Initiatives: Academic


The place of environment in international studies

Few educational institutions offer courses that meet the interdisciplinary needs of the international community. For the environment, a new Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies working in concert with University of Geneva is designed to fill that gap.

In 2008 the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (IUED) will fuse with the Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI) to create a center of excellence on the environment known as the new Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID). IUED's Marc Hufty, Jacques Grinevald and Pascal van Griethuysen, all professors at the Institute, observe: «There is a tremendous opportunity to create a center for learning on environment and development. Such centre should keep a focus on working with scholars from the South.»

Randall Harbour, Executive Secretary of the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN) adds: «There is a fabulous opportunity in Geneva for teaming individuals who have a wealth of experience, expertise and talent in various disciplines and institutions. This potential needs to be further exploited. With current outputs being restricted to training manuals or policy-relevant papers, future emphasis will be placed on developing curricula for teaching and training in global studies. Such an approach will promote greater understanding of the most salient challenges facing humankind, encourage mutual understanding among academics and practitioners working in institutions that have very different midsets and prepare the next generation of scholars.»

The range of expertise on tap includes, apart from all the organizations featured in this booklet, the University of Geneva's faculties of law, economic, social and physical sciences, the Geneva University Centre for the Study of Energy Issues (CUEPE), the Laboratory for Freshwater Ecology and the scientists of the Botanic Garden and Conservatory of the City of Geneva and many others.

In addition, UNEP, UNITAR and the University of Geneva have developed, under the leadership of Professeur Beat Bürgenmeier, Director CUEH (Centre for Human Ecology and Environmental Sciences), University of Geneva, and Frits Schlingemann, Senior Adviser, UNEP, Geneva, an Environmental Diplomacy Program drawing on the unique concentration of institutional resources and experience in the Geneva area. A first training course, including two weeks intensive training, was held in 2006, successfully introducing and teaching 30 present and future policy and decision makers from 27 countries practical skills and techniques.