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Smith Center Courses

Themes and Issues in International History: Western Humanitarianism and Development (taught in English)

This seminar is organized thematically and diachronically with two basic objectives. The first is to debunk a number of commonplaces about ruptures and continuities in contemporary international history and politics of humanitarianism and development. The second is to provide students attending the course with critical - not cynical - tools to understand current affairs. The seminar revolves around the history of Western humanitarianism, humanitarian actions and interventions. It expands on post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation programs as well as on colonial and post-colonial development programs conceived and enforced by state and non-state actors, such as international organizations, NGOs and philanthropic foundations. Students are required to read nineteenth, twentieth and early twenty-first century literature in history. Weekly readings also include political, anthropological and sociological works.

French in an International Environment

French classes for all levels are based on linguistic training and immersion in the local and international environment. Beginners are taught the basics of language in a dynamic, communicative way adapted to the needs of everyday life. Intermediate and advanced students explore cultural topics such as Global Issues through the Geneva Microscope, Swiss Personalities, Literature and Cinema, The European Idea, Translation in Perspective.

Students develop four abilities (reading, writing, listening and speaking) according to the European standards of language teaching. They learn how to express themselves in different contexts. They are also encouraged to participate in the many cultural events taking place in Geneva throughout the year (Human Rights Cinema Festival, European debates, international conferences) and make a presentation of these topics in their French courses.

Translation (Advanced students, Fall only)

This course delves into the fundamentals of translation in the context of the United Nations and other international and non-governmental organizations: how official documents are translated from language to language, what rules apply, what should be avoided. The students practice translating from French into English and from English into French, as well as among other languages. Assessment includes short papers and written translations, oral presentations and interpretations and a written exam.

Practicum in International Organizations

This is a required course for students enrolled in Track A and is available to other students on a space available basis. Designed to support the learning objectives of the internship placement, students choose a research topic related to the organization where they are interning, and meet regularly with an instructor who is a specialist that area. Students produce a 20-page research paper in either French or English at the end of the term.