Geneva Graduate Institute
04 December 2023

From Diplomacy to New Diplomacies: Building on History & Shaping the Future

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva Graduate Institute) is a pioneer institution when it comes to diplomacy for peace, particularly in its multilateral forms. Since its founding in 1927, the Institute has trained leaders and diplomats, and produced first-rate research and academic scholarship that has helped institutions, societies and policy-makers from all parts of the world forge ahead in their sustained action for peace and prosperity.

Acknowledging profound contemporary international and geopolitical transformations and the emergence of important complex and plural dynamics of diplomacy, the Geneva Graduate Institute reaffirms today its pioneer role in the field of diplomacy by launching several new study programmes and initiatives and by deepening its work on this theme across the Institute.

This autumn 2023, the Institute’s Eduqua-certified Executive Education Programme has initiated a new four-module programme on Diplomacy, Negotiation and Policy. This course, which uses applied learning approaches blended with real-world case studies, foresight workshops, policy papers and simulation practice, offers participants a deep dive into the fast-changing national, regional and international diplomatic and policy spheres, allowing graduates to experiment with innovative tools to sharpen negotiation and mediation skills in complex diplomatic and geopolitical situations. This course is accompanied by a new Executive Education Upskill Series offering strategic assets for scientific diplomacy and focusing on critical areas such as the governance of and governing with digital technologies, negotiations with and through, but also around science, and anticipation (both scientific and diplomatic). This advanced curriculum is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the skills and strategies of diplomats and international civil servants as scientific diplomacy becomes an important dimension of their mission.

In parallel, the Geneva Graduate Institute is introducing a Summer School on New Diplomacies. This new course, which will be incorporated in the Institute’s Summer Programme, will take the form of a week-long module explicitly focused on the multiplicity of emerging issues, actors, spaces, technologies, forms and processes characterising the advent of twenty-first century diplomacy(ies). Per an open-enrolment format, participants will be able to either follow this specific programme on its own or combine it with other existing modules on security, humanitarianism, digital technology, democracy and the United Nations.

The Institute is also formalising a research cluster on Diplomacy and Global Governance. Housed alongside the Institute’s Research Office’s other clusters of scientific specialisation, this dedicated theme points to the multi-dimensional work the Institute’s community is engaged in around the new dynamics of diplomacy(ies) – with an exploration of emerging fields, tools and the various actors of new diplomacy(ies), transnational and multistakeholder governance, the future of multilateralism, the transformation of foreign policy and statecraft, private-public partnerships and their development, as well as evolving forms of authority and legitimacy.

Alongside the Master’s and Ph.D. disciplinary programmes in Anthropology and Sociology, International Economics, International History and Politics, International Law and International Relations/Political Science, the recently-revamped Master in International and Development Studies – the Institute’s largest programme of study – now offers seven dedicated thematic specialisations, all of which also delve into generic and specific aspect of the new layered and multiple diplomacies. These are the specialisation tracks in Conflict, Peace and Security; Environment and Sustainability; Gender, Race and Diversity; Global Health; Human Rights and Humanitarianism; Mobilities, Migration and Boundaries; and Sustainable Trade and Finance. One of the compulsory courses in the common core part of the programme, “Global Issues and Perspectives”, devotes fifty per cent of its sessions on discussions that directly deal with questions and aspects of diplomacy and multilateralism.

Adding to its training, educational and research inputs on diplomacy, the Graduate Institute is also involved in the project Tech for Peace funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). This ambitious new initiative represents a strategic intersection of technology and diplomatic efforts, emphasising the role of innovative solutions in fostering global peace and cooperation. In collaboration with key partners, efforts are underway to develop a new syllabus focused on artificial intelligence (AI) diplomacy for diplomatic missions in Geneva. This initiative aims to establish a comprehensive educational framework, recognising the increasing and challenging importance of AI in shaping the future of diplomacy and international engagements. These developments reflect a proactive approach to preparing diplomats and international relations professionals for a world where technology, diplomacy and global governance are now intertwined. The new series, accompanying research and educational activities signify a major step in adapting diplomatic training to meet the demands of twenty-first century global landscape.

With nearly one hundred years of experience in training international diplomats and civil servants, the Institute boasts of continuously contributing to the peaceful exchange between nations. Each year, between 35% and 40% of those who complete their studies at the Institute choose a career in the public sector. Sixty per cent to 65% of them go on to international organisations, while 35% to 40% join governments, ministries and central banks.

Amongst the most recent of those graduates, for instance, is Miguel Carricas Laspalas, first in the 2023 competition of Spanish Diplomacy at 27 years of age while he graduated less than two years ago. Leonie Mädje graduated in September of this year and joined the Icelandic delegation to the European Union (EU) the following month. More senior and more recently seen in the news, Gilles Grin, Térence Billeter and Antonio Hodgers contributed greatly to the success of French President Emmanuel Macron’s November 2023 state visit to Switzerland. Beatrice Schaer, head of the Swiss Federal Protocol, became Consul General in Istanbul, Türkiye, while other Swiss alumni ambassadors took on new postings, such as Stéphane Tomagian (in Tunisia), Félix Baumann (in Ukraine), Gilles Roduit (in Venezuela), David Brown (in Japan) or Salman Bal (in Kazakhstan/Tajikistan), to name but a few. Salman Bal, like Yachar Nafissi-Azar, became a Swiss diplomat after arriving in Switzerland as a refugee and training at the Institute. These alumnae-i testify to the diversity of backgrounds of diplomats trained at the Institute – not to mention other personalities such as the late United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Swiss Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and President of the Swiss Confederation Professor Micheline Calmy-Rey, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Director Rafaël M. Grossi, Michaël Reiterer, Patricia Espinosa, Philipp Hildebrand, Michel Kafando or Mervat Tallawy. The Institute’s new alumnae-i portal, launched in June 2023 offers more news on our alumnae-i and their significant contribution to the diplomatic function.

The Institute’s legacy and work on diplomacy is carried on and being reinforced by the vibrant involvement of our current students in the Junior Diplomat Initiative Switzerland, a student-led organisation aiming to bring aspiring junior diplomats close to the reality of their potential future in the world of diplomacy through interactive engagement. Creating a sustainable, high-quality platform where students can apply their academic experience and engage on the front lines of diplomacy while building lasting connections in the diplomatic community, JDI hosted its Youth Dialogue Conference in May 2022 at the Institute.

The latest Graduate Institute initiatives on diplomacy are driven by a continuous forward-looking study and research on this cornerstone of international affairs with a view to allow new generations of undergraduates (Summer School), graduate students (Master’s) and working professionals from the public and private sphere (Executive Education) to join in and benefit from these programmes and contribute to the needed transformation of diplomatic dynamics in a profoundly changed, complex and uncertain world.

In launching these different programmes at a time when the world is experiencing profound, continuing and mutating crises necessitating new bold thinking, diplomatic savoir-faire, historical knowledge and updated skills, the Geneva Graduate Institute is furthering its near-century-long commitment to the training of the world’s diplomats and policy makers. As Institute Deputy-Director Professor Mohamed Mahmoud Mohamedou and former International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President and Graduate Institute Senior Distinguished Fellow Peter Maurer write in the premiere issue of the Institute’s Geneva Policy Outlook, “If diplomacy must indeed be informed by expertise, science, technology and citizen action, it has, first and foremost, to remain a layered integrator of international interaction; diplomacy is alive and well, but it necessitates adaptation and reinvention.”


For more on the Institute’s work on the new diplomacies, please contact Dan Graham at