Founding partners

TESS was created in 2021 by two founding partners, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

  • Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

    The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies is an institution of research and higher education dedicated to the study of world affairs, with a particular emphasis on the cross-cutting fields of international relations and development issues.

    The Institute was accredited in 2009 by the Swiss government and has been enshrined in cantonal legislation since 2012 as one of the institutions of higher education supported by the State of Geneva, along with the University of Geneva.

    Critical Thinking, Committed to Society

    The Institute was created in 1927 at the time of the League of Nations. It was then the first academic institution in the world entirely devoted to the study of international affairs. Its vocation is to analyse and stimulate critical thinking in the fields of international relations and development issues through its teaching (master and PhD programmes), research, executive education and public events.

    The Institute fosters interdisciplinary dialogue, drawing on the main social science disciplines (anthropology, development economics, international economics, international history, international relations, political science and sociology), as well as international law.

    Intellectual excellence is at the heart of the Institute’s mission, driven by the conviction that only rigorous enquiry and critical thinking can provide concrete solutions to the world’s challenges. The Institute’s commitment to critical enquiry goes hand-in-hand with its dedication to international cooperation and human solidarity.

    Knowledge that serves students and international actors

    • For students seeking an international career, the Institute equips them with the intellectual and practical means to play leading roles in the world arena, whether in teaching or academic research, national or international public service, not-for-profits or the private sector. This is possible thanks to the Institute’s high-quality faculty, multidisciplinary analysis of global themes and strategic location in Geneva, a hub for global governance.
    • For governmental and non-governmental organisations, the Institute’s research findings help shape and deliver international policy.
    • For professionals working in the international arena, the Institute’s Executive Education programmes allow them to develop successful careers.
    • For an educated public in Geneva and beyond, the Institute’s public events stimulate debate and critical analysis of the world’s major challenges.

    A unique concentration of expertise

    Thanks to its professors and students, notably PhD students; thanks to the three centres created with the University of Geneva (the Geneva Academy, CIDS, CERAH); to the institutions present within the Maison de la paix and its multiple ties with actors in International Geneva (diplomatic missions, international organisations and non-governmental, etc.), the Institute gathers and offers a density of exceptional expertise on the challenges of globalisation.

    The Institute has over 70 professors, 350+ PhD students, and over 50 visiting researchers.

    A global institution

    The Institute’s thematic fields, along with its worldwide academic partnership network, alumni community and Executive Education programmes, make it a truly global institution.

  • United Nations Environment Programme

    The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

    Our mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

    Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, we work through our divisions as well as our regional, liaison and out-posted offices and a growing network of collaborating centres of excellence. We also host several environmental conventions, secretariats and inter-agency coordinating bodies. UN Environment is led by our Executive Director.

    We categorize our work into seven broad thematic areas: climate changedisasters and conflictsecosystem managementenvironmental governancechemicals and wasteresource efficiency, and environment under review. In all of our work, we maintain our overarching commitment to sustainability.

    Our work is made possible by partners who fund and champion our mission. We depend on voluntary contributions for 95 per cent of our income.

    Every year, we honour and celebrate individuals and institutions that are doing outstanding work on behalf of the environment.

    We also host the secretariats of many critical multilateral environmental agreements and research bodies, bringing together nations and the environmental community to tackle the greatest challenges of our time. These include the following:

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