Message from our Dean

The state of the world today remains challenging with over 68 million people forcibly displaced by conflicts and persecution. Multiple conflicts and proxy wars are on the rise again. Wars have to stop and for that multilateral diplomacy has to, once again, do more to build peace and security that would enable people to return home in safety and dignity.


Diplomatic dialogue, consultations and mediation with all parties to the conflict is the only answer to resolve and prevent wars, and conflicts and work towards a political solution. This has to be conducted in a style that is politically and culturally sensitive, respecting impartiality and addressing the different perspectives that shape our world. I am privileged and honored to be part of the GSD faculty and have introduced a concept of Real Diplomacy by Dialogue, that I have used in my UN career to address the above challenges in our troubled world.


Geneva is strategically located, a city on the shores of Lac Leman, between the Alps and the Jura, that is home to the ICRC (1863), ITU (1865), ILO (1919), the League of Nations (1920) and now the United Nations (1945) along with other international organizations. Geneva School of Diplomacy is the only institution in the region that specializes in diplomacy and international relations. Its location, within the heart of diplomatic Geneva, makes it exclusive as it enables students to be part of the international civil society. During or after school hours, students interact with philanthropists, diplomats, UN international civil servants and members of the NGO and media communities. While this is not New York, Paris or London, Geneva is the largest UN presence (duty station) in the world. It is recognized by the international community as the “humanitarian hub”. It is also a city where political negotiations, diplomatic dialogues and consultations take place in a discreet Calvinistic style.


GSD is a result-based institution. It is a career-oriented and accredited private institution in the Swiss education system. It hosts exchange students from reputable universities and an outstanding alumni network composed of several world leaders and prominent personalities in diplomacy and international relations. In its 15 years of existence, GSD provides complete higher education (BA, MA, PhD, EMIR). Its faculty is extraordinary with its past work experience in international politics and diplomacy. Students learn from “hands-on” experience rather than just textbooks. GSD’s gender-based and diversified student body is kept well informed about the current geo-politics and world affairs. They also witness and learn from some of the ongoing consultations and negotiations on conflict resolution in the city. Students have ample opportunities as well to engage in extra-curricular activities, including attending seminars, lectures, think tanks and debates in the city. When world leaders and dignitaries visit GSD, students have the opportunity to participate in these events. GSD works with students on their motivation and commitment and prepares them for a career in bilateral or multilateral diplomacy. GSD has direct liaison with international organizations that benefit students with internship possibilities. Having started my career in the UN, right after graduating from a similar university in New York, I am always available to the students who would wish to consult me on their studies, internships or career goals.

Professor Dr. Athar Sultan-Khan

Dr. Sultan-Khan is currently the Special Advisor on Diplomatic Matters to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Prior to that, he served as Chef de Cabinet to three consecutive High Commissioners at UNHCR and held a succession of positions in UNHCR in the field and at Headquarters. His progressive experience with UNHCR provided him with an authoritative knowledge of diplomatic protocol, keen political awareness and skillful use of multilateral diplomacy in politically complex and sensitive situations of forcibly displaced people. Dr. Sultan-Khan’s renowned contribution to humanity is based on his unique mastery of refugee issues garnered over the last three and a half decades.