Our Founder and President

Dr. Colum de Sales Murphy, a native of Irelandserved the United Nations and International Community for more than 32 years. He has served on the staff of several Secretaries-General of the United Nations and worked for years in the UN Security Council and in peacekeeping. He is a specialist not only in human rights but in negotiations in conflict areas. He served the cause of peace in a number of wars – including in Somalia, Liberia and in Bosnia.

As UN Deputy Head of Political Affairs inside Bosnia, Murphy negotiated the Winter Ceasefire and later, the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Bosnia in 1994. He spent a total of four years in Bosnia and his book: Aza Beast’ – Attacking the Roots of War ‘won world-wide acclaim. Reviewing and praising the book in Foreign Affairs, Harvard’s Stanley Hoffmann described Murphy as “a deeply moral man”.

Dr. Murphy was educated at University College Dublin, at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (master’s degree) and at the University of Geneva (doctorate in International Relations). As a professor at numerous universities, Murphy has taught courses such as “Human Rights in the Past and in the Future”; Human Rights and Surviving the 21st Century”; “the Origins of War and Peace”; “Building Harmony Between East and West”; Human Rights and the North/South, East/West Divide”.


The Geneva School of Diplomacy & International Relations was founded by Dr Murphy, an experienced diplomat, in 2003. GSD opened its doors with, in the first year, eleven Master’s degree students. At the beginning of Year 4 GSD had already educated some 134 students. Numbers have increased each academic year. Some six of GSD’s doctorate students are serving ambassadors to the United Nations. Among GSD’s honorary doctorates are one President of a country, one former Prime Minister and one winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace. It can therefore be understood that while GSD is relatively “new”, its President and faculty are actually long-time well-known figures in the diplomatic world and international community.

The legal status of GSD is a Société Anonyme incorporated under Swiss Law, authorised by the Department of Public Instruction of Geneva, and EduQua certified.

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