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Political and Economic Inequality: Concepts, Causes and Consequences

The next SNIS Biennial Conference, hosted by the Center for International and Comparative Studies (ETHZ / University of Zürich), will take place on 28-29 January 2016 in Zürich (Audimax, ETH Zürich).

The conference will address the topic of political and economic inequalities, its concepts, causes and consequences. It will shed light on aspects that have so far been relatively neglected, namely the role of politics, social categories and the spatial context. The conference will look closer to three specific contexts within which inequality poses a major challenge: contexts of developed and developing countries, and within the European Union.

The keynote address will be delivered by Prof. Branko Milanovic, City University of New York.

View conference page



70th Annual General Assembly Debate; United Nations, New York  Photo # 648068  UN Photo/Cia Pak

The SNIS is currently launching the call for projects for 2016. The SNIS offers project grants up to CHF 300'000 for pluri-disciplinary research in international studies.

To be eligible for funding, project proposals must qualify as international studies and include experts from different scientific backgrounds. In this regard, the SNIS strongly encourages collaborations with international and non-governmental organisations. The call for projects is open to professors and postdoctoral researchers employed by Swiss institutions of higher education and research (qualifying institutions are listed here). Thematically, submitted projects can deal with the general field of international studies or the special theme 2016: Implementing the sustainable development goals. The submission deadline for the first submission round of pre-proposals is 13 January 2016.

view detailed submission criteria and information on how to submit a pre-proposal
view projects accepted for funding in the previous call


After a successful journey throughout the world and screenings at various events, debates and as teaching support in universities and classes, the documentary “Rubber in a Rice Bowl” is now released and publicly available for viewing in its original, full length version (34”, in English and Khmer, with English subtitles). Further language versions with subtitles in French and Italian will soon be available also on the SNIS youtube channel. “Rubber in Rice Bowl” addresses the topic of the current rubber boom and how it affects livelihoods and food security through the voices of the local population. It further raises the question as to how the local community takes part in the process of the agrarian transition driven by large scale rubber companies and to what extent it can benefit from the transformation. It tells the story of Cambodian farmers in a time of rapid change. The documentary is based on the research project on the effects of large-scale acquisitions in Southeast Asia, led by Dr Christophe Gironde, IHEID.

view the film

read more about the film

A general view of Ariana Park headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. 31 July 2013. Photo by Jean-Marc Ferré

The Jury of the “International Geneva Incubator Workshops” has selected three workshops that will receive grants up to CHF 5000 each. The winning workshop proposals bear all strong potentials for future research and a subsequent project submission. Following workshops in the field of international studies will be supported:

Geneva’s Impact on Sustainable Development Goals Implementation
organised by the University of Geneva and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

« Like-mindedness » in International Trade
organised by the University of St. Gallen, the University of Zurich and the World Trade Organization (WTO)

The UN Agenda on Business & Human Rights and the Role of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
organised by the University of Zurich (Centre or Human Rights Studies) and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The workshops will take place at the beginning of 2016.

read detailed information

Trade, Land Acquisitions And The Right To Food... par fifdhgeneve

The high level debate “Trade, Access to Land and Right to Food” took place on 18 September 2015 at the Swiss Pavilion of the Universal Expo of Milano, following the screening of the movie “Rubber in a Rice Bowl”. The event was organised by the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), in partnership with the City of Geneva. The speakers included Jean Ziegler (former UN Rapporteur on the Right To Food and Member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council), Victor Do Prado (Director of the Council and Trade Negotiations Committee, WTO), Marco Ferroni (Executive Director, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture) and Silva Lierberherr (Agronomist and responsible for the issues of paradigm shift in agriculture and land grabbing at Bread For All). Moderation : Michel Cerutti (TV5 Monde, RTS).