Summer Programme on International Affairs



Key features


  • Next session:  17 June - 12 July 2019 - Applications now open
  • A 4-week programme designed as a whole but participants who wish to enrol for one week may do so
  • Understand international organisations, global governance, human rights and humanitarian action, peace and security, environment  and sustainable development issues
  • Programme open to undergraduate and graduate students.
  • A unique opportunity to build a strong international network!
  • Study in International Geneva: interact with leading experts and visit international organisations.






Week 1: 17 - 21 June 2019
Humanitarianism: Its History and Politics

Directed by Prof Davide Rodogno

This week will introduce students to the issues related to the uses and abuses of humanitarian politics and its history.

The module will acquaint participants with a contextualized and critical understanding of humanitarianism, humanitarian interventions, the Responsibility to Protect, humanitarian actors and their actions, including their campaigns.

The sessions will examine a number of issues related to humanitarian interventions, humanitarian actions and campaigns. Sessions will be devoted to the mapping of stakeholders, unpacking the broader contexts in which humanitarian actors operate and the ways in which humanitarianism is used and abused and/or become a politicized issue when the some of the actors performing itclaim to be a-political or beyond politics.

Instructors come from various disciplines: International Law, Anthropology, Political Sciences IR and History in an attempt to grasp very different facets, units and level of analysis of this controversial issues.

The approach adopted is interactive, multidisciplinary, and historically-informed.





Week 2: 24- 28 June 2019
Security and Insecurity Today

Directed by Prof Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

This week will introduce students to the issues related to security in contemporary international affairs.

The module will acquaint participants with a broader understanding of the dynamics of security and insecurity.

The sessions will examine conceptual and practical aspects of the issue of security, tackling the mapping of a fast-evolving landscape, and unpacking the logic(s) of the policy process when it comes to security. In particular, participants will be presented with ways to critically understand the fullness of what security has come to mean today beyond the traditional understanding of military affairs and national security and into newer areas from human security to cybersecurity.

The approach adopted is interactive, multidisciplinary, and historically-informed.




Week 3: 1 - 5 July 2019
Global Health: Challenges for Governance in the 21st Century

Directed by Dr Suerie Mooon                                                                               

This course conceptualizes global health as the health of world’s population, with a focus on the dense relationships of interdependence across nations and sectors that have arisen with globalisation. Public health challenges – for example, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, obesity, diabetes, neglected diseases, tobacco use, environmental degradation, unaffordable medicines prices and understaffed health systems – increasingly shape and are shaped by the political, economic, and social aspects of globalisation.  Outbreaks of new infectious disease, such as MERS or pandemic flu, can wreak immediate economic havoc on a regional or global scale.  Neglected diseases, such as sleeping sickness or mycetoma, continue to cause immense suffering and impede human development.  Meanwhile, international rules that fall outside the traditional health sphere – such as those governing intellectual property, agriculture, human migration, and greenhouse gas emissions – can have profound impacts on human health.  The effects of, and capacities to respond to, a particular health threat often lie outside the control of any one nation state, and require effective international cooperation. 

How suitable are existing global governance arrangements for responding to 21st century global health challenges? Where are the major governance gaps and why do they persist? Who has power in the system, and which tools have succeeded or failed to “govern” trans-border health threats? This course is intended to equip students with a basic introduction to major global health challenges and key related questions in global governance. Students will gain an understanding of the current functioning of the global system and its shortcomings, and exposure to new approaches to addressing global public health challenges. Teaching methods in this intensive one-week session will include lectures, case studies, analytic writing, teamwork, and class discussion and debate.






Week 4: 8 - 12 July 2019
The Global Environmental Crisis: Rising to the Challenges

Directed by Prof Jorge E. Viñuales

The learning programme of the fourth week provides a 360-degree view of global environmental governance. The impact of human activities on the planet has reached such proportions that there is now significant support for renaming our epoch the ‘Anthropocene’, the epoch of the Earth System where humans are the defining geological force.

The programme introduces participants to a diversity of debates relating to our current environmental crisis. It reviews the history and foundations of the international system developed since the 1970s, provides background on integrative concepts such as those of biosphere, the Anthropocene or ‘planetary boundaries’, and then analyses in more detail areas such as water, food security, climate change, energy and plastic.

Each day starts with a framing lecture and a discussion of contemporary issues in the relevant area by distinguished faculty. The afternoons are devoted to case-study exercises and state-of-the-art lectures by practitioners working at the cutting-edge of each subject. A visit to the UN headquarters will also be organised.