International History and Politics

The International History and Politics Department of the Geneva Graduate Institute offers a unique opportunity to study and research today’s global challenges in their historical context. 

International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute

A Unique Programme

Situated in the heart of international Geneva, the International History and Politics Department is ideallly positioned to monitor and examine the making of international policies and the global history that stands behind them.

International Geneva is a hub of constant activity for national and international, public and private actors. Here, peace agreements are signed, international IT protocols are negotiated, environmental advocacy, public health policies, financial, economic, conflict and security issues are imagined, debated, and enforced. This has been the case for over a century, and International Geneva continues to actively shape the future.

The MA and PhD Programs in International History and Politics examine the complex challenges of the 21st century.  We do so by constantly questioning conventional wisdom and by taking into account a multiplicity of national, transnational and global actors and perspectives.  Our wide-ranging and constantly evolving curriculum is exceptionally strong in the areas of politics, development, conflict and security, environment, humanitarianism, commerce and finance, health and culture.



Understand the present, prepare the future


Decolonisation: Then and Now

A special dossier of Global Challenges co-produced by the Department of International History and Politics

Calls to decolonise the international production of knowledge are flourishing. The need to confront the legacies of Eurocentrism has been discussed by scholars and activists since decolonisation and earlier. Failing to register this historical depth may partake in a collective amnesia about the global colonial past.

This special interactive dossier prepared by the Department of International History and Politics in collaboration with the Graduate Institute Research Office delves into the mechanisms and politics of these urgent historical and contemporary issues with a view to examine their complexity and relevance for current research and teaching.

And also a special A Brief History of Decolonisation video by Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou and a Podcast on Decolonising the Psyche by Mischa Suter.

Access the full dossier with more articles here.

Autumn 2022

International History and Politics Forum

Tuesdays: 16:15 - 18:00
Pour l'histoire du temps présent

Fondation Pierre du Bois

A partner organisation of the International History and Politics Department

International History and Politics | Student Perspectives

Farzan Sabet
Farzan Sabet | M.A. (2012) and PhD (2017)

I spent some of the best years of my life completing the International History and Politics masters and Ph.D programmes at the Geneva Graduate Institute.

I was able to pursue my passion for history and politics at a world class institution in Geneva – a hub of international affairs – with leading scholars and smart and diverse fellow students.

The programmes expanded my horizons beyond narrow conceptions of historical and social science ideas. Coursework, papers, and dissertations as well as debates with professors and fellow students were templates for my work today as a researcher at the juncture of history, international politics, and the United Nations.

And, as I advance in life, the International History and Politics and Geneva Graduate Institute networks continue to pay dividends by enriching my professional, social, and intellectual lives.

Mona Bieling
Mona Bieling | M.A. (2017) and PhD Candidate (Class of 2023)

I came to the Institute to follow the MA program in International History and then stayed on for the PhD program as well. During my time at the Institute, I came to appreciate the education I received at the International History and Politics Department for its emphasis on discussion and critical thinking.

Classes at the History department are usually small – I once even had a seminar with only two students! – and they encourage the active exchange among students, as well as with the teaching staff. Moreover, the department’s curriculum is flexible and slightly changes every year to adjust to students’ interests and the development of current affairs. For example, in response to the Russian war against Ukraine, the department will offer two new courses next year that will dive deeper into the history of the post-Soviet space and Russian foreign relations.

Professors at the department stand out for their approachability, be it for a quick informal chat in the department’s kitchen or a longer session discussing research interests and career paths. Most importantly, the History department is a unique space for students who want to shape their own educational experience. The department’s small size and collegiality allow for students’ active input, for example with regards to organizing new event formats or inviting guest speakers and lecturers. As a motivated, creative, and proactive student, you will find the History department to be a space for exponential growth, academically and personally.  

Katharina Fletcher
Katharina Fletcher | M.A. Candidate (Class of 2023)

There are many things that make studying at the Geneva Graduate Institute an enriching and engaging experience, personally I have found the curriculum, the professors, and the countryside to be the most fulfilling elements of my time here with the International History and Politics Department.

The curriculum is one of the most relevant you will find when reading for an MA in history and politics. The modules constantly evolve to reflect the shifting landscape of international politics, ensuring students have a historical perspective on contemporary geopolitics. By focussing on the continuities between the past and the present, the IHP Department feels connected to global developments which I really appreciate in an academic setting. The professors are excellent not just for their expertise on their own subject matter, but also for their ability to advise you in courses beyond their own. I have gone to many professors’ office hours to discuss papers from courses they do not teach and have always received relevant reading recommendations and feedback. The readiness of professors to discuss issues with students in the classroom and in their office hours makes the department a really welcoming and stimulating place.

The department’s emphasis on teaching thematically instead of isolating their modules to specific regions forces a more analytical perspective on history. Tracing how ideas and patterns interlink across different spaces and become reflected in the present ensures you gain a comprehensive understanding for how the complexities of the past clarify the puzzles of the present. On a final note, the accessibility of Swiss nature with the efficient public transport system means that you are provided with many opportunities for walks, runs, hikes, swims, and cycle rides, making the institute a unique place to study.

Shivangi Behera
Shivangi Behera | M.A. (Class of 2022)


I found out about the International History and Politics department through a friend in the Development Studies programme when I was looking for a two-year master’s programme that could provide me with a strong formal training in the discipline. After initial research, this seemed to be the perfect springboard for my career. The department, apart from being historic, boasts of a group of professors who present expertise in a gamut of sub-fields within the discipline.

With the addition of new faculty members in the last two years, the selection of courses offered by the department has only gotten richer. This allowed me to not only diversify my interests but also pursue them meaningfully over a course of time – I was able to plan my semesters with complementary courses for a comprehensive understanding of a topic of my choosing. The possibility of a semester exchange makes the experience of being a part of this department even more interesting. I conducted fieldwork for my thesis in India, which added another dimension of learning during my time at the department.

At the end of two years, my rigorous training makes me feel confident to contribute meaningfully not only to the field of academia but also to policy making, research, and a host of other industries. The possibility of being awarded a full scholarship enriches the entire experience of engaging with the department – my studies at the department was fully-funded and that made a world of difference. 



This episode focuses on the historical impact of the coronavirus and features Professor Mohamed Mahmoud Mohamedou, Chair of the International History and Politics Department; Professor Davide Rodogno; and Efrat Gilad, a PhD candidate.

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Mailing Address

International History and Politics
Maison de la paix
Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2A
Case Postale 1672
CH-1211 Genève 1



The Maison de la paix is located at Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2A, on the corner of Avenue de France. You may take tram 15 until the Maison de la paix stop or, alternatively, walk a few minutes from the stop at Place des Nations. 


INTERNATIONAL HIstory and Politics- April 2022

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Colonial and Racist Heritage in the Monuments of Geneva - A study by Professors Mohamedou and Rodogno for the city of Geneva

HIstories and Politics- April 2021

  • Priya Satia, the Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History in the Department of History of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, discusses her latest book, Time’s Monster – How History Makes History.
  • Professor Amalia Ribi Forclaz explores the relationship between food, agriculture and the development narrative.
  • Visiting Fellow Adam Bence Balazs writes on Lateness as a Political Perspective in Europe.
  • The Department of International History and Politics will be welcoming two Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Eccellenza Professorial Fellows, Dr. Antoine Acker and Dr. Mischa Suter.

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Priya Satia, the Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History in the Department of History of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University discusses her latest book,

HIstories - NOVEMBER 2020

  • Professor Carolyn Biltoft writes on the Myth, Misinformation and the Writing of History.
  • Recent Ph.D. graduate Jonathan Matthew Schmitt discusses History, Law, Nation and the Indigenous Polity.
  • Carlo Eduardo Altamura writes on Historicising the Financial Dimensions of Authoritarianism in Latin America.
  • International History doctoral student Paroma Ghose wins the 2020 Pierre du Bois Prize for Best Doctoral Dissertation in International History.

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Graduate Institute Director Marie-Laure Salles, Paroma Ghose, Pierre du Bois Foundation President Irina du Bois and Professor Mahmoud Mohamedou

HIstories - April 2020

  • The International History Department has introduced ten new courses for its students, with plans to further expand the curriculum.
  • Professor Carolyn Biltoft and colleagues launch a New Academic Journal on History and Economics.
  • Professor Michael Goebel reflects on Urban Socioeconomic Equality and Globalisation. 
  • EUI Fellow Grace Ballor discusses Reconstructing the History of the Single Market.

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Students in Professor Mohamedou and Professor Rodogno's class An International History of Racism

HIstories - October 2019

  • A conversation on the History of International Relations with Robert Vitalis
  • The Pierre Du Bois 2019 Conference tackles Global Capitalism
  • Professor Susanna Hecht discusses Deforestation in the New Authoritarian Era
  • Professors Gopalan Balachandran and Davide Rodogno explain why Student Podcasts are the Way Forward.

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Robert Vitalis at the International History Forum

HIstories - April 2019

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Histories - November 2018


  • Environmental History at the 2018 Annual Pierre du Bois Conference
  • Talking Global History with Professor Michael Goebel
  • Connecting Histories by Professor Gopalan Balachandran
  • Exploring Economic Networks and History with Professor Rui Esteves

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