Levi Heath Maxwell studentMy name is Levi Heath! I am an MAIR student and during summer 2021, I participated in three courses through the Graduate Institute Geneva. The Graduate Institute offers a series of standalone “modules” each summer, each worth 2 ECTS credits (the equivalent of 1 SU credit). This summer, these were all held online. I attended modules on: Cinema, International Relations and Human Rights’ Advocacy; Humanitarianism: Its History and Politics; and The United Nations in a Changing World. Each module consisted of three days of synchronous lectures and class discussions followed by a short final paper, due a week after the last class period. As an MAIR student, I found each of these courses interesting and relevant to my degree.

The professors leading each module supplemented their own lessons with guest lectures from experts, academics, and practitioners whose work connected to the topics of the class. I had the chance to learn from human rights advocates, leaders of NGOs, and career diplomats. For me, the insights these guest lecturers gave into careers in the field of international relations were among the most valuable parts of the classes.

In addition to the professors and guest lecturers, I was able to learn from my fellow students. The Graduate Institute’s summer programs attract students from academic institutions around the world. Mid-career professionals who are not in school are also able participate in the modules as students. This meant that I had classmates from multiple continents and with diverse academic and professional experiences. This created a rich environment for classroom discussion. My classes ranged from about 20 to 50 students. Particularly in the smaller classes, people were able to share insights drawn from their own experiences and ask questions informed by their unique perspectives.

Graduate Institute Geneva
Graduate Institute Geneva

I was particularly interested in taking summer classes through the Graduate Institute Geneva because of their flexibility. During the summer, I also interned remotely with the Carter Center, based in Atlanta. Since the Graduate Institute offers modules throughout the summer, and since each module is only a few days long, I was able to plan my classes around my internship schedule and vice versa. Although I would have loved to attend the classes in-person in Geneva, having the classes online made it easier to balance my class schedule with my internship schedule.

Summer classes at the Graduate Institute Geneva are ideal for someone interning with an organization in Geneva, but if they continue to be offered online, they also work great for someone working part-time elsewhere. The topics of the modules offered change each year, but they are always interesting and relevant. I would recommend Graduate Institute Geneva classes to anyone interested in a career in international relations. Feel free to reach out to me at leheath@syr.edu if you have any questions!

Levi Heath

MAIR, Maxwell School Graduate student