Switzerland | Summer Abroad | International Studies | Geneva | French

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy (Summer)

Study the major challenges facing the contemporary international system, including new security threats and conflict resolution and prevention, in the international hub of Geneva.

Based in Geneva, this program provides a thorough background in the contemporary evolution of multilateral diplomacy. Within the context of globalization, you will examine the political, economic, security, strategic, and environmental dimensions of the rapidly evolving international system. You will develop an understanding of the major challenges facing the contemporary international system, including new security threats, application of International Humanitarian Law, and conflict resolution and prevention.

Major topics of study include:

  • Multilateral diplomacy
  • International security
  • Politics of the European Union
  • Economic diplomacy
  • Humanitarian Law
  • Migration 
  • The UN system
  • Geopolitics
I recently received the opportunity to intern for the UN Foundation in New York, an opportunity I don't think would have been possible were it not for my experience with SIT in Switzerland. This program was truly life changing and has set me on a career path I am passionate about and wish to pursue in the future. SIT is a great program!

Spencer Schloss, University of Virginia

International Committee of the Red Cross.The program analyzes the evolution of multilateral diplomacy in contemporary international relations.

Program base in Geneva

Engage and network with international experts.

The international environment of Geneva offers you a unique opportunity to interact with leading experts and academics at a wide variety of international organizations and research centers. You will attend lectures and briefings at international agencies throughout the city. 

You will also have the chance to develop your networking skills to complement your independent project in which you will conduct interviews with experts of the international community of Geneva. In conducting interactive research, you will gain practical experience for your academic and professional development and begin creating a solid professional network.

You will gain access to numerous institutional libraries, documentation centers, and think tanks, containing excellent research material and information. 

Thematic seminar on international studies and multilateral diplomacy

The program features a three-credit seminar. Lecturers are drawn from academic and research institutes as well as UN and other international agencies. Lecturers will provide you with concrete illustrations of multilateral diplomacy in the areas of security and geopolitics, conflict management, international humanitarian law, complex emergencies, development, environment, migration, and human rights.

Intensive French language component

You will receive intensive instruction in French in small-group formats with an emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills.

Meeting with the Academic Directors.Independent project on international studies and multilateral diplomacy

In the latter half of the program, you will conduct an independent project on a subject related to international studies and multilateral diplomacy in order to examine in depth a topic of particular interest to you. 

Past research projects have included:

  • The Evolution of US-Iranian Relations: Options for the Future 
  • Regional Organizations in Africa and their Impact on Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution: A Case Study of the Influence of ECOWAS in Liberia and SADC in Zimbabwe 
  • ICRC’s Evolved Legal and Cultural Sensitivity with the Development of Intra-State Warfare 
  • Agricultural Subsidies and Their Effects on Development in the Global South 
  • Indigenous Knowledge as an Adaptive Solution to Climate Change 
  • Lost Control: Pursuits of Individual Migrants from the Third World vs. Regulatory Policies of the North, with a Focus on African Migration to the European Union 
  • The Theoretical Applications of Asylum Law within Gender Regimes: A Case Study of Femicide in Guatemala


None required, but students with at least basic French proficiency will be at a linguistic advantage.

Access Virtual Library Guide

The program’s thematic seminar examines the evolution and role of international organizations in contemporary international relations. It also provides an overview of the UN system in the context of multilateral diplomacy.

Students also embark on an independent project, directing their interests toward a specific research question. The program includes an intensive French language component.

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

French I – syllabus
(FREN1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
French II – syllabus
(FREN2000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
French III – syllabus
(FREN2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
French IV – syllabus
(FREN3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course has an emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing.

Choose to take either International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy Seminar Graduate Level and International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy Project Graduate Level OR and

International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy Seminar Graduate Level – syllabus
(EURO5000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The thematic seminar provides a thorough background in international studies. The political, economic, security, strategic, and environmental dimensions of the rapidly evolving international system in the context of globalization will be addressed. Moreover, the seminar examines the strategies of international, supranational, and nongovernmental organizations to current challenges to peace, stability, and sustainable development.


International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy Project Graduate Level – syllabus
(EURO5060 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Students choose to focus on a specific research question. Individual projects are subject to approval by the academic director and may also be dependent on the nature of the topic and feasibility of the project.


Csurgai GyulaGyula Csurgai, PhD, Academic Director

Dr. Csurgai was born in Hungary and holds Swiss citizenship. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Geneva and a degree in political science from the University of Concordia (Canada) and the University of Toulouse (France). He earned a postgraduate degree in European studies from the European Institute at the University of Geneva. Dr. Csurgai worked as scientific collaborator at the Geneva International Peace Research Institute (GIPRI) and has taught international relations, geopolitics, and geo-economics for undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate programs at different universities.

Dr. Csurgai has organized seven international symposiums and in each case directed the publications of its proceedings. He has participated in several international research projects and has provided expertise to a number of international organizations. He has been collaborating with the SIT Study Abroad program in Geneva since 1997. He became the program’s academic director in January 2002.

Read Dr. Csurgai's full CV.

Recent publications include:
  • Conflits en Zone Urbaine, (Conflicts in Urban Zones), Editions Polémarque, Nancy, 2013
  • Geopolitics and Demography, Gyula Csurgai (ed.), Penthes editions, Geneva, 2013
  • “Geoeconomics and Competitive Intelligence and their Influences on Power Rivalries and Security,” National Defense University, Romania, Bucharest, 2013
  • “From Nation-State to the Multinational State: Thoughts on the Concept and Practice of Autonomy and Self-Government in Europe from a Geopolitical Point of View,” published in International Seminar on Representativeness and Legitimacy in Autonomy Negotiations, Kingdom of Morocco, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, 2013
  • “Le rôle de l’Asie dans la réorientation stratégique actuelle des Etats-Unis: Quelques considérations géopolitiques” (The Role of Asia in the Actual Strategic Reorientation of the United States: Some Geopolitical Considerations), Revue Militaire Suisse, July 2012
  • Geopolitical and Geo-Economic Analysis of the S.W.F. Issue: Sovereign Wealth Funds and Power Rivalries, LAP, Germany, 2011
  • “Geopolitics, Economic Warfare and Access to Natural Resources,” in Access to Resources and the International Community, A. Vautravers (ed), Webster University, Geneva, 2011
  • “Identity Conflicts, Nationalism and Geopolitics in Central and South-East Europe,” in Webster Security Forum, Webster University, Geneva, 2010
  • “Geo-Economic Rivalries of States,” in Nigel Young (editor in chief), The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace, Oxford, 2010
  • “Constant and Variable Factors of Geopolitical Analysis,” in Geopolitics: Schools of Thought, Method of Analysis and Case Studies, Gyula Csurgai (ed.), Edition de Penthes, Geneva, 2009 
  • “Sovereign Wealth Funds: Strategies of Geo-Economic Power Projections,” in Otto Hieronymi (ed.), Globalization and the Reform of the International and Banking and Monetary System, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009
  • “Geopolitics, Geo-Economics and Competitive Intelligence in Power Projection Strategies of the State in the 21st Century,” in Conferência Nacional de Política Externa e Política Internacional – o Brasil no mundo que vem aí, Fundação Alexandre de Gusmão, Brasilia, 2008
  • "The Use of Geopolitical Approach in Analyzing Contemporary Conflicts,” in Globalization of Security Trends and Perspectives, Webster University, Geneva, 2008
  • "L’idée républicaine en Europe Centrale (Republican Ideology in Central Europe)," in L’idée républicaine dans le monde, (Ed. Emmanuel Dupuy et Paul Baquiast), Harmattan, Paris, 2007
  • "Composantes et caractéristiques de la stratégie de désinformation (Constituents and characteristics of disinformation strategies)," in RMS, Revue Militaire Suisse, Lausanne, March–April 2007
  • "Quelques considérations sur les facteurs géopolitiques de la Suisse (Some Considerations on the Geopolitical Factors of Switzerland)," in RMS, Lausanne, 2006
  • "Les zones grises des Balkans, (Grey Zones in the Balkans)," in Les zones grises dans le monde d’aujourd’hui L’Harmattan, Paris, 2006
  • "Les enjeux géopolitiques des ressources naturelles (Geopolitical stakes of natural resources)," in L’Age d’Homme, Lausanne, 2006 
  • La nation et ses territoires en Europe centrale Une approche géopolitique, (The Nation and its territories in Central Europe, A geopolitical approach), Peter Lang, Bern, 2005 

Aline DunantAline Dunant, Academic Coordinator

Aline Dunant has been working with the SIT Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy program since 2007. She is a Swiss citizen, from the Francophone part of Switzerland. She studied liberal arts at the University of Geneva and holds a master’s degree in French literature. 

Prior to working for SIT Study Abroad, Aline worked for three years as a coordinator for the Geneva International Film Festival and taught French language and culture to international students for a few years.

As an academic coordinator, Aline assists the academic director in the coordination of the different components of the program, teaches in the Research Methods and Ethics course, and advises students in the development of their field research.

The homestay coordinator at SIT put great thought and effort into pairing up students with their homestay families. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect host family!

Megan Godfrey, University of Oregon

Student with her host mother hiking the Jura mountain range.

You will experience a five-and-a-half-week homestay with a family in the French-speaking canton of Vaud and will be immersed in Francophone culture. You will be able to enhance your French language skills and gain additional insight into the traditional values of the Swiss political system: federalism, tolerance, respect for minorities, neutrality, and direct democracy. 

Most homestay families are located northeast of Geneva near Nyon. Students typically utilize the area’s excellent public transportation system, traveling regularly by train or bus. You will live with your host family for the length of the program.  

You will also stay in a hostel during the orientation period.

Program Dates: Summer 2016

Program Arrival Date:  Jun 6, 2016

Program Departure Date:    Jul 18, 2016

The dates listed above are subject to change. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   Apr 15, 2016

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: $7,500

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Lecture fees for the International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy seminar
  • Individual project
  • French course
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board: $2,475

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Geneva), and during the evaluation period.
  • Homestay in the French-speaking canton of Vaud
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered by SIT Study Abroad, directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.

Estimated Additional Costs:

International Airfare to Program Launch Site

International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Immunizations: Varies

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.


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