Migration Initiative


Who we are

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 catalyse 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 Graduate Institute of Geneva (IHEID), we are open to engaging with any organisations, initiatives, or individuals who hold to principles in line with our own.

Our Values and Vision

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

  • 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


Ongoing 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.

  • Roundtables

We aim to promote discussion about migration and refugee issues in an engaging way, and so hold various roundtables for students at IHEID as well as the wider Geneva community. Roundtables can include informal discussions, film screenings, presentations by experts, and other similar forums.

We also aim to support students with an academic interest in migration though collaborative research support networking and advice.

  • 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, you can contact the project directly at scholarship.mi@gmail.com.

  • Fundraising

    • We regularly try to raise funds for charitable projects around the world which support migrants and refugees. We host roughly one large fundraising event a semester, donating funds to worthy organisations and NGOs.

  • Volunteering

    • 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: https://essaimdaccueil.weebly.com/ or facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/essaimdaccueil/?ref=br_rs

Contact us 

Everyone is welcome to get involved with our mission and our projects! If you are interested please contact us on our facebook, or email address listed below.


Email: gisa.migrationinitiative@graduateinstitute.ch

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram