The Geneva Challenge

Eager to stimulate reflection and innovation on development from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives and with the generous support of Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, the Graduate Institute has launched in 2014 the Advancing Development Goals Contest, an annual international competition for Master students.

Every year, the participants are invited provide contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a specific relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between three to five enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.



The Advancing Development Goals Contest is a worthy and important initiative and will encourage and inspire young students to be key agents for development and peace

High Patron of the Advancing Development Goals Contest





The Geneva Challenge through Numbers

The essence and strength of the Geneva Challenge lie in its diversity and interdisciplinary nature. Over the past decade, the Geneva Challenge has gathered more than 10,000 graduate students divided into 2,153 teams, reaching in more than 200 universities and representing more than 100 nationalities every year from all regions of the world.


THE CHALLENGES OF youth empowerment


Today, there are 1.8 billion youth, the largest generation of young people in history.  As the late Kofi Annan, former High Patron of the Geneva Challenge, noted, “Any society that does not succeed in tapping into the energy and creativity of its youth will be left behind.”

Young people, however, face many barriers to their empowerment. For instance, more than 333 million children live in extreme poverty and 1 billion lack access to safe drinking water and nutritious food. Two hundred fifty million children were out of school in 2023 and 600 million lacked basic literacy and numeracy. Unequal access to technology during the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated inequalities in access to education – and youth unemployment continues to climb. Furthermore, climate change is expected to impact today’s youth and future generations particularly.

We hope that graduate students from around the world will embrace the opportunity to devise innovative solutions for these many challenges, taking an interdisciplinary approach to tackle the pressing issues of youth empowerment.


Registration deadline:  May 19, 2024 at 23:59 CET.

Submission deadline: July 14, 2024 at 23:59 CET.



A Retrospective of the Advancing Development Goals International Student Competition
GVA challenge 10th Anniversary Report
The Geneva Challenge

10th Anniversary Report