Geneva Tsinghua Initiative and the International Geneva

Home to 37 international institutions, approximately 400 NGOs and 176 permanent representations of member states of the United Nations (UN), Geneva is the most active centre of global governance in the world. It is also the European headquarters of the United Nations. The presence of these international organizations made Geneva a recognized centre of expertise in the areas of peace, security and disarmament, humanitarian affairs, migration and labour, economics and trade, science and telecommunications, health, environment and sustainable development.

Situated in the quartier international of the city, the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative (GTI) is minutes away from major international organizations (IOs) like the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), among many others.

GTI capitalizes on its close proximity to the global policy centers and partners with various IOs through research, education and events:

  • PhD Program: each GTI PhD researcher is embedded part-time or full-time in one of the International Organisations or NGOs to strengthen science policy collaboration.
  • GTI SDG Dual Degree Master Program: this program emphasizes hands-on learning by directly working with IOs and NGOs on concrete projects. GTI students come up with innovative solutions to real-world challenges faced by practitioners and policy makers of the SDGs. In addition to that and as part of their curriculum, students conduct internships at neighbouring IOs and NGOs.
  • GTI also provides an open space, the SDG Solution Space, for events organised by international institutions. GTI is an active member of the Geneva 2030 Ecosystem whose objective is to mobilize the capacity, skills, experience, ideas and motivation of Geneva-based actors towards realizing the 2030 Agenda. GTI participates and contributes regularly to the Ecosystem meet-ups and events.

Highlights from GTI IO/UN Partnerships:

An example of successful collaboration with ILO, UNDP and UN Environment and Global Health Network Uganda: Workshop in Sustainable Human Development

During the spring semester 2019, students of the Master in Innovation, Human Development and Sustainability – specializing in Sustainable Human Development (SHD) – have to identify and analyze a human development challenge, and develop an innovative solution in line with the SDGs. The workshop aims at developing students’ capacity to conduct a policy analysis, potentially including technical aspects. By the end of the semester, they should be familiar with the SDGs guidelines and their spirit as well as capable to create and deal with relevant datasets. This year’s research topics focus on the automation of work and its impact on future job prospects; the Central African Forest Initiative promoting the sustainable use of natural resources; the potential of green infrastructure on poverty alleviation and social inclusion; the humanitarian-development nexus and its relationship to sustainable recovery processes; and the health challenges in villages in Oyam, Uganda.

In 2018, students worked on two projects. One was dedicated to developing a mobile app to help farmers in rural Kenya to better cope with extreme climate events. The other studied the Indonesian platform workers of Go-Jek and came out with a set of policy recommendations and a short movie to raise awareness on issues faced by those workers.

Getting to know Geneva

Following up with news at UNOG