The Patrons

The Geneva Challenge is supported by the late Kofi Annan and Ambassador Jenö C.A. Staehelin. 

The Advancing Development Goals Contest is a worthy and important initiative and will encourage and inspire young students to be key agents for development and peace. I wish it every success.
Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan

High Patron of the Advancing Development Goals Contest

Kofi Annan




Expressing his support and will to make a contribution to the initiative, the ex-UN Secretary General had agreed to act as the High Patron of the Geneva Challenge. A Noble Peace prize winner together with the UN, Mr. Annan chaired the Kofi Annan Foundation, the African Progress Panel and the independent group of global leaders: the Elders. He was also an honorary member, board member or patron of a number of organizations including the UN Foundation Board. He personally presented the prizes to the winners of the 2014 and 2017 version of the contest.


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. 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 - Importance of ADG contest

Jenö C.A. Staehelin

Founder, donor and Head of the Jury of the Advancing Development Goals contests

Jeno C.A. Staehelin




The Geneva Challenge owes its initiative and patronage to the generous vision of Ambassador Staehelin, who believes in the participation of talented young minds in framing and implementing an international development agenda. Ambassador Staehelin built an impressive career in the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, having served as the former Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN in New York. Among other achievements and activities, he is also the former President of the Executive Board of UNICEF and an honorary member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).