Examine the evolving role of multilateral diplomacy in international relations and responses to security challenges from the international hub of Geneva.
Study in Geneva, a hub of international organizations, including UN agencies, the Red Cross, and the World Trade Organization.
Geneva’s international environment offers a unique opportunity to meet leading experts and academics at international organizations and research centers.
Develop networks with leading experts working at international organizations, academic institutions, and research centers.
You will have numerous occasions to meet experts working at international organizations, academic institutions, and research centers. You will typically meet experts in multilateral diplomacy, conflict resolution, regional integration, development, the environment, complex emergencies, and security.
Receive intensive instruction in French.
You will have the opportunity to learn, or rapidly advance, your French through the program’s intensive language instruction. Language instruction is offered at four levels based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing. Additionally, may be able to practice your French with your homestay family and during excursions.
Examine intergovernmental, supranational, and regional organizations’ strategies for and responses to current security challenges in the international system.
Discuss with diplomats and international experts the impact of “Brexit” on EU structure and US relations.
Travel to Paris and Brussels to become acquainted with EU issues and structures and visit important international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Peace | Human Rights | Social Movements
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.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- 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
- Regional and global security challenges, including geopolitics and security
- The UN system and European Union politics
- Economic diplomacy
The following syllabi are representative of 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
- (INTS3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- This seminar provides an in-depth examination of the evolving nature of diplomacy in contemporary international relations. It considers the impact of the profound changes affecting the contemporary international system on the concept of diplomacy and 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. It evaluates traditional and nontraditional approaches to diplomacy, taking into consideration the strategies of both state and non-state actors as well as international and regional organizations. A major emphasis is put on the position of the UN system and the European Union in a multilateral diplomatic perspective.
- International Security, Peace, and Stability – syllabus
- (INTS3005 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- This seminar provides a thorough background in international security studies. The multidimensional 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 in helping to prevent and manage conflict and build peace. The seminar also addresses environmental security.
- Beginning French I – syllabus
- (FREN1003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Beginning French II – syllabus
- (FREN1503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Intermediate French I – syllabus
- (FREN2003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Intermediate French II – syllabus
- (FREN2503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Advanced French I – 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.
- Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
- (ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- The Research Methods and Ethics seminar provides the theoretical, conceptual, and practical tools for conducting field research in a new cultural environment. The main emphasis of the seminar is on the development of interactive research skills involving the collection of primary data. The theoretical part of the seminar includes lectures on qualitative methods of research in social sciences and in particular in international relations, interactive research techniques, and the development of a research proposal. The seminar also includes a number of practical exercises such as organizing and conducting interviews with experts in Switzerland, France, and Belgium; development of a research proposal; preparation of an application for review of research involving human subjects; a local case study; and the integration of interviews into a research project. The ethical implications of field research are examined throughout. The seminar helps develop the skills necessary to navigate both the local and international environments of Switzerland. Students undertake a number of field visits to learn the specificities of local and international culture and institutions. The overall aim is to enable students to master experience-based learning processes and prepare them for the development of an Independent Study Project (ISP), which is largely based on the data gathered from primary sources.
- Independent Study Project – syllabus
- (ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- The Independent Study Project (ISP) offers students a unique, interactive research opportunity in their field of interest in international studies. In most cases, topics of ISPs grow out of lectures, briefings, and discussions from the International Security, Peace, and Stability seminar and the International Relations and Multilateral Diplomacy seminar. Students directly apply the concepts of experience-based learning and interactive research skills learned in the Research Methods and Ethics seminar.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
The program’s educational excursions give you access to leading experts and decision makers in the fields of diplomacy and international negotiations, European affairs, and the evolution of European institutions. You will have a chance to experience some of the most magnificent and classical cities and sites in Europe.
Brussels and Paris
The capital of Belgium and the European Union, Brussels hosts important EU organizations. Here, you will 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 you will meet with experts at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. As an artistic and cultural capital and the center of Francophone identity, Paris offers a range of cultural activities and experiences.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Gyula Csurgai, PhD, Academic Director
Gyula obtained his doctorate from the University of Geneva and political science degrees from University of Concordia (Canada) and University of Toulouse (France). He earned a postgraduate degree in European studies from the European Institute at the University of Geneva. He worked as scientific collaborator at the Geneva International Peace Research Institute and has taught international relations, geopolitics, and geo-economics for undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate programs.
Gyula has organized international symposiums, participated in international research projects, and provided expertise to international organizations. He has been part of SIT in Geneva since 1997 and became academic director in 2002. He was born in Hungary and holds Swiss citizenship.
Heikki S. Mattila, PhD, Academic Advisor
Heikki holds an MA (economics and sociology) from University of Helsinki and a PhD (sociology) from University of Geneva. An expert in migration, he’s worked in government, international organizations, and academia, including the Finnish Ministry of Labor and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He consulted for IOM on migration policy development in Nigeria and Turkey and field assessment of migrants’ humanitarian needs in Chad; he also coordinated research on internal displacement in Iraq.
Since the late 1990s, Heikki has briefed SIT students and advised on their research. He’s lectured at Webster University (Geneva), Central European University (Budapest), and the NATO Defense College (Rome). He has written about human trafficking, irregular migration, and human rights; his interests include migrants’ health, reproductive rights, and comparative health systems.
He wrote or co-edited You Want a Multicultural Immigration Country, But We don’t Want It; Ideologies, Interests and Discursive Strategies in German Parliamentary Debate on the 2004 Migration Law; Between Sanctions and Rights: Addressing the Irregular Employment of Immigrants in the European Union; Permanent or Circular Migration? Policy Choices to Address Demographic Decline and Labour Shortages in Europe; and Between Demand and Supply: Regional Analysis of the Supply and Demand for Sexual Services and Trafficking in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Aline Dunant, MA, Academic Coordinator
Aline has worked with SIT Switzerland since 2007 and is from Francophone Switzerland. She studied liberal arts at the University of Geneva and holds a master’s degree in French literature. Prior to SIT, Aline was coordinator of the Geneva International Film Festival for three years and taught French language and culture to international students. As academic coordinator, Aline assists the academic director, teaches in the Research Methods and Ethics course, and advises students in field research.
Christina Cornes, MA, Homestay Coordinator
Christina has worked as a homestay coordinator in Switzerland since 2008, first with The Experiment in International Living and then with SIT. She is responsible for recruiting and monitoring homestay families, placing students in their homestays, and managing students’ permits, health issues, and train passes. Christina holds a master’s degree in German and English literature from the University in Lausanne. Prior to joining SIT, she worked for the tropical forest officer at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, lived and worked in Sydney for two years, and worked for the financial director at the World Wildlife Fund in Switzerland. Christina has three grownup children and lives with her family in the county of Vaud.
Lecturers for this program typically include:
Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, PhD
Mohammad-Mahmoud is professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and visiting professor at Sciences Po, Paris. He was associate director of the Harvard University Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, foreign minister of Mauritania, director of research of the International Council on Human Rights Policy, and research associate at the Ralph Bunche Institute. His works include Understanding Al Qaeda: The Transformation of War, among others. He is completing a book on neo-authoritarian incursions in the civilian world and novel forms of globalization. He researches transnational terrorism, political violence, the transformation of warfare, transitions to democracy, and Middle Eastern and North African sociopolitical developments and conflicts. He is a frequent lecturer and has contributed to The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, Radio France International, and others.
Marc is a former French diplomat, seconded to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy from 2004 to 2013. He is senior program advisor for Emerging Security Challenges. Marc holds a master’s in international law from the University of Aix-en-Provence, France, and is a graduate of the Paris Institute of Political Studies. With the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he held many roles, working in Leningrad, Warsaw, and Paris. He worked repeatedly with the French delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and as a member of the delegation to the First Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations. From 1993 to 1996, he headed the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry in Paris. In 1996, he was deputy head of mission at the French Embassy in Israel. He was consul general for France in Australia. He has published widely. From 2013 to 2015, he was senior resident fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.
Khalid Koser, PhD
Khalid is academic dean and head of the New Issues in Security Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. He earned his doctorate at University College, London, and his BA at Cambridge. He is a nonresident 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 nonresident fellow at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, and an associate fellow at Chatham House. He is chair of the UK’s Independent Advisory Group on Country Information and editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies.
Alexandre Vautravers, PhD
Alexandre 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 teaches and manages the MA in International Security program at the University of Geneva’s Global Studies Institute. He is also the security and strategic issues advisor for Geneva’s Department of Security and Economy. His specialties include refugee studies, international economics, history and political science, human rights, and international nongovernmental organizations. He’s written on international relations, conflict studies and conflict resolution, strategy and military doctrines, humanitarian action, technology, and the politics of international economic relations. He is a lieutenant-colonel in the Swiss Armed Forces and commander of the 17th Tank Battalion. He is also editor-in-chief of the journal Revue Militaire Suisse.
Vicente Paolo B. Yu III, llm
Vicente is deputy executive director of the South Center and coordinator of its Global Governance for Development Programme. He oversees policy research and analysis and provision of technical and legal advice on global political, economic, social, and environmental issues. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of the Philippines and a master of laws (international trade and environmental law) from Georgetown University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He was a World Trade Organization program officer for Friends of the Earth International and staff attorney and head of research and policy at the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center in the Philippines. He taught at the University of the Philippines and the University of Tulsa. He has published on trade and the environment, sustainable development, environmental policy, and indigenous people’s rights.
Shigehisa Kasahara, MA
Shigehisa, a Japanese national, is a PhD researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. He holds a BA in economics and political science (1978) from Grand Valley State University, Michigan; an MA in international affairs (1981) from American University, Washington, DC; and an MA (ABD) in economics (1986) from the New School for Social Research in New York. From 1986 to 2013, he was on staff for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development secretariat, where he researched for the organization’s flagship publications. He has maintained close working relations with the UN as a consultant for the Office of the Secretary-General and has been chief of the director’s office for the Division of Africa, Least Developed Countries, and Other Programmes. He has lectured to student groups visiting the UN and at many other locations. He has advised students working on research projects.
Suddha Chakravartti, DIR
Suddha lectures on international relations and law and is dissertations coordinator at EU Business School and visiting faculty at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. An Indian citizen, he holds a BA and LLB (Hons) degree from the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research at the University of Law, India, and a Master of International Relations (MIR) and Doctor of International Relations (DIR), specializing in energy poverty in India, from the Geneva School of Diplomacy. He consults, researches, and teaches global governance, geopolitics/geoeconomics, the rise of new powers, resource security issues, risk assessment, international development, and poverty reduction. Suddha has been a researcher for the Commonwealth Secretariat project in Geneva and at CUTS, Geneva Resource Centre.
Jubin Goodarzi, PhD
Jubin is associate professor and deputy head of the International Relations Department at Webster University, Geneva. He holds a BA in international studies from American University, an MA in Arab studies from Georgetown University, and a doctorate in international relations from the London School of Economics. Between 1996 and 2007, he consulted on Middle Eastern affairs for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He has worked with organizations including the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC; the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London; and the Ford Foundation in New York. He authored Syria and Iran: Diplomatic Alliance and Power Politics in the Middle East and many articles and reviews.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
You will 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 will enable you to experience Francophone culture. Exposure to the country's cultural and ethnic mosaic will help you understand the traditional values of the Swiss political system: federalism, tolerance, respect for minorities, neutrality, and direct democracy.
You may choose to participate in arts groups and sports during this period, which will allow you to meet other Swiss peers.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels or small hotels during study trips.
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
You will 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 you. The ISP is conducted in Geneva, where you can interview leading experts in fields related to your research project.
The ISP provides you with practical experience for academic and professional development. It also allows you to create a solid professional network and form a concrete base for future academic and professional career choices.
Sample ISP 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 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
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
- International Relations and Multilateral Diplomacy
- International Security, Peace, and Stability
- 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 food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $6,860
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, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
Airfare to Program Site
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
Books & Supplies: $ 50
International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.
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.
In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.
A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Learn what some of them are now doing.
Recent positions held by alumni of this program include:
- Research associate at Albany Associates, London, UK
- Intern at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland
- Intern at NASA, Washington, DC
- Education volunteer with the Peace Corps, Namibia
- Graduate student (MA in development studies), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland
This information is provided to assist you in identifying possible accessibility barriers and preparing for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Abroad. You should be aware that, while in-country conditions and resources do vary by site, every effort is made to work collaboratively with qualified individuals to facilitate disability-related accommodation. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact SIT Disability Services at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information related to access abroad and to discuss possible accommodations.
During the coursework phase of the program, you will generally be in class four to five days per week for six hours per day. You will be given 15-minute breaks. Learning is typically assessed through take-home assignments, in-class assignments, written assignments/exams, and individual assignments. Course reading and in-class materials are typically available in a digital format.
Students with questions about alternate format materials, testing accommodations, or other academic accommodations are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.
The SIT program office is accessed by a set of exterior stairs. The building has an elevator; however, it is small and not considered wheelchair accessible. Doorways and pathways/hallways do not have widths measuring at least 32 in. (82 cm.). The site’s study/library, lounge, classroom, and restroom are not located on the ground level. There is no separate computer space for students. The restroom has running water.
Program excursions include visits to sites of cultural and diplomatic significance in Switzerland, Brussels, and Paris. Students should expect to stand and walk for long periods of time during excursions. Good walking or hiking shoes that are comfortable, waterproof, and rubber-soled are essential. Students should be able to carry all their luggage significant distances on their own. Program excursions may occasionally vary in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities.
Each program’s homestay coordinator will be responsible for placing students in homestays. These placements are made first based on health concerns, including any allergies or dietary needs. Homestays offer regular access to Wi-Fi, cellular service, electricity to charge devices, and refrigerators to store medication. The physical accessibility of homestay options is currently limited. Other accommodations during the program include hostels or small hotels during excursions. Students with questions about homestay accessibility are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.
A variety of food, including pasta, potatoes, vegetables, meat, cheese, and fish, can be found in Switzerland. SIT Study Abroad works with students, program staff, homestay families, home colleges and universities, and others to accommodate students’ dietary needs whenever possible. For more information on dietary needs and dietary preferences, please review the Student Support section of the Student Health, Safety, and Support web page.
In Geneva and the Canton of Vaud, students typically travel the 35 km. or 22 mi. between their primary homestay, classes, and/or placement sites by bus or train. Walking, subway, and trains are used for program excursions. Most buses in Geneva have wheelchair lifts and ramps. Crosswalks with auditory signals may not exist in all villages. The Paris Metro is not as accessible.
It is strongly recommended that you bring your own laptop computer, voltage converter, two-prong adapter, thumb drive, and assistive technology. Fully insuring your electronic devices against loss and theft is recommended. You will have access to a computer for word processing, printer, copier, and scanner at the UN library and other locations in Geneva excluding the SIT office. Wi-Fi is available at the SIT office.
Students with questions about assistive technology, note-taking accommodations, or other academic accommodations are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible
Healthcare services and pharmacies are available in Geneva. Payment for medical services is covered by your health insurance if the provider is notified prior to or during the medical service.
Once admitted, you are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns about accessing health services or medication while abroad during the health review process. Read more about the health review process and the Summary of Benefits for student health insurance.
Requesting Disability-Related Accommodations
To request disability-related accommodations once admitted, you should contact the Office of Disability Services. For more information about the accommodation process, documentation guidelines and a link to the accommodation request form, please visit the Office of Disability Services website.
Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services at email@example.com or 802 258-3390 as early as possible for information and support.
Additional Support Resources
MIUSA (Mobility International USA) is a cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision, and other disabilities. It offers numerous resources for persons with disabilities who wish to study abroad and/or engage in international development opportunities.
Abroad with Disabilities (AWD) is a Michigan nonprofit organization founded in 2015 with the goal of promoting the belief that persons with disabilities can and should go abroad. AWD works diligently to empower clients to pursue study, work, volunteer, and/or internship opportunities outside of the United States by creating dialogue, sharing resources, and spreading awareness.