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The Geneva Challenge
October 01, 2022

The 2022 Advancing Development Goals International Contest for Graduate Students aims to present innovative and pragmatic solutions to address the challenges of poverty reduction.

Eager to stimulate reflection and innovation on development from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives and with the generous support of Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, the Graduate Institute has launched in 2014 the Advancing Development Goals Contest, an international competition for Master students.

The idea is to gather contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between three to five enrolled master students from anywhere in the world.

Five prizes will be distributed; one in each of the following categories (based on the UN Statistics list):

Universities located in Africa
Universities located in Asia
Universities located in Europe
Universities located in North America and Oceania
Universities located in South America


Today more than 700 million people around the world still live in extreme poverty. Recent estimates from the World Bank show that there has been a historic increase in poverty due to the COVID pandemic. 97 million people fell into extreme poverty (under $ 1.90 per day) in 2020.

Poverty manifests itself through multiple ways including hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education, health and other services, social discrimination and exclusion and a lack of participation in decision making. Clearly, the complex endeavour of overcoming global poverty remains a pressing issue. Poverty alleviation efforts are also an essential part of realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In light of this, the ‘Advancing Development Goals Contest’ calls upon graduate students from around the world to develop innovative interdisciplinary solutions that address the global challenges of poverty reduction.

Submissions are evaluated by an interdisciplinary academic steering committee that will select three submissions per category to be published on the competition's website and then reviewed by an independent jury of experts with academic, governmental and private sector backgrounds.

Five finalist teams, one team per continent, will be invited (complying with COVID-19 restrictions; travel and accommodation expenses covered) to an oral presentation in Geneva, where they will defend their ideas and answer questions from the jury and the public. The finalists will also be invited to an awards ceremony where the contest results will be announced, preceded by a high-level keynote speech.


Registration deadline: April 20th 2022
Submission deadline: July 13th 2022
Announcement of semi-finalists: August 2022
Announcement of finalists: September 2022
Final presentation & award ceremony: October/November 2022