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Summer and Intersession Programs

International Affairs and Multilateral Governance

Geneva, Switzerland

The Graduate Institute's summer program International Affairs and Multilateral Governance offers students a unique opportunity to examine the role of management of international organizations in a truly global city and home to the highest concentration of international organizations  in the world. The program will provide students with knowledge of the increasing importance of global management of transnational issues (such as migration, security and environment) and will introduce students to a wide variety of new governance mechanisms.

Geneva- UN group photo

Academic Details

This three-week, 3-credit course, delivered by SIS partner The Graduate Institute in Geneva, includes lectures, discussions, and workshops that will deal with many dimensions of the challenges faced by international organizations and how global governance is responding to human rights and humanitarian action, health and environment and global migration. Students from around the world will participate in the program, creating not only an opportunity to network with others across disciplines and sectors, but across many international borders. 

The first week of the course will offer extensive history lessons on international organizations, the challenges they faced then and now, and the role both international organizations and non-state actors play in the contemporary world. This part of the course aims at providing participants with a fluent understanding of international organizations and of contemporary issues that the world is facing today. The first week also includes a day with the Geneva Model United Nations, a tour of the United Nations, and will include several guest speakers, including one from the Swiss Diplomatic Mission.

The second week of the program will be framed around specific challenges both international organizations and non-state actors are facing today. Some examples are humanitarianism and the global aid market, terrorism, global environmental change, and nuclear proliferation. 

The third week of the program will offer students the opportunity to get a hands-on experience of how international organizations are dealing with migration, global and public health, and development. Students will be placed into a simulation negotiation regarding migration and will then move onto specialized workshops on several different topics, including peacebuilding, refugees, and conflict mediation.

During the course, participants may have the opportunity to interact with top diplomatic officials while visiting the UN and other UN organizations based in Geneva. Each week will also feature a public lecture or roundtable connected to the week's main theme. Additionally, social events for participants will be organized by The Graduate Institute, including a welcome reception, barbecue, visiting museums, tours of the campus, excursions in and around Geneva on Saturdays, and a farewell dinner.

Students will first apply to SIS and, upon acceptance and nomination to program, will enroll directly at The Graduate Institute for the full course. Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive a transcript from The Graduate Institute to be articulated on their AU transcripts with support from the SIS Office of International Programs.

2016 Program Schedule

Program dates: 20 June - 8 July 2016

Program Costs

AU tuition, international airfare, accommodation and most meals.

Who Should Attend

The interdisciplinary nature of the program is designed for graduate students with an interest in the United Nations, NGOs, global governance, or human rights. Students will acquire knowledge in international law, political science, international relations, and international economics.


Students are required to make their own travel arrangements to and from Geneva and must find their own accommodations for the duration of the two week program. Support to secure housing will be offered by The Graduate Institute, but will be at the expense of the student. Some on-campus accommodation may also be available, but is not guaranteed. More details will be made available in the pending program guide.

Application and Deadlines

Priority deadline*: March 1, 2016

*Later applicants will be admitted on a rolling basis


Once admitted to the Program by SIS, students receive notification via e-mail. At that time, students will be required to submit a non-refundable deposit of $250 to SIS, through a check or money order made payable to American University, to secure their place in the Program.

Students must read the entire program guide before applying. The updated program guide will be made available in the Forms section of this website in the spring semester.

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Info Session

Thursday, 1/28; 4:45-5:45pm in SIS 112

Application Deadline

March 1, 2016

Apply Now!

Summer Abroad Application


Advisor Approval Form

The updated program guide will be made available here at the start of the Spring 2016 semester.

Geneva 2015 Program Guide

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