Ladner

Place, dates and times

Next start: September 2022

For any questions, please contact

Follow us:        

Course Manager
Prof. Andreas Ladner
+41 21 692 68 60

Studies Secretariat
+41 21 692 68 13

Rue de la Mouline 28 - CH-1022 Chavannes-près-Renens
Tel. +41 21 692 68 00
Fax +41 21 692 68 09