In Memoriam of Kofi Annan, High Patron of the Geneva Challenge


It is with immense sadness that we learned of the passing away of Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and High Patron of the Geneva Challenge, on Saturday 18 August after a short illness. 

The loss of a man who has worked tirelessly for peace and sustainable development is being deeply felt by all those who care about the need for international cooperation in a world of rising challenges.

We are honoured to have had his support for the Geneva Challenge from the beginning. Kofi Annan attached primary importance to promoting Youth Leadership and saw the Advancing Development Goals International Student Contest as "a worthy and important initiative" that "will encourage and inspire young students to be key agents for development and peace”.

Kofi Annan will remain in our hearts as a role model. We will keep his memory in high esteem.


The Geneva Challenge 2018

The Advancing Development Goals International Contest for Graduate Students

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Registration and Submission closed

Presentations of the Finalists and Award Ceremony : 27 November 2018


The Contest

Eager to stimulate reflection and innovation on development from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives and with the generous support of Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, the Graduate Institute has launched in 2014 the Advancing Development Goals Contest, an international competition for graduate students.

The Challenge

The idea is to gather contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between 3 to 5 enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.

This year, five prizes will be distributed; one in each of the following categories (based on the UN Statistics list):

  • Universities located in Africa
  • Universities located in Asia
  • Universities located in Europe
  • Universities located in North America and Oceania
  • Universities located in South America


Selection Process

Your submissions will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary academic steering committee who will select 3 submissions per category to be published on the competitions website and then reviewed by an independent jury of experts with academic, governmental and private sector backgrounds.

Five finalist teams, one team per continent, will be invited (traveling and accommodation expenses covered) to an oral presentation in Geneva, where they will defend their ideas and answer questions from the jury and from the public. The finalists will also be present at an awards ceremony where the results of the contest will be announced preceded by a high-level key-note speech on the challenges of climate change.



The ADG contest distributes 25,000 CHF in monetary prizes. The winning project is awarded CHF 10,000; the two teams in second place will receive CHF 5,000 and the two teams in third place, CHF 2,500.


For more information: