From Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners to diplomats, United Nations Secretary-Generals, presidents, entrepreneurs, field workers, professors, researchers and more, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies has been giving its students the foundational means to positively impact the world since 1927.
Established following World War I and with a desire to increase diplomacy worldwide, the Institute de hautes études internationales (HEI), or the Graduate Institute of International Studies, would be the first institution of its kind entirely dedicated to the study of international affairs.
In 2008, HEI merged with the Institut universitaire d’études du développement (IUED), which was formed in 1961 to tackle questions of decolonisation. Formerly known as the Geneva African Institute, IUED examined development issues through an interdisciplinary lens, applying anthropology, ecology, development economics and political sociology to academics, while linking theory with practice.
Now, with the integration of both international and development studies under one roof, the Geneva Graduate Institute is a pioneer in the exploration of global issues, opening creative spaces for diverse communities and fostering the understanding and engagement essential for a peaceful, equitable and sustainable world.
Since its beginnings in 1927 until now, the Institute has grown an international network of over 20,000 alumnae and alumni, who are using the tools they learned during their studies to find solutions to some of the world’s most complex issues, rewriting the future for not only their own generation, but for those to come. As in the words of author Margaret Atwood, “in the end, we’ll all become stories”.
During the annual Alumni Reunion, held on 17 September 2022, the Institute unveiled its inaugural Hall of Fame, which serves as an audio-visual collection of some of the Geneva Graduate Institute’s most illustrious former students.
Certain alumnae and alumni included in the Hall of Fame were present for the unveiling and participated in a discussion revisiting their stories and lifetime achievements. They included: Ms Micheline Calmy-Rey, former President of the Swiss Confederation; Ms Yan Lan, Managing Director of Lazard Bank; Mr Jacques Moreillon, former Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Ms Patricia Espinosa, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and Mr Abdulqawi Yusuf, former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Ms Jessica Byron-Reid, Director of the Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, moderated the panel.
Pictured: Patricia Espinosa, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with students at the inauguration of the Hall of Fame during the annual Alumni Reunion of the Geneva Graduate Institute on 17 September 2022.
This article was published in Globe #30, the Institute Review.