Does welfare spending reduce poverty? Does the minimum wage destroy jobs? Does trade liberalisation increase inequality? Does development aid really help poor countries? Do longer sentences reduce crime? Policy makers around the globe are confronted with these questions on a daily basis and effective policy interventions can only be designed with good answers.
Measuring and understanding the effect of policies is now more important than ever in any field, from development to labour, from finance to education and beyond. The Geneva Summer School in “Evaluating Policy Interventions” offers students a comprehensive understanding of the most advanced techniques of policy evaluation through a powerful combination of theoretical classes and applied examples.
The faculty is a mix of internationally renowned academics and policy analysts working in the most influential international organisations and public administrations from around the globe.
This course asks how we should understand the various political movements that claim to act in the name of Islam. What do the Islamic State and the various affiliates of al-Qaeda in the Middle East have in common with each other, or with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, among others? What distinguishes these movements from the Taliban in Afghanistan or Boko Haram in West Africa? Why do some of these groups act or inspire others to carry out attacks in Europe and North America? To what extent can they be explained in political terms, and what exactly is the role of religion? How do they compare with non-Islamic terrorist or revolutionary movements?
This course will address these and other questions by going beyond the conventional geopolitical and Western journalistic perspectives. We will examine the historical roots of political Islam, trace the origins of the movement known as Salafism and the changing uses of the term jihad. We will also look in depth at the discussions that Islamists have amongst themselves, how they see themselves and what they stand for. We will look at the jihadist poetry and the religious debates they conduct between themselves, as well as ask how people in the affected regions, especially writers and intellectuals, view the movements. Finally, there will be sessions addressing practical questions, such as how do Islamist groups acquire their weapons, and how does the global oil market affect Islamism?
Interdisciplinary by its very nature, the course is taught by distinguished faculty in a variety of fields from Europe and the United States, as well as experts from the international community in Geneva.
The course will treat the following topics, among others:
The origins and nature of Salafism
The changing uses of the term “jihad.”
Arab intellectuals’ views on religion and Islamic movements
The Iranian Revolution and its legacy
The View from Moscow: Russia and Islam; Russia and the Middle East
The poetry of the Islamic State; How do jihadists represent themselves?
Arms and ammunition: How do groups get their weapons?
This summer school provides participants with an understanding of the main stakes and questions in humanitarian action and contributes to building critical thinking.
The first week introduces the main concepts of humanitarian aid – including elements that should be considered (or not) when defining humanitarian action – and presents the humanitarian principles and framework in which assistance activities take place. Besides history, law and geopolitics of humanitarian action, we also analyse the context and the characteristics of humanitarian crises and the various types of responses.
Through case studies from contexts such as Philippines, Syria, Haiti or Afghanistan, the main operational challenges faced by international and national organisations will be identified during the second week. Finally, working on a concrete scenario during two days, participants will partially experience the tasks undertaken by humanitarian workers and get the opportunity to practically apply their newly acquired knowledge.
Overall, the three weeks allow participants to capture the complexity and diversity of humanitarian action.
Assessments are based on active participation and an assignment carried out during the two days. Upon successful completion of the course, participants are evaluated based on a group presentation on the last days of the two-weeks summer school (equivalence of 4 ECTS). Students wanting to acquire 6 ECTS have the opportunity to do so on the basis of a satisfactory take-home paper, to be written within a week after the end of the summer school.