Students & Campus
18 November 2021

Mapping out New Places to Call Home

Jarrod Suda has spent the last two years at the Graduate Institute working on two major projects: his master’s degree in International Affairs and an intricate map detailing the place he has called home during that time, Geneva. 

“I first encountered mapmaking at UC Berkeley where I minored in Geographic Information Systems”, said Jarrod. “I took a class called Cartographic Representation where we learned about the aesthetics of maps and how to use Adobe Illustrator to beautifully and clearly communicate data”.

Born and raised in California, Jarrod eventually decided to move to Japan upon completing his bachelor’s degree to work as a teacher and explore his paternal ancestral roots. The mapmaking began when he moved into an unfurnished apartment in Kyoto and was unable to find a poster of the city to decorate the bare walls. “I’ll just make one myself then”, he thought. “It compelled me to paint a map of every city that I call home”.

As he moved to different places, so did his mapmaking. As his craft evolved, he incorporated more “artistic qualities to the science of cartography”. Jarrod was accepted to the Graduate Institute, coming to Geneva in 2019 to learn more about environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact. 

“Disgruntled by the bureaucracy I witnessed in Japan, I turned to entrepreneurship”, explained Jarrod who is finalising his dissertation: Scaling Beauty: Lessons Learned from Swiss Cultural Landscapes. “I hope to apply the lessons I learned from Swiss federalism, Swiss associations, and civil society to Japan’s organisations in order to conserve the beauty of their country’s cultural landscapes”.

While writing his dissertation, Jarrod started a crowdfunding campaign to finance expenses related to printing and shipping his hand-drawn and coloured map of Geneva. The funds would also provide him with a means to remain in Switzerland until the end of 2021 in order to work on a social start-up with classmates to renovate akiyas (abandoned houses in Japan) and “regenerate the lands by establishing and running bio-intensive market gardens”.

In addition, Jarrod has also decided to donate 40% of his campaign’s excess profits to the Graduate Institute’s Solidarity Fund, “to give back in what little way I can”.  

“I applied to the Graduate Institute because I thought its powerful network in Geneva would open up opportunities for me, and it has exceeded my expectations (TradeLab with Professor Pauwelyn, International Business with Professor Evenett, and the Geneva Debate, to name a few)”, said Jarrod. “I learned the most from interactions with our exceptional student body, to whom I am very grateful. I hope my small donation can help to contribute to the rent or health care costs of a student disproportionately impacted by the pandemic”.

Support Jarrod’s Crowdfunding Campaign:
The 45-day all-or-nothing campaign, which may be found on Swiss crowdfunding platform wemakeit, is back by popular demand. A second round of manufacturing will take place! You may fill out this limited-time form by 19 December to buy your products now and pay later.