Understanding Islamist Movements: Historical Roots and Current Realities
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 course is an intense program on environmental governance, sustainability and energy dynamics across the globe.
During this program participants will study new sets of risks associated with these global dynamics of change and energy development by engaging with representatives from key international institutions.
The program is taught by faculty from UNIGE and renowned partner universities.
Lectures will be held at Geneva-based governmental and non-governmental international organizations ( eg. UN, World Economic Forum, IRCA, WTO, WHO and UNEP etc.).
This program delves deep into current international deliberations and their impacts on societies and cities.
Students will discover the role, significance and contribution of Geneva to global circuits of change.
Equivalence of 6 ECTS credits (45-60 hours of lecture)
Understanding the interconnectedness of global and local challenges related to environment, energy and risk
Overview of key research findings and governance experience
Insight into selected research methods and analytical tools
Knowledge about how international organisations and local players engage themselves and what drivers and barriers are
Experience in interacting with experts and peers from various backgrounds
Training of skills in discussion of complex issues, presentation and written reporting
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.