Our Unique Legacy

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Founding alongside the League of Nations

The Graduate Institute has a unique and proud legacy in training professionals from all regions and sectors across a spectrum of issues connected with key global affairs.  Shortly after the founding of the League of Nations in Geneva in 1920, recognizing that the city had become a center for international governance and world affairs, a need was articulated for an independent graduate school dedicated to the study of international affairs. Thanks to the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Institut universitaire de hautes études internationales, "HEI", was founded in 1927. Positioned at the epicentre of multilateral governance, the Institute has trained thousands of individuals in world affairs, global development and related issues ever since.


Post-war evolution, innovation and growth

1961 saw the birth of the Institute for Development Studies in Geneva, known at the time as the African Institute it became an innovator in the development field. In 2008, HEI and the Institute of Development Studies merged. By bringing together these two prestigious organisations under the same roof, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies uniquely combines the study of international relations and development, pioneering a multidisciplinary approach to research and teaching on the major issues of world affairs. Building on our unique history of training professionals from all sectors as well as students, 2008 saw the formation of a dedicated Executive Education unit within the new Graduate Institute.