Switzerland | Summer | Food

Switzerland: Food Security and Nutrition (Summer)

Investigate how the international community addresses the challenges of meeting the nutrition, food security, and health needs of populations in the 21st century.

Based in Geneva and Nyon, this program provides you with an understanding of global food security and nutrition challenges and their links to sustainable development, public health, and socio-political stability. You will explore issues such as food sovereignty, global health, climate change, humanitarian emergencies, and forced migration in the context of global food security.

Major topics of study include:

  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • Slow Food culture in the contexts of Switzerland and Istria
  • Public health and non-communicable diseases
  • Obesity, under-nutrition, and inadequate nutrition
  • Infant and child feeding

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 learn from experts at governmental, inter-governmental, and nongovernmental agencies specializing in food security and nutrition, including the Food and Agricultural Organization, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF.

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

You will also gain access to numerous institutional libraries and documentation centers, such as the United Nations Library and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, that contain excellent research material and information. 

Thematic seminar on food security, nutrition, and sustainable development

The program features a three-credit seminar. Lecturers are drawn from academic and research institutes and NGOs as well as the UN and other international agencies. Lecturers will provide you with concrete illustrations of food security challenges in the context of development, environment, migration, and human rights.

French language component

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

Independent project on food security, nutrition, and sustainable development

In the latter half of the program, you will conduct an independent project on a subject related to food security, nutrition, and sustainable development in order to examine a topic of particular interest to you in depth. 

Potential research project topics include:

  • Food security and socio-political stability
  • Biofuels and implications of land grabbing
  • The interplays between malnutrition and infectious disease
  • Organic food culture and nutritional diet in local contexts
  • Infant feeding in the context of natural disaster and humanitarian relief
  • The use of GMOs in agricultural and food production supply chains


Coursework or majors in the following areas: environmental studies, ecology, agriculture, sustainable development, political science, policy studies, sociology, or public health.

Students with at least basic French proficiency will be at a linguistic advantage.

The program’s thematic seminar examines issues of food security from the perspective of sustainable development and social stability.

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

Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development – syllabus
(IPBH3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Students examine a broad range of topics such as food culture and nutrition, their links to global health in both developing and developed countries, global agri-business and food trade, land ownership, land grabbing and other factors affecting food security and food sovereignty, and broader but connected issues such as global health, climate change, and forced migration.
French I – syllabus
(FREN1003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
French II – syllabus
(FREN2003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
French III – syllabus
(FREN3003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
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.
Project on Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development – syllabus
(IPBH3060 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
In this course, students are introduced to recent research and become familiar with the methodologies employed in public health and development studies. Students select and analyze relevant issues in consultation with program faculty. In most cases, topics grow out of lectures, briefings, and discussions of the Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development course. Students directly apply experience-based learning and interactive research skills.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Discover Slow Food Culture

Cromaris Fish Farm at Limski Kanal, Istria, CroatiaThe program will spend approximately one week in the peninsula of Istria, which produces one of Europe’s highest quality olive oils and is famous for its slow food culture surrounding truffles. Istria is situated in the heart of Europe, at the crossroads of the Germanic, Latin, and Slavic cultural spheres. Here, you will enjoy the cultural diversity and rich culinary traditions of the Istrian region while discussing the role of organic food production and sustainable agriculture and fisheries in fostering food security and public health.

There will also be a one-day excursion to neighboring Venice, Italy.

Alexandre Lambert, PhD, Academic Director

LambertAlexandre Lambert is Swiss and holds a PhD in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (Graduate Institute). He has been an academic director and lecturer with the SIT Study Abroad program in Geneva since 2007. Dr. Lambert has been lead researcher on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at the Graduate Institute, project officer at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), and a civil servant at the Swiss Federal Department of Defense. He belongs to a number of nonprofit civil society organizations, such as the Swiss Foreign Policy Association, the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR), European Research Group on Armed Forces and Society (ERGOAS). He is also a fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society (IUS) based in Chicago and frequently provides independent policy advice to the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC), including in the context of its regional operations in the Western Balkans, South Caucasus, and Central Asia. Dr. Lambert has published in the field of international politics and history, international security, and security sector governance.

Read Dr. Lambert's full CV.


Main Articles:

  • “From Civil-Military Relations Towards Security Sector Governance,” European Political Science, 10/2011: Symposium of the European Consortium of Political Research, pp. 157-166.
  • “International Security,” in The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace, Nigel Young (editor in chief), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010.
  • Democracy by Force,” in Handbook of Defense Politics: International and Comparative Perspectives, James Forest & Isaiah Wilson (eds.), Routledge 2008, 46-63.
  • “Comprehensive Security in Response to New Threats,” in Globalization of Security Trends and Perspectives (Security Forum 2007), Alexandre Vautravers (ed.), Geneva (Webster University), 2008, 214–239.
  • “Democratic Security Governance and Multilateral Cooperation: The European Approach,” in Conflicts, Security and Cooperation (Liber Amicorum Victor-Yves Ghébali), Vincent Chetail (ed.), Brussels: Bruylant, 2007, 429–446.
  • “Implementation of Democratic Control of Armed Forces in the OSCE Region: Lessons from the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security,” DCAF, Occasional Papers, No. 11, Geneva, Geneva, 2006.
  • "Les interventions militaires de l’Union Européenne dans les Balkans," in Revue Relations Internationales, No. 125 (2006), 59–72.
  • “Categorization of Democratic Civilian Control,” DCAF, Working Papers, No. 164 (2005).
  • "The Contribution of the OSCE to the International Fight Against Terrorism,” Graduate Institute, Program for the Study of International Organizations, Occasional Paper 1 (2003), 111–124.

Anne GolazDr. Anne Golaz, Academic Advisor

Dr. Golaz is a physician and epidemiologist by training. She holds a medical degree (MD) and a doctorate in medicine (DrMed) from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and a master of public health (MPH) from the University of Washington, in Seattle. She completed the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and the CDC Preventive Medicine Residency program at the Indian Health Service (IHS) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dr. Golaz worked as a visiting scientist and medical epidemiologist for the CDC in Atlanta and as a regional immunization advisor on secondment to the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia in Kathmandu, Nepal; the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office in Cairo, Egypt; and the WHO South-East Asia Regional Office, in New Delhi, India.

Dr. Golaz teaches public health in humanitarian emergencies at the University of Geneva’s Center for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH) and at the Global Studies Institute. Before joining the University of Geneva in 2012, she was a UNICEF senior health advisor for humanitarian emergencies in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2007 to 2012.

Read Dr. Golaz's full CV.

She has co-authored or contributed to many scientific publications, mostly related to humanitarian action. Her selected recent publications include:

  • World Health Organization and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG): Clinical Management of Mental, Neurological and Substance Use Conditions in Humanitarian Emergencies (contributor/reviewer). Geneva: WHO, 2015.
  • WHO. Malaria control in humanitarian emergencies. An interagency field handbook, second edition (contributor, chapters 1–3). 2013.
  • IASC/Global Health Cluster/WHO. Health Cluster Guide; A practical guide for country-level implementation of the health cluster (contributor). June 2009.
  • The Sphere Project. Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response. Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Response, first edition and fourth edition (contributor). Geneva: 1998 and 2011.
  • Lam, J.; Amsalu, R.; Gerber, K.; Lawn, J.E.; Tomcyk, B.; Cornier, N.; Adler, A.; Golaz, A.; Moss, W.J. “Neonatal survival interventions in humanitarian emergencies: a survey of current practices and programmes.” Conflict and Health, 2012, 6:2.
  • Tol, W.A.; Barbui, C.; Galapatti, A.; Silove, D.; Betancourt, T.S.; Souza, R.; Golaz, A.; van Ommeren, M. “Mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings: linking practice and research.” Lancet, 2011, 378:1581–91.
  • Tiwari, T.S.P.; Golaz, A.; Yu, D.T.; Ehresmann, K.R.; Jones, T.F.; Hill, H.E.; Cassiday, P.K.; Pawloski, L.C.; Moran, J.S.; Popovic, T.; Wharton, M. “Investigations of 2 cases of diphtheria-like illness due to toxigenic Corynebacterium ulcerans.” Cl Inf Dis, 2008, 46:395–401.
  • Vijayaraghavan, M.; Lievano, F.; Cairns, L.; Nandy, R.; Ansari, A.; Golaz, A.; Mashal, T.; Salama, P. “Economic evaluation of measles catch-up and follow-up campaigns in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003.” Disasters, June 2006, 30(2):256–69.
  • Dadgar, N.; Ansari, A.; Naleo, T.; Brennan, M.; Salama, P.; Sadozai, N.; Golaz, A.; Lievano, F.; Jafari, H.; Mubarak, M.; Hoekstra, E.; Paganini, A.; Feroz, F. “Implementation of a mass measles campaign, Central Afghanistan, December 2001 to May 2002.” J Infect Dis, May 15, 2003, 187(Suppl. 1):S186–90.
  • Golaz, A.; Hardy, I.; Strebel, P.; Bisgard, K.; Vitek, C.; Popovic, T.; Wharton, M. “Epidemic diphtheria in Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union: Implications for diphtheria control in the United States.” J Infect Dis, 2000, 181 (Suppl. 1):S237–43.
  • Golaz, A.; Hardy, I.; Glushkevich, T.; Areytchuck, E.; Deforest, A.; Strebel, P.; Wharton, M.; Sutter, R. “Evaluation of a single dose of diphtheria-tetanus toxoids among adults in Odessa, Ukraine, 1995: Immunogenicity and adverse reactions.” J Infect Dis, 2000, 181 (Suppl. 1):S203–7.

homestayYou 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 also 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. You will 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.  

Students also stay in a hostel during the orientation period.

Program Dates: Summer 2017

Program Arrival Date:  Jun 6, 2017

Program Departure Date:    Jul 18, 2017

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 1, 2017

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:

  • Cost of all lecturers who instruct students in
    • Food security, food culture, and nutrition
    • Sustainable development, global health, and social stability
    • Sustainable agriculture and GMOs
    • Public health and communicable and non-communicable diseases related to inadequate nutrition
  • Individual project focusing on a specific organization or research question
  • All educational excursions to locations including Istria, set at the crossroads of the Germanic, Latin, and Slavic cultural spheres
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board: $2,250

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), on all excursions, 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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