Class Representatives

The class representatives respond to and assist with academic concerns of students, and represent the programme to relevant administrators. If you have any questions about student life at the Institute, please feel free to contact one of our class representatives.


Xiaochuan Yu


Xiaochuan Yu | class 2021-2023


Manuel Leon


Manuel León | class 2020-2022

Master in Development Studies | Student perspectives

Livio Silva


Livio Silva, Brazil | Environment, Resources and Sustainability (class 2019)

What impresses me the most in MDEV is the possibility of breaking disciplinary boundaries while keeping a strong thematic focus. A multi-disciplinary approach to environment or conflict equip us with different lenses and facilitates our understanding of complex real-world situations. In addition, the more skills-oriented components of the program, as workshops, capstone, and the possibility of professional experience in Geneva, contribute to a smoother transition into the policy world. It allows students to test different possibilities as communications, project management, and evaluation in different settings as international organizations, NGOs, or private sector. The curriculum is crafted for students to mix and match according to their career goals on the one hand, and disciplinary and thematic preferences on the other hand.

Tim Buder


Tim Buder, Germany | Conflict, Power & Development (class 2020)

After finishing an LL.M. in International & European law focusing on the protection of human rights, I was eager to acquire a wider knowledge that would enable me to contextualize these legal insights. The interdisciplinary approach valued at the Graduate Institute allows me to fall back on my prior master of laws while making use of new perspectives offered from a wide range of disciplines. After a first semester in which I gained fundamental methodological skills and an overview of the field of study I chose as a Major, the second semester gives me the great flexibility to tailor my chosen track as I perceive best for my future professional plans. The international and inspiring environment in both, the Graduate Institute and the city of Geneva itself, confirmed my assumption that this master in Development studies is the perfect choice for someone who wishes to be prepared for a career in the greater humanitarian sector.

Sunaina Bambra


Sunaina Bambra, India | Mobilities, Spaces & Cities (class 2020)

I came to the Graduate Institute seeking a more empirical approach towards examining the lines that connect social theory to real world development. Formerly having worked in the field of education in India for two years, I always believed that I needed to tether my practical experience with theoretical knowledge. The Graduate Institute granted me the necessary academic authority and nurtured my perceptions towards equality and poverty. Now, as a student of the ‘Mobilities, Spaces and Cities’ track, I seek to enhance the resolution of my understanding of contemporary migration governance, focusing on education of refugees and internally displaced children. The specialised classes on these topics at the Institute have helped me find direction in terms of what my niche is - which is working on the education of girls in South Asian countries. The MINT programme, specifically the Mobilities, Spaces and Cities track has inspired me to examine the lines that create and connect disparities in our age as well as establish a set of practices that will better address these issues in societies globally.



The Mentorship Programme


The Mentorship Programme began as a student-led initiative in 2015. It is designed to support incoming MIA and MDEV students with their transition to life at the Institute and in Geneva. To do so, this programme matches incoming students (mentees) with seasoned second-year students (mentors).
Second-year mentors share guiding experiences with their mentees on topics including (but not restricted to):

  • Planning courses
  • Accessing student services
  • Understanding administrative processes
  • Getting to know the Graduate Institute and Geneva
  • Providing tips for a successful start to the academic year


Apoorva Sekhar


Apoorva Sekhar | Mentorship Coordinator, MDEV

Apoorva is your coordinator for the MDEV programme. She is currently pursuing a specialisation in Power and Conflict at the Institute. She completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology from St. Xaviers College, Kolkata, India. She is from India and her interests include cinema, photography and literature.


Ravini Gunasekera


Ravini Gunasekera | Mentorship Coordinator, MIA

Ravini is your coordinator for the MIA programme. She is currently pursuing a specialisation in Trade and International Finance at the Institute. She completed her undergraduate degree in Economics at University College London. She is from Sri Lanka and her interests include dance and theatre.


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    Student placement after graduation


    Information gathered since 2008 shows that students with a Master in Development Studies have been employed in all four sectors:

    • Our MDEV alumni heavily employed in the public and voluntary sectors, each sector attracting a little more than one-third of our students.
    • Within the public sector, two-thirds of our alumni continue their career path in international organisations; in the voluntary sector, a similar share of alumni is recruited by NGOs.
    • Most of our graduates working in the private sector are employed by SMEs or similar types of companies; one out of four students employed in the private sector works for a consulting firm.
    • 13% of our master's graduates either continued their studies towards a Ph.D. or conducted research work as part of an academic institution.
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    Student Stories

    MDev-Student Pamela Michel Lizarazu talks about her work supporting social development projects in Bolivia.
    Watch how Graduate Institute students support hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
    MDEV student Samita Thapa talks about her experience participating in Hacking4Humanity.
    Hafez Abuadwan talks about life in the Gaza Strip and his path to becoming an MDEV student at the Graduate Institute.
    Agathe Schwaar (Master en études du développement) de l'Initiative Migration, organise des cours de français pour les réfugiés et les requérants d’asile.