Our 2022 Annual Report

12 June 2023

2022 was an important year for the Geneva Academy, marking our 15th anniversary. It provided an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments and impact and to celebrate this milestone with our community and partners. However, 2022 was also a year focused on the future and marked by numerous innovations in both our educational programmes and research.

‘The year 2022 was a stark reminder that armed conflicts can erupt anywhere and at any time, destroying the lives of millions of individuals and jeopardizing peaceful relations between states on a global scale. Our mission at the Geneva Academy is precisely to provide protection to victims of armed conflicts and other situations of violence and to help societies successfully transition from war to peace. Unlike humanitarian organizations or human rights NGOs, we do not provide food or shelter, nor do we engage in protection dialogue with belligerent parties or carry out advocacy work. As an academic institution, we build and transfer knowledge in the interconnected fields of international humanitarian law, human rights and transitional justice’ underlines Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.

Our 2022 Annual Report provides an overview of our activities, highlights, outputs and impact for the past year.

Some 2022 Highlights

The 13 highlights of our 2022 Annual Report detail our key achievements, work and outputs for the past year. These relate to our master’s programmes, executive education, research, Geneva Human Rights Platform and participation in key processes and discussions on international humanitarian law, human rights and transitional justice.

We take you through some of them and invite you to discover the others in the report!

Our Experts and Resources on Ukraine

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, our experts, faculty, research and events have strived to shed light on the many legal issues and challenges related to the war. These expert views, public events, articles and interviews in the media are featured on a dedicated, regularly updated page on the Geneva Academy website.

We have also benefited, as of September 2022, from in-house expertise on Ukraine by hosting Dr Nataliia Hendel, Professor of International Law at the International Humanitarian University in Odesa, under the Scholars at Risk programme. Dr Hendel, who fled Ukraine, is now pursuing her research on the protection of the environment during armed conflicts, with a focus on Ukraine, at the Geneva Academy.

Professor Marco Roscini Joined us as our New Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law

As our new Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law (Swiss IHL Chair), Marco Roscini – Professor of International Law at the University of Westminster and an expert on the international law of armed conflict, the use of force and international cybersecurity law – took up this position from Professor Robin Geiss who has been appointed Director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research by the UN Secretary-General.

As Swiss IHL Chair, Professor Roscini leads our research on the digitalization of armed conflict.

Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict Moves Entirely Online

As of September 2022, our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict has been delivered entirely online – a move prompted by a growing interest among humanitarian and human rights practitioners working in conflict-related contexts to upgrade their legal skills and follow the programme.

Designed for professionals with demanding jobs and responsibilities, this programme provides a solid legal background to address the multiple challenges that arise in humanitarian emergencies, human rights negotiations or criminal proceedings. An easy and interactive online platform allows participants to interact with professors and peers during classes, access all the course materials and readings and watch or rewatch a course recording.

Developing our Students’ Professionalizing Activities

With dedicated staff in our Student Office to develop professionalizing activities and career advice, students enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law now benefit from an increased and more diverse offer of internships during the second semester that allows them to acquire unique first-hand professional experience with leading humanitarian, human rights and transitional justice actors.

Our new Coordinator of Professionalizing Activities also provides one-to-one career advice and counselling, group sessions that offer general advice on seeking employment and planning a career, exchanges with alumni about career paths in international organizations, NGOs, government or academia, access to job offers, as well as soft-skills training.

‘Our master’s programmes are recognized as world-leading professionalizing qualifications in their field. In my role as Professionalizing Activities Coordinator, I reinforce this position by further supporting, advising and coaching our students as they plan their careers and engage with the professional community. I notably coordinate the much valued ‘intra academic course’ internships, liaise with our international organization and NGO partners regarding these internships, provide career support and coaching, coordinate the alumni network and also set up some useful cross-functional skills training’ says Gregory Pasche.

Dr Erica Harper Joins the Geneva Academy as Head of Research and Policy Studies

As our new Head of Research and Policy Studies, Dr Harper leads our research and policy studies. Having worked in academia, UN agencies and NGOs in Timor Leste, Indonesia, the Philippines, Jordan, Ethiopia and Somalia, she brings to the position extensive expertise in international criminal law, international human rights law, IHL and post-conflict governance, as well as solid experience in policy and programming.

‘Our research agenda is evolving in an anticipatory manner, to respond to current challenges as well as future trends. In 2022. We invested resources in several rapidly evolving and complex areas, including how accountability processes are being impacted by the advent of open source intelligence and how emerging digital technologies are changing the nature of armed conflict’ explains Dr Harper.

New IHL Expert Pool

Launched in 2022, the IHL Expert Pool (IHL-EP) – composed of thematically and geographically representative experts in the field of IHL – works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work by providing expert advice on priority IHL themes on a solicited and non-solicited basis.

During the year, the IHL-EP provided advice to six human rights bodies at both regional and international levels on critical IHL issues including conflict and the right to food, mercenary-related activities from the standpoint of IHL and the over-extension and misuse of IHL in counter-terrorism operations. As part of the activities of the IHL-EP, an amicus curiae brief has been filed in the case Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

The Training Hub: Building Capacity in the International Human Rights System

Launched in 2021, the Geneva Human Rights Platform (GHRP) Training Hub took off in 2022 and conducted seven training courses on both the functioning of UN human rights mechanisms and topical human rights issues like the protection of the environment and freedom of opinion and expression.

Aimed at building capacity in the international human rights system, its use and impact on various policy areas, these courses took place in Geneva, online and in the field, and trained more than 100 participants from UN agencies, NGOs, national human rights institutions and governments.

2022 Facts and Figures

33 staff

35 professors and lecturers

2 Chairs

3 master’s programmes

More than 100 students from 51 countries

26 scholarships

More than 1,100 alumni

25 training and short courses attended by more than 300 participants

15 research projects around 4 priority areas

24 publications

9 initiatives of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

More than 80 events

More than 60 partnerships

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