The Geneva Debate

The Geneva Debate is an ambitious youth-led project that aims to become the preeminent debate on current affairs and global development in International Geneva.

The Geneva Debate 2022

Can International Geneva lead as a global beacon of hope for peace and development in an era of radical uncertainty? The Geneva Debate answers in the affirmative.

Radical uncertainties loom over the futures of today’s youth: climate change, cyber instability, global inequality, and the erosion of trust. The Geneva Debate was born from the crucible of the visible and invisible threats that occupy the minds of its founders, and their belief that solutions to these collective challenges should be rigorously debated by those who will inherit their results.

You, too, can take center stage to engage in these most crucial debates.



Inaugural Geneva Debate | July 1st, 2021, at Maison de la Paix

The Event

The Geneva Debate ​​showcases the talent of the young generations and attempts to shape the future of International Geneva. Two teams of four students from the Graduate Institute engage in an hour-long debate at la Maison de la paix in front of an online audience and a distinguished panel of judges. A 30 minute post- debate discussion ensues among debaters and members of the jury to reflect the Institute’s intellectual culture of seeking to understand nuanced issues beyond binaries and dogmas. 

The debate motion, which changes every year, always features a problem to be tackled from two perspectives: political philosophy and public policy. The connection between the two fields allows for a dynamic exchange of ideas that - in the spirit of consensus and empathy - will converge into concrete policy ideas. 



Seven student debaters shared the stage with Former President of the Swiss Confederation Ruth Dreifuss and Director Marie Laure-Salles. These bright young minds engaged in a dynamic and most pertinent debate: mandating vaccination for Covid-19. 

The Geneva Debate Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is the organizing body of the Geneva Debate, which is run exclusively by registered students at the Graduate Institute.

International Geneva has played a central role in global peace and humanitarian action for over a century. Almost a hundred years after the founding of the Graduate Institute, a group of students founded the Geneva Debate for conversation and reflection in our institution that responds to the challenges, solutions and ideas that will shape their footprint as future leaders in the 21st century.

Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou
The Geneva Debate is a fresh new project which offers a welcomed opportunity to intelligent and spirited discussion of the current urgent issues of our global age.
Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou
Professor of International History and Politics

The Jury

Members of the jury deliberate on the best speaker of the Geneva Debate and on the winning team of the Geneva Debate, which is awarded the Lafayette Cup.

The prize is called the Lafayette Cup because the Geneva Debate was a product of the Lafayette Society, an initiative that foresaw the creation of the first-ever debate at the Graduate Institute to honor a civic fight for democratic and liberal values. Marquis de Lafayette, who embodies the transatlantic bond that united some of the founding members, inspired the project and the name of the trophy.

The jury for the Geneva Debate 2022 has yet to be determined.

Suerie Moon


Suerie Moon is the co-director of the Global Health Centre and was appointed in 2021 as Professor of Practice for the Interdisciplinary Programmes and International Relations/Political Science. Her work is broadly concerned with the intersection of global governance and public health. Her theoretical contributions to the field include conceptualizing the global health system, defining the functions the system must perform to adequately protect public health, global public goods for health, and identifying the types of governance gaps and power disparities that contribute to health inequity.


Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou


Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is Professor of International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. Previously Associate Director of the Harvard University Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research and Visiting Professor at Sciences Po Paris, he is the author, notably, of a trilogy on the post-9/11 world.


David Sylvan


David Sylvan is a specialist on the organizational form and historical continuity of foreign policy, on parliamentary debates over the military and intelligence agencies, and on the framing of state action by the mass media. He both teaches and publishes on these subjects, as well as on topics ranging from political extremism to social science methodology.


Kritika Khanijo


Kritika Khanijo completed her LL.M in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in 2017 and thereafter worked with leading international organisations. Currently, she is engaged as a legal consultant with the Public Health Law and Policies team at the World Health Organization, where she assists governments on legal issues related to the adoption and implementation of comprehensive tobacco control policies.


Mario Jimenez


Mario Jimenez is a health economist working at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a Swiss-based public-private partnership at the forefront of increasing access to immunisation in low-income countries. Over the past five years, Mario has managed Gavi investments across Pakistan, Sudan and Haiti aiming to protect people from the suffering and disability associated with diseases such as measles, rotavirus, polio and most recently Covid. Previously, he has worked for both private and public organizations such as Thomson Reuters, the United Nations and the Colombian Government. 


The Debate Commission

The Debate Commission is an advisory body to the Geneva Debate that consists of students, faculty, staff, and professionals who convenes on a regular basis to advise and support the Executive Committee on the organization and implementation of Geneva Debate, its affiliated activities, and its partnerships.

The Geneva Debate intends to be a 'big tent' project where the entire Geneva community witnesses future leaders showcase their skills and ideas over issues that interest our city. In this spirit, we foresee and welcome partnerships with local actors to translate their efforts into concrete ideas and contributions under the umbrella of our project.

Application Deadline for Student Debaters: 00 Month 2022

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