Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on students from around the world to participate in the 2016 Geneva Challenge, a competition for graduate students organised by the Graduate Institute.

The contest, which was launched in 2014 with the support of Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, asks student teams to propose a theoretically grounded and pragmatic solution to a major development problem. Last year, a team from the Philippines won with their proposal to use mobile technology to help return migrants.

The theme for the 2016 Geneva Challenge is urbanisation. According to the Graduate Institute’s Professor Martina Viarengo, head of the contest’s academic steering committee, “urban populations will continue to grow at a very fast pace in the next two decades, presenting huge challenges for humanity”.

“Climate change and environmental degradation, as well as overcrowding and infrastructure needs, will all place great strain on developing nations in particular. This represents a pressing issue that calls for interdisciplinarity in addressing it”.

Master students worldwide can participate in the contest, which offers 17,500 CHF cash prizes as well as trips to Geneva for the three short-listed teams. Full details are available at the Geneva Challenge website.

NB: The deadline to register a team is 25 May, while submissions are due by 31 July.