Excursion to Geneva – Getting in touch with international development organizations supported by the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD

As part of the elective course “Development Cooperation” MIDE students have the chance to travel to Geneva, visit the biggest international organizations there and get to know their day-to-day activity close at hand. 

This years’ excursion took place between 27.11 and 29.11.17 and it was generously funded by the DAAD. The MIDE students were accompanied by Dr. Detlef Kotte, an economic researcher and former director of the department “Macroeconomics and Development Policies” at the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development, as well as the program manager, Ms. Plamena Georgieva.

With the implementation of the seminar, the program management pursued the goal of deepening the student's previous knowledge of international development organizations. In particular, the responsibilities of the organizations visited (WTO, UNCTAD, ILO, UNHCR),  as well as current issues of international development and development cooperation and the role of Germany in this context, were discussed in the seminar. As part of the program, students visited local facilities and held additional discussions with experts working there.

After arriving in Geneva on 27.11.2017, the group visited the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the afternoon. The lecture and the following discussion focused on the role of UNHCR and the current importance of the organization. After the UNHCR visit, the MIDE students undertook a political-historical tour of the city of Geneva. This led past buildings of relevant institutions of international cooperation, introducing, on one hand, the importance of Geneva in the development scene and, on the other hand, the importance of development policy issues for Geneva.

The next day, a visit to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was on the agenda. After a brief introduction to the role of the WTO, a very lively and interactive discussion developed between the student group and the WTO speaker, especially on the following topics:

  • Entree to the WTO and access to the various bodies,
  • Benefits of WTO membership for developing countries,
  • Are developing countries disadvantaged in international trade negotiations and trade disputes? How is the WTO handling these issues?
  • Cooperation of the WTO with other international organizations.

In the afternoon of the same day, the student group visited the International Labor Organization (ILO). For four hours, the students discussed the responsibilities of the organization, as well as current issues of international development procedures and relations.

The next day there was a visit to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the program. The UNCTAD speaker presented the history of the organization and its connection to other international organizations (UN, WTO, IMF, World Bank). The core of the lecture and subsequent discussion was on the goals of the organization, its activities and the support of important UN member states such as Germany or the USA.

The subsequent tour of the United Nations' "Palais des Nations" rounded off the visit to UNCTAD.

The objectives of the seminar were implemented to the greatest satisfaction of the program management, as well as the MIDE students. The seminar, thus, extended the students' knowledge of the role of international organizations and their interactions. In particular, the opportunity to discuss current economic and political issues, as well as the practical encounters with local actors was highlighted as particularly positive by the MIDE students.

We would like to thank the DAAD for making this excursion possible and supporting such networking activities.