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Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy

Examine intergovernmental, supranational, and regional organizations’ strategies for and responses to current challenges in the international system.

From its base in Geneva, this program provides a thorough background in international studies, using an experiential, case study approach. The program addresses the most contemporary international issues through classroom seminars and through lectures and briefings at international and nongovernmental organizations, including United Nations agencies, the Red Cross, and EU institutions.

Major topics of study include:

  • Roles of intergovernmental, regional, and nongovernmental organizations in building peace and helping to prevent and manage conflict
  • Links between international stability and sound economic and sustainable development
  • The evolving role of diplomacy in contemporary international relations
  • Geopolitics in relation to natural resources
  • Evolving international security challenges
  • The UN system and the European Union

Geneva (program base)

GenevaThe international environment of Geneva offers students a unique opportunity to interact with leading experts and academics at a wide variety of international organizations and research centers. Numerous institutional libraries, documentation centers, and think tanks offer excellent research material and information. This exceptional learning environment leads to original research and independent study opportunities.

Network with International Experts

European InstituteStudents have numerous occasions to meet leading experts working at international organizations, academic institutions, and research centers. Students typically engage with experts in the areas of multilateral diplomacy, conflict resolution, regional integration, development, the environment, complex emergencies, and security. Students develop their networks throughout their stay in Geneva to enhance their Independent Study Project design and research.

Intensive Instruction in French

Students have the opportunity to learn, or rapidly advance, their French through the program’s intensive language instruction. This course is taken with students from the Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy program. Language instruction is offered at four levels based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing. Additionally, many students are able to practice their French with their homestay family and during excursions.

Independent Study Project (ISP)

UN LibraryFurther academic and career goals through an original research project.

Students spend four weeks near the end of the semester working on an Independent Study Project (ISP), pursuing original research on a topic of interest to them. The ISP is conducted in Geneva where students interview leading experts in fields related to their research project.

The ISP provides students with practical experience for academic and professional development. It also allows students to create a solid professional network and form a concrete base for future academic and professional career choices.

Sample topic areas for the ISP include:

  • Conflict resolution and multilateral diplomacy processes
  • New threats to global security
  • Roles of international agencies in developing countries
  • Europe and the global power shift
  • Peacebuilding and nation building
  • New approaches to security
  • Human rights and international law
  • Migrations, refugees, and internally displaced persons
  • Protection of humanitarian spaces in conflict zones
  • Humanitarian aid in complex emergencies
  • Non-state actors and international humanitarian diplomacy
  • Geopolitics of natural resources
  • Environmental diplomacy
  • Security strategies of the European Union


Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in international studies or a related academic discipline, such as political science or prelaw, as assessed by SIT.

Access Virtual Library Guide

The program’s thematic seminars address the most contemporary international issues within an interdisciplinary framework. Students examine the strategies and responses of international, supranational, and nongovernmental organizations to current challenges to peace and stability. Coursework addresses the political, economic, security, strategic, and environmental dimensions of the rapidly evolving international system in the context of globalization.

The program seeks to facilitate a more profound understanding of multilateral diplomacy, conflict management, European Union politics, and international economic relations. Students develop analytical skills and critical thinking on international issues, gain insight on multilateral institutions, and build networks with international experts.

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.

International Relations and Multilateral Diplomacy – syllabus
(INTS 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course explores the evolving role of diplomacy in contemporary international relations. It examines traditional and non-traditional approaches to diplomacy, taking into consideration the strategies of both state and non-state actors, and international and regional organizations. A major emphasis is on the position of the UN system and the European Union from a multilateral, diplomatic perspective. The course evaluates how the practice of diplomacy can be adapted to global, regional, and local levels. The seminar also examines the approaches of economic, environmental, and humanitarian diplomacy and assesses the increasing role of non-state actors. 

International Security, Peace, and Stability – syllabus
(INTS 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The International Security, Peace, and Stability course addresses the evolving international security environment within an interdisciplinary framework. Based on a comprehensive and multi-dimensional security approach, the course seeks to facilitate a holistic understanding of the evolving international security challenges. The course examines conflict prevention strategies, geopolitics in relation to natural resources, non-state actors in conflict zones, and security sector reform. The seminar provides a thorough background in international security studies. The multi-dimensional security approach takes into account politico-military security, human security, and the links between international stability and sound economic and sustainable development. It not only addresses national security strategies but also the roles of intergovernmental and regional organizations, as well as the role of nongovernmental agencies in helping to prevent and manage conflict and in building peace.

French I – syllabus
(FREN 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
French II – syllabus
(FREN 2000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
French III – syllabus
(FREN 2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
French IV – syllabus
(FREN 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom instruction, to provide broader access into the host culture and enable participation in daily social life. Students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing.

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The Research Methods and Ethics course provides the theoretical, conceptual, and practical tools for conducting field research in Switzerland. Emphasis is placed on grappling with cultural differences and on recording, interpreting, and analyzing information from primary sources. The focus is on strengthening interactive research skills and methods in both traditional and non-traditional ways: exploring cultural and professional environments, conducting background research, developing contacts and finding resources, developing skills in observation and interviewing, applying field study ethics, and gathering and organizing data. The concepts and skills developed in the seminar underlie and reinforce all other program requirements. The ethical implications and consequences of field research will be examined throughout.

Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Geneva. Sample topic areas: conflict resolution and multilateral diplomacy processes; new threats to global security; roles of international agencies in developing countries; Europe and the global power shift; peacebuilding and nation building; new approaches to security; human rights and international humanitarian law; migrations, refugees, and internally displaced persons; aid in complex emergencies; non-state actors and international humanitarian diplomacy; economic diplomacy.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.

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

The program’s educational excursions give students access to leading experts and decision makers in the fields of diplomacy and international negotiations, trade, law, and the evolution of institutions. Students have a chance to experience some of the most magnificent and classical cities and sites in Europe.

European CommissionBrussels and Paris

Both the capital of Belgium and the European Union, Brussels hosts important EU organizations as well as the headquarters of NATO. Students become acquainted with EU matters and structures and participate in contemporary debates on the evolution of regional integration in Europe. The city itself reflects both the traditions of multicultural Belgium and the rapid growth and influence of EU organizations.

After Brussels, the program stops in Paris, where students visit important international organizations such as OECD or UNESCO. As an artistic and cultural capital and the center of Francophone identity, Paris offers a range of cultural activities and experiences.

Gyula CsurgaiGyula Csurgai, PhD, Academic Director

Dr. Gyula Csurgai was born in Hungary and holds Swiss and Canadian citizenships. 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.

His publications include:


  • Conflits en Zone Urbaine (Conflicts in Urban Zones), Editions Polémarque, Nancy, 2013.
  • Geopolitics and Demography, Gyula Csurgai (ed.), Penthes Editions, Geneva, 2013.
  • Geopolitical and Geo-Economic Analysis of the S.W.F. Issue: Sovereign Wealth Funds and Power Rivalries, LAP, Germany, 2011.
  • Geopolitics: Schools of Thought, Method of Analysis and Case Studies, Edition de Penthes, Geneva, 2009.
  • Les enjeux géopolitiques des ressources naturelles (Geopolitical Stakes of Natural Ressources), 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.
  • Quelles perspectives géopolitiques pour l’Europe? (What Are the Geopolitical Perspectives for Europe?) L’Age d’Homme, Lausanne, 2004.
  • Géopolitique, religions et civilisations – quelles perspectives pour le XXI siècle? (Geopolitics, Religions and CivilisationsWhich Perspectives for the 21st Century?) L’Age d’Homme, Lausanne, 2003.

Articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings:

  • "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.
  • "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), in 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 Revue Militaire Suisse, Lausanne, March-April 2000.
  • "Quelques considérations sur les facteurs géopolitiques de la Suisse" (Some Considerations on the Geopolitical Factors of Switzerland), in Revue Militaire Suisse, 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.

Oksana Myshlovska, PhD, Academic Advisor

Oksana MyshlovskaDr. Oksana Myshlovska is originally from Ukraine. Currently she is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies based in Geneva. Dr. Myshlovska has more than ten years of experience working with government, international organizations, academia, and nongovernmental organizations. She holds a PhD in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, a master’s in global leadership from the World Economic Forum (with training at leading schools such as INSEAD, Wharton Business School, and Columbia School of Arts) and a master’s degree in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Previously, she was an associate director with the Global Agenda Councils team at the World Economic Forum. In this position, she facilitated policy discussions and the development of recommendations within a network of world experts in the following areas: business and human rights, rule of law, conflict management, international security cooperation, fragile states, illicit trade and economy (deviant globalization), public-private governance, and the role of business in global governance and Ukraine.

Dr. Myshlovska held a research position with the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces where she focused on security sector reform and governance, security and development, human security, security and human rights, post-conflict reconstruction of states, and intergovernmental approaches to security. For several years, she was director of a foundation dedicated to youth education and humanitarian projects in Ukraine. She also worked at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, the Kyiv Institute of International Relations, and the National Democratic Institute, and she interned with the parliaments of Canada and Ukraine and the UN in Geneva. She speaks Ukrainian, Russian, English, French, Italian, and Polish fluently, as well as some German and Japanese.

Aline Dunant, Academic Coordinator

Aline DunantAline 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.

Lecturers for this program typically include:

Professor Alexandre Vautravers, PhD

A Swiss and EU national, Alexandre Vautravers holds a PhD in contemporary history from the University of Lyon and a PhD in social and economic sciences from the University of Geneva. He is currently associate professor at International Relations Department at Webster University Geneva. His areas of specialization include: refugee studies, international economics, history and political science, human rights, and international nongovernmental organizations (INGO). His areas of research and publications include: international relations, conflict studies and conflict resolution, strategy and military doctrines, humanitarian action, technology, and the politics of international economic relations.

Alexandre Vautravers is a lieutenant-colonel (GS) in the Swiss Armed Forces and has been commander of the 17th Tank Battalion since 2009. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Revue Militaire Suisse (RMS), an independent journal published since 1856.

Professor Michel Veuthey, PhD

Michel Veuthey is vice president of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and professeur associé at the Institut du Droit de la Paix et du Développement (IDPD) of Nice University (France). Dr. Veuthey had a long career (1967–2000) with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva as a specialist in international humanitarian law. He worked in many capacities at the ICRC including as a member of the legal division during the preparatory works and sessions of the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts (1974–1977); as head of the international organizations division; as Delegate General for Europe and North America; as assistant to the ICRC president; as Head of Delegation, ICRC Regional Delegation for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean (Pretoria); and as legal advisor for the 50th Anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. He also carried out short field assignments in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Dr. Veuthey holds a bachelor of laws (1965) and doctor of laws (1976) from the University of Geneva. He has lectured widely on international humanitarian law and is the author of a book and many articles on the subject. He was a member of the board of MSF-Switzerland for four years (2000–2004) and was the academic director of the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA), organized in New York, Geneva, and Dublin (2000–2003). He has been the director of the Summer Courses on International Humanitarian Law in San Remo since 2000. He has been president of the Cercle des Amitiés Internationales in Geneva since 2005.

Professor Goran Jovanovic, PhD

Goran Jovanovic is a professor of international relations and media and communication at the International University in Geneva. He teaches courses on globalization, foreign policy and decision-making, political communication, and future issues in international relations. Goran Jovanovic also works for several international institutions in Geneva and abroad. He was a scientific director of the Audiovisual Unit at the Graduate Institute of International Studies (2000–2005) and International Relations Department Head at the International University in Geneva (2007–2011). Goran Jovanovic holds a doctorate in international relations from the University of Geneva.

Professor Anselm Zurfluh, PhD

Born (1953) and raised in Switzerland, Anselm Zurfluh graduated from the Université de Nice, France, in 1983. He holds a doctorate in history on historical demography and mentalities, and in 1991 obtained a doctorate in ethnology on a socio-cultural isolate in a Swiss Alpine region. His areas of specialization include demography, anthropology, and modern European civilization and culture. His research interests include culture and history, particularly Alpine and European civilization before the French Revolution. He was a professor at the Stiftsschule Einsiedeln from1981 to 1989 as well as a researcher, editor, publisher, and advisor at the Minister of Educational Affairs of the Académie de Nice. He also served as assistant at the Université d’Avignon (history of art).

In 2001, Dr. Zurfluh was appointed director of the Institute and Museum of the Swiss Abroad in Geneva. He is the author, editor, and coordinator of several books and scientific publications in German, French, and Italian.

Professor Khalid Koser, PhD

Dr. Koser is academic dean and head of the New Issues in Security Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. He is also a non-resident senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, a research associate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, and an associate fellow at Chatham House. Dr. Koser is chair of the UK’s Independent Advisory Group on Country Information and editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies.

Vicente Paolo B. Yu III, Programme Coordinator, South Centre's Global Governance for Development Programme

Mr. Yu’s work includes overseeing the policy research and analysis as well as the provision of technical and legal advice by the South Centre through the Global Governance for Development Programme to developing country delegations on global political, economic, social, and environmental issues (such as United Nations reform, Bretton Woods institutions governance, WTO institutional decision-making processes, the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, human rights, migration, and environment). He obtained his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of the Philippines and his master of laws degree (specializing in international trade law and international environmental law) from Georgetown University where he was a Fulbright Scholar. Prior to joining the South Centre, he served as a WTO program officer in Geneva and for Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), and was also a staff attorney and head of research and policy development at the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) in the Philippines. He also taught at the University of the Philippines College of Law and the University of Tulsa College of Law. He has published papers and articles on issues relating to trade and the environment, sustainable development, environmental policy, and indigenous people’s rights.

homestayStudents live with a Swiss or international family in a village or town near Nyon for 14 weeks during the semester. Living in the French-speaking canton of Vaud enables students to experience Francophone culture. Exposure to the country's cultural and ethnic mosaic helps students understand the traditional values of the Swiss political system: federalism, tolerance, respect for minorities, neutrality, and direct democracy.

Many students choose to participate in arts groups and sports during this period, allowing them to meet other Swiss peers.

Other accommodations during the program include hostels or small hotels during study trips.

Program Dates: Fall 2015

Program Start Date:  Aug 19, 2015

Program End Date:    Dec 1, 2015

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:   May 1, 2015


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: $16,740

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
    • Multilateral diplomacy
    • European, regional, and international affairs
    • International trade and cooperation
    • Fieldwork
  • Research Methods and Ethics course on research methods and Human Subjects Review
  • Intensive language instruction in French
  • All educational excursions to locations such as Brussels and Paris, including all related travel costs
  • Independent Study Project (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board:$6,760

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, during the Independent Study Project, and during the final evaluation period.
  • Homestay (14 weeks with a Swiss or international family in rural villages and other communities near Nyon)
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly or 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.

Visa Expenses: $465

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: $50

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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802 258-3212, 888 272-7881 (Toll-free in the US), Fax: 802 258-3296 

SIT was founded as the School for International Training and has been known as SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute since 2007. SIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

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