About the Library

Welcome to the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library!


Mrs Davis made a striking impression on all the people who were fortunate enough to meet her due to her kindness, her liveliness of spirit, her unflagging curiosity for world affairs, and her dedication to working towards peace.

Educated at the Madeira School in Washington DC, Mrs Davis received a BA from Wellesley College (cum laude) in 1928 and an MA in international relations from Columbia University in 1931. She pursued her doctoral studies at the Institute with her husband, Shelby Cullom Davis. Both obtained their doctorate in 1934 before going back to the United States, where Shelby Cullom Davis became a banker. They returned to Switzerland thirty years later, following his appointment to the post of United States Ambassador in Bern (1969-1975).

An internationalist at heart and mind. Mrs Davis was exceptional in the support she gave to a higher education open to the world. The Institute greatly benefited from her engagement and generosity. In 2007, she decided to contribute to the construction of the Maison de la paix with a donation of USD 10 million for the library, which bears her name and that of her husband. Since 2007, she also financed four new doctoral scholarships each year, intended for two men and two women, half of whom are students freshly graduated from American universities and the other half students from Muslim countries. Finally, she included the Graduate Institute in her group of American universities participating in the "100 Projects for Peace", which she created on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

Mrs Davis received numerous distinctions, including the Harry Edmonds Award from the International House at Columbia University, the Life Achevement Award from the Women's National Republican Club, the Gold Medal from the National Institute of Social Sciences and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service. Her philanthropic work is carried on by her children, Diana Spencer and Shelby Davis.

As a token of admiration and gratitude, the Institute decided to create the Salon Kathryn-Davis so as to associate the memory of this inspiring woman with a place that offers a venue for meetings and exchanges conducive to the development of an open and cooperative international culture.


We would also like to extend our thanks to the Loterie Romande for its contribution to the Library’s equipment.

Avec le soutien de la Loterie Romande

The Library

Specialised in the field of international relations and development studies, the Library offers valuable collections that reflect the disciplines taught (Anthropology and Sociology, International Economics, International History and Politics, International Law, International Relations and Political Science) and the research areas (Economics, History, Law, Political Science, Social Sciences, etc.) at the Geneva Graduate Institute.

Today, we are an essential partner in study, teaching and research at the Institute, providing services, support, advice and training to our target audiences. Today, we offer expertise on key issues such as Open Access, research data management, impact metrics, citation management software and copyright.


In 2020, our Library joined the Swiss Library Platform (SLSP), including 490 other Swiss academic libraries. Thanks to this important network and its swisscovery catalogue, users have access to over 40 million books, periodicals, journals and non-book materials, as well as millions of electronic articles.

We also offer a varied collection of films, graphic novels and board games, and lend recording equipment to make podcasts, for example.

The Library

Activity Report