The 2024 Advancing Development Goals International Contest for Graduate Students aims to present innovative and pragmatic solutions to address the challenges of youth empowerment

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

The idea is to gather contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between three to five enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.

Learn more about the contest here

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.

Learn more about this year's topic

Call for Proposals

Learn more about the contest

Rules and Regulations 2024