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Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy (Summer)

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 international studies. Students examine the political, economic, security, strategic, and environmental dimensions of the rapidly evolving international system in the context of globalization. The program focuses on the strategies of international, supranational, and nongovernmental organizations in addressing current challenges to peace, stability, and sustainable development.

Major topics of study include:

  • Politics of the European Union
  • Human rights and migration 
  • Multilateral diplomacy
  • International security
  • 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 students a unique opportunity to interact with leading experts and academics at a wide variety of international organizations and research centers. Students attend lectures and briefings at international agencies throughout the city. 

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

Students 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 3-credit seminar. Lecturers are drawn from academic and research institutes and NGOs as well as UN and other international agencies. Lecturers provide students 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

Students 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, students conduct an independent project on a subject related to international studies and multilateral diplomacy in order to examine a topic of particular interest to them in depth. 

Past research projects have included:

  • The Evolution of US-Iranian Relations: Options for the Future 
  • Regional Organizations in Africa and their Impact on Peace-building 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.

International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy Seminar – syllabus
(EURO 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy Seminar (graduate level) – syllabus
(EURO 5000 / 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 non-governmental organizations to current challenges to peace, stability and sustainable development. 

International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy Project – syllabus
(EURO 3060 / 3 credits / 45 class hours) 
International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy Project (graduate level) – syllabus
(EURO 5060 / 3 credits / 45 class hours) 
Students choose to focus on a specific research question. Individual projects are subject to approval by the academic directors and may also be dependent on the nature of the topic and feasibility of the project.

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 and field instruction. Students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing.

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:
  • “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 

Alexandre LambertAlexandre Lambert, PhD, Academic Director

Alexandre Lambert is Swiss, and, despite his French name, his mother tongue is German. He originally graduated from the University of Zurich where he studied history, philosophy, and political science and later earned a PhD in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GI), Geneva. He has been academic director and professor at SIT Geneva since 2007. Prior to this, Mr. Lambert was lead researcher as a special program at the GI on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); founding fellow of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (a leading global center for security, development, and the rule of law); and civil servant at the security policy section of the General Secretariat of the Swiss Federal Department of Defense.

For more than a decade, Dr. Lambert, in his capacity as a world-leading expert on the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security (a core normative document within the Euro-Atlantic/Eurasian security area), is providing senior policy consultancy to the OSCE and its politico-military body, the Forum for Security Cooperation, in support of the implementation process of the Code of Conduct. He is also a Fellow of a number of national and international academic 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), and the Chicago-based Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society (IUS). More recently, Dr. Lambert has been involved in a multi-stakeholder consultancy process elaborating an International Code of Conduct on Private Security Providers, and contributes as a Swiss Partnership for Peace representative to a NATO research group exploring ways to enhance civil-military working relations in defense organizations. Dr. Lambert has contributed to countless inter-governmental and nongovernmental conferences, workshops, and seminars and is mainly published in the fields of international organizations and security, civil-military relations, and security sector governance.

Read Dr. Lambert's complete CV.

Main Articles:
  • "International Security," in Nigel Young (editor in chief), The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace: Oxford, January 2010
  • "Democracy by Force," in James Forest & Isaiah Wilson (eds.), Handbook of Defense Politics: International and Comparative Perspectives, Routledge 2008, 46–63
  • "Comprehensive Security in Response to New Threats," in Alexandre Vautravers (ed.) Globalization of Security Trends and Perspectives (Security Forum 2007), Geneva (Webster University), 2008, 214–239
  • "Democratic Security Governance and Multilateral Cooperation: The European Approach," in Vincent Chetail (ed.) Conflicts, Security and Cooperation (Liber Amicorum Victor-Yves Ghébali), 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; free download 
  • "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); free download
  • "Categorization of Democratic Civilian Control," DCAF, Working Papers, No. 164 (2005); free download at:
  • "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
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.Students experience a five-and-a-half-week homestay with a family in the French-speaking canton of Vaud and are immersed in Francophone culture. Students are able to enhance their 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. Students typically utilize the area’s excellent public transportation system, traveling regularly by train or bus. Students live with their host family for the length of the program.  

Students also stay in a hostel during the orientation period.

Program Dates: Summer 2015

Program Start Date:  Jun 8, 2015

Program End Date:    Jul 20, 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:   Apr 15, 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: $7,500

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who instruct students in
    • The history and development of international organizations
    • The role of international organizations in the new millennium
    • The development and work of the United Nations, UN agencies, and nongovernmental organizations and voluntary agencies
    • Organizational strategies, mandates, and resources
  • Individual project focusing on a specific organization or research question
  • All educational excursions to location such as Lugano, home to the Swiss Italian federation of non-governmental organizations.
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board:$2,350

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 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: Not yet available.

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: Not yet available.

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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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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