Students & Campus
06 February 2023

The Geneva Challenge 2023: Innovative Solutions to the Challenges of Loneliness

The Geneva Challenge brings together graduate students from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives to provide innovative and pragmatic solutions to some of the world’s complex challenges. This year, we welcome master students to address the challenges of loneliness.

The Geneva Challenge is a project funded by Swiss Ambassador Jenö Staehelin and supported by the late Kofi Annan, who was the high-patron of the contest. This international competition for master students aims to stimulate interdisciplinary problem solving and analysis. Open to teams of three to five students from all academic programmes and from anywhere in the world, the theme for the 10th edition is “The Challenges of Loneliness”.

"Modernity, Emile Durkheim warned us a long time ago, comes with individualisation and the risk of weakening social bonds. Anomie, as he called this phenomenon, is only being reinforced, we now understand, by the rapid virtualisation of our world. Durkheim made the connection between anomie and higher rates of suicide. Today, it is clear that our anomic societies produce structural forms of loneliness, with a multiplicity of associated ills for individuals and societies. Loneliness has been shown to increase psychological and physical health problems, and to reduce the chances for social and economic integration. Hannah Arendt even argued that 'loneliness prepared men for totalitarian domination' as 'people lost contact with their fellow men' and hence the 'capacity of both experience and thought'. While we rarely think about it, loneliness is therefore one of those structural keys on which we could act with the objective of addressing a multi-dimensional set of urgent challenges".

Marie-Laure Salles, Director of the Geneva Graduate Institute


"Possible solutions to this global challenge call for an interdisciplinary approach. We are very much looking forward to receiving project proposals from graduate students from around the world", adds Professor Martina Viarengo, Chair of the Academic Steering Committee of the Geneva Challenge.

In light of all this, the Advancing Development Goals Contest calls upon graduate students from around the world to develop innovative interdisciplinary solutions that address the global challenges of loneliness. 

For the Geneva Challenge 2022, 279 teams composed of 1,065 graduate students from 90 different nationalities registered to take part. Building on this success, we invite students from around the world to register before 23 April 2023 for this year’s edition.

Five finalist teams, one per continent, will be invited (travel and accommodation expenses covered) to give an oral presentation of their projects before a panel of high-level experts at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. The winning project will be awarded CHF 10,000, the two teams in second place will receive CHF 5,000 and the two teams in third place, CHF 2,500.

Discover more information on the Geneva Challenge 2023.