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Migration Initiative

The Migration Initiative was founded in February 2016 by a group of students concerned about migration issues in the modern world. The initiative aims to catalyze student and community engagement with migrants in Geneva, as well as across the world including places like Lesvos, Idomeni and Calais. While the Migration Initiative is based out of the Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID), we are open to all organizations, initiatives, or individuals who hold to principles in line with our own.

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Our Mission

As mobility is a human phenomenon, we acknowledge that we are all migrants. We believe that all human beings deserve the same rights and dignity, and we promote respect of all people in forced or voluntary migration, in their individuality and diversity.


Through a variety of projects, we wish to open a space for critical reflection on human mobility, and facilitate inter-personal exchanges between students – and civil society more generally – and migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. We believe that personal change and mind opening is the first step towards a better future society.

Our goals are to:

  • Defend migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and other victims of forced displacement rights and denounce inhumane anti-migrant policies

  • Create a platform for exchanges of knowledge and experience to generate new ideas and promote reflection

  • Raise awareness and open a more human perspective on current migration issues

  • Get students engaged with the concrete reality of migration, and reinforce the link between Swiss civil society and migrant communities

  • Promote and participate in the integration of affected groups in Geneva through a variety of social projects


French and English Classes


We organize free language classes for migrants and refugees in Geneva, for beginners and intermediate levels.

Intensive Summer French course at the Graduate Institute: in collaboration with the Migration Initiative, the IHEID has opened its 3-weeks French course
for incoming international students to refugees living in Geneva.


If you are interested in this project, contact us at or

Refugee Scholarship at IHEID

The Migration Initiative has successfully lobbied for IHEID to facilitate the provision of scholarships for refugees to attend IHEID and further their studies. Currently the scholarship is available to refugees who have already received a residence permit in Switzerland and meet the academic requirements of entry. The Migration Initiative continues to collaborate on promotion of this scholarship and assists candidates with their applications.


If you are interested in helping with advocacy for these scholarships, or if you are a refugee in Switzerland who would like to know more information about the scholarship, contact the project directly at



We encourage students to volunteer in Geneva, in their home countries, and around Europe to assist in migration contexts. We try to gather information about volunteering opportunities and experiences in order to try to create a network of available volunteering options for students.


In Geneva, we share a close partnership with Essaim d’Accueil (which in fact began as a project of the Migration Initiative), a voluntary organisation which aims to create ties between migrant and local populations, and to help new asylum seekers and refugees feel welcomed in Switzerland. Essaim d’Acceuil organises regular events and meetings between locals, students, migrants and refugees. If you are interested in their work, please see their website: or facebook page:


We'd love for you to join us!

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