SNIS Award Winners

Laureates of the SNIS Award 2017

The SNIS Award 2017, prized at CHF 10'000, has been attributed ex aequo to Dr Julien Debonneville (University of Geneva) and Dr Roxana Radu (The Graduate Institute). The jury members praised Dr Debonneville's research as "particularly brilliant when it comes to the theoretical interpretation of the ethnographic data that he collected and the theoretical discussion of the various traditions in subaltern studies, gender studies, post-colonial studies and historical socioloy. As to Dr Radu's thesis, the jury noted: "The author masters an incredible amount of complexity and is able to come up with a readable text that conveys as sense of the complex matters". 


Dr Julien Debonneville

Les écoles de la servitude aux Philippines : des carrières migratoires de travailleuses domestiques aux processus d’altérisation. Pour une approche socio-anthropologique des études postcoloniales

PhD thesis defended at the Geneva School of Social Sciences, University of Geneva (March 2016), under the supervision of Professor Delphine Gardey and Professor Elisabeth Prügl

Through an ethnographic study of the migratory mechanisms in the Philippines, Dr Debonneville’s thesis examines the production of alterization processes in the context of the globalized economy of care. It furthermore questions the social representation associated to the Philippine domestic worker, often called “Filipina”. More broadly, the thesis offers a reflection on the contribution of post-colonial studies in social sciences.  

Sociologist by training, Dr. Julien Debonneville is senior researcher and teaching assistant at the Institute for Gender studies at the University of Geneva. Julien Debonneville holds a PhD in gender studies from the University of Geneva, and a Master degrees in social sciences from the University of Lausanne. He also held visiting positions at UC Berkeley (Department of Ethnic studies) and at the University of the Philippines – Diliman (Department of Women and Development Studies). His main research topics are : gender inequalities, migrations and mobility, care economy and reproductive labor, the coloniality of power, the social construction of otherness, and the intersectionality of power relations. 



Dr Roxana Radu

Global Rules for Emerging Issue Domains: Negotiating the Governance of the Internet

PhD thesis defended at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, (December 2016), under the supervision of Professor Thomas J. Biersteker




Dr Radu's thesis deals with the evolution of Internet and its preservation of integrity as a single network, despite its fragmented nature and with authoritative decision-making from different sources. This thesis sets out a novel, comprehensive framework for theorising a nascent policy field and for analyzing its evolution empirically.

Roxana Radu is Programme Manager at the Geneva Internet Platform and Research Associate at the Graduate Institute's Programme for the Study of International Governance. She currently serves as Chair of Internet Society – Switzerland. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the Graduate Institute and an MA in Political Science from the Central European University. Her research and publications explore global governance and internet policy-making.


SNIS Award 2016 Winner for the Best PhD Thesis in International Studies

The SNIS Award 2016 has been attributed to Dr Morgan Scoville-Simonds for his thesis entitled
Adaptation-as-development: “Socializing” and “depoliticizing” climate change adaptation, from the international to the local level". The thesis has been selected out of fifteen PhD thesis submitted to the prize.

The thesis, defended at the Graduate Institute, under the supervision of Professor Hufty, addresses the topic of climate change as an international policy imperative. Through a political ecology approach it proposes an analysis of policy and social discourses on why and how this adaptation is conceived as a problem.

The jury, composed of experts in different disciplines, commented on Dr Scoville-Simonds' work as “excellent, well-structured; the thesis tackles complex concepts with lightness and deep understanding, generating valuable insights for the social sciences, as well as enriching their methodologies”.

Dr Morgan Scoville-Simonds

Adaptation-as-development: "Socializing and "depoliticizing" climate change adaptation, from the international to the local level

September 2015, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, under the supervision of Professor Marc Hufty


Morgan is currently visiting fellow at the Centre for International Environmental Studies of the Graduate Institute, and from July 2016, visiting researcher at the University of Oslo’s Department of Sociology and Human Geography supported by a Swiss National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellowship. During his PhD, he worked as research assistant on a Swiss National Science Foundation-funded project lead by Professor Marc Hufty.

Working from a political ecology perspective, his research addresses analytical approaches to discourse and power, culturally-embedded human-environment relations, and political and social-justice aspects of environmental problems and solutions. He has conducted fieldwork in Andean and ceja de selva areas of Peru on adaptation/development interventions and local understandings of changing climatic conditions.

With an initial background in the physical sciences, Morgan holds a MA and PhD in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute.

He would like to recognize the support and patience of his wife and two sons.

Adapting to the impacts of climate change is emerging as an international policy imperative. Taking a unique constructivist political ecology approach, the thesis focuses on how adaptation is being conceived as a problem and as a field for research and intervention through identifiable competing ‘adaptation discourses.’ These discourses are traced from the international to the local level where their implications in terms of adaptation project implementation are examined.


The jury attributed a special mention to Dr Jaclyn Granick for her thesis Humanitarian Responses to Jewish Suffering Abroad by American Jewish Organizations, 1914-1929”, (The Graduate Institute, Geneva). The thesis analyzes humanitarian responses to Jewish suffering abroad by American Jewish organisations, arguing that American Jewish international politics were expressed through international philanthropy throughout and after the Great War. 

The Jury highlighted the impressive timespan (from 1914 to 1929) and vast array of countries in Eastern Europe and North America covered by the thesis, which brings together history and international relations.

Dr Jaclyn Granick 

Humanitarian Responses to Jewish Suffering Abroad by American Jewish Organizations, 1914-1929

October 2015, The Graduate Institute, Geneva, under the supervision of Davide Rodogno and Pierre-Yves Saunier

Jaclyn Granick is currently at the University of Oxford as a Newton International Fellow in the Faculty of History and a Junior Research Fellow in Modern History at St. Peter’s College. She has held research fellowships from the Center for Jewish History, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis, the Fulbright Commission, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. Her articles have been published in First World War Studies and Relations Internationales, and her thesis received the Graduate Institute’s annual Pierre du Bois prize for the best thesis in international history. Jaclyn’s research interests include international civil society, Jewish diplomacy and philanthropy, nineteenth and twentieth century institutional and diplomatic history in America and Europe, and humanitarianism and social reform. She holds PhD and MA degrees from the Graduate Institute and a BA from Harvard.


This thesis analyzes humanitarian responses to Jewish suffering abroad by American Jewish organizations, arguing that American Jewish international politics were expressed through international philanthropy throughout and after the Great War. The dissertation adds a new dimension to the history of early twentieth century internationalism, demonstrating that although Jews were non-state actors, they still acted as international diplomats with their own relief and political organizations, constantly searching for ways to survive as a Jewish collective as the political order crumbled and reconstituted.



SNIS Award 2015 Winner for the Best PhD Thesis in International Studies

The SNIS congratulates the laureates Dr. Ayelet Berman and Dr. Jaci Leigh Eisenberg for having won ex-aequo the 2015 SNIS Award for the best thesis in International Studies. Their PhD theses were selected among a total of eighteen dissertations evaluated.

Dr. Berman’s study on Transnational Regulatory Networks (TRNs) was considered as highly relevant for both the academic and policy-making fields. Indeed, the academic relevance of the thesis lies in the fact that the subject of study is fairly new in the global law field and thus not yet sufficiently explored. Moreover, the thesis can contribute to the functioning of TRNs and their development toward more transparency and accountability.

Dr. Eisenberg’s thesis on the contributions of American women to the League of Nations' universe in the interwar period was particularly appreciated since it constitutes a bridge between women’s history and the history of international organizations and looks into a type of actor that is usually completely overlooked. The jury also lauded the quality of the writing and its accessibility for broader audiences outside the field of international history, pointing out that it is a good example of how international history and international politics may speak to each other. 



Dr. Ayelet Berman

"Reining in the Regulators? Transnational Regulatory Networks and Accountability"

June 2014, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, under the supervision of Professor Joost Pauwelyn

watch the interview with Dr. Ayelet Berman on her awarded research

Dr. Ayelet Berman is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. She is a Principal Member of the 'Rethinking Stakeholder Participation in International Governance' research project. Previously she was a Research Associate at the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, where she was a member of the Informal International Lawmaking (INLAW) research project. Dr. Berman’s research is in the area of law and global governance.


Before embarking on an academic career, Dr. Berman was a practicing lawyer with Sidley Austin LLP in Geneva, working on WTO litigation, and at Herzog, Fox & Neeman in Tel Aviv.


She holds a PhD in International Studies/International Law, summa cum laude with congratulations of the committee, and a D.E.A. in International Law (minor in political science) from the Graduate Institute. She also holds a L.L.B magna cum laude from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is admitted to the Israeli bar.


In recent years, TRNs are gaining importance, but not without criticism. In fact, many scholars have questioned their accountability. But is the accountability of TRNs as bad as it is pictured in the literature? Through the analysis of TRNs that seek to harmonize health-related standards, the thesis concludes that TRNs were historically more accountable than most scholars think. Furthermore, TRNs are currently becoming more transparent and inclusive. Taking into account both transnational and domestic levels, the author argues that domestic administrative law can contribute to ease the development toward more accountable TRNs.



Dr. Jaci Leigh Eisenberg

"American Women and International Geneva, 1919-1939"

February 2014, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, under the supervision of Professor Andre Liebich

Jaci Eisenberg is Research Analyst at the World Economic Forum. She is also assistant editor of the IO BIO: Biographical Dictionary of Secretaries-General of International Organizations project (www.ru.nl/fm/iobio). Her research interests include international organizations, knowledge production and prosopography. She has published in the Journal of International Organizations Studies and the Journal of World History, and has been commissioned by the ILO and the WTO to produce retrospective works. She holds an AB from Smith College and MA and PhD degrees from the Graduate Institute, Geneva.



During the interwar period in the International Geneva, American women could be considered as “double outsiders” given their gender as well as the U.S. non-membership in the League of Nations. Hence their exclusion from most League work. This study aims to examine the impact of American women on the League of Nations despite their outsider position, by focusing on various themes. The author concludes that their influence on the League universe is higher than one could expect. One particularly interesting finding is that American women exercised a foreign policy that differed from that of the U.S. government.


SNIS Award 2014 Winner for the Best PhD Thesis in International Studies

The SNIS congratulates the laureate, Dr. Julie de Dardel, for her outstanding PhD Thesis, which was selected among a total of eighteen dissertations submitted. The Jury found that the topic was highly relevant and with a strong interdisciplinary appeal. Its members much appreciated the very challenging fieldwork and were impressed by the methods and the mixed-methods approach. They also lauded the thesis’ clear language, found that it read very well and appreciated the ample use of the photographs taken inside Colombian prisons. In general they found the thesis accessible for a broader audience outside of the direct disciplines and of interest to the work of several International Organisations.

In short, all the important SNIS criteria were met, de Dardel's Thesis is a good example of interdisciplinary research and her conclusions and proposals reach out beyond academia to policy makers on various levels with a readability ensuring that International Organisations should easily be able to profit from the findings.

Dr. Julie de Dardel

"Les prisons qui s'exportent: géo-ethnographie des espaces carcéraux colombiens à l'ère de la mobilité globale"

June 2013, University of Neuchâtel, under the supervision of Professor Ola Söderström

Dr Julie de Dardel will take up a two-year position as a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Geography of the University of Neuchâtel from August 2014. Her research interests include imprisonment, the international mobility of penal policies, drug policies, social movements and gender. She is currently based in Colombia where she supports a cooperation project led by the human rights association 'Turpial' (which she co-founded in Geneva in 2011) which assists displaced rural communities, vulnerable prison populations, and victims of arbitrary detention.

Between 2009 and 2013, Dr Julie de Dardel worked as a research fellow at the Institute of Geography of the University of Neuchatel and completed her PhD in the framework of a Swiss National Science Foundation project headed by Professor Ola Söderström. Her thesis analyzes the radical transformations of Colombian prisons and carceral culture under the influence of a collaboration agreement in penal and penitentiary policies signed in the early 2000s between the United States of America and Colombia.

In 2010, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Political Studies and International Relations of the National University of Colombia in Bogota. In 2013 and 2014, she was a Visiting Lecturer at the Industrial University of Santander in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and taught seminars to MA students on human rights research methods.

Dr Julie de Dardel graduated in 2005 from the University of Geneva with a MA in Economic and Social History. Her MA dissertation 'The personal is political'. Sexual Revolution and the Women Liberation Movement in Geneva” won the 2006 Ador Award for best History thesis at the University of Geneva.




During the first decade of the 21st century, the Colombian prison system went through a profound transformation under the influence of a cooperation agreement between Washington and Bogota in penal and penitentiary policies. This thesis analyzes, on the one hand, the circumstances in which the US high security prison model was transferred to Colombia and, on the other hand, the consequences of this 'importation' for the conditions of imprisonment and the lives of prisoners.


SNIS Award for the Best PhD Thesis 2013

The SNIS warmly congratulates the laureate, Dr Lea Stadtler, for her PhD Thesis, which was unanimously considered as an impressive research and selected amongst a total of 21 excellent Theses. The PhD Thesis submitted by Dr Lea Stadtler was extremely appreciated for its endeavour to find solutions to one of the most significant and debated challenges in the field of development and policy management: Public Private Partnerships. The advantages of such a research go far beyond academics and they are particularly precious for practical considerations to the extent that this form of hybrid organisation is increasingly implemented within national as well as international policy schemes. Above all, the impact of such a research is undeniably of great importance for managers and executives in both public and private spheres having to deal with the complexity of Public Private Partnerships.

Dr. Lea Stadtler

Designing Public-Private Partnerships for Development

December 2012, University of Geneva, under the supervision of Professor Gilbert Probst

Dr Lea Stadtler is currently research fellow at the Geneva PPP Research Center, University of Geneva. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of corporate social responsibility, organization theory, and cross-sector collaboration.

From 2008 to 2012, Dr Lea Stadtler has been working as teaching and research assistant at the Chair of Organization & Management of Prof. Gilbert Probst at the University of Geneva. She has been in charge of teaching seminars to undergraduate and MBA students on Change Management and Cross-Sector Partnerships.

In her PhD thesis, she analyzed design challenges in public-private partnerships for development from the perspectives of interest alignment, governance, organizational boundaries, and broker roles. Related papers have been published in the European Management Journal, M@n@gement, and the Journal of Corporate Citizenship.

Since 2010, Lea has been working on various case studies and other publications as visiting researcher at INSEAD, Fontainebleau. The case studies focus on topics such as cross-sector partnerships, donation campaigns, corporate social responsibility programs, and social entrepreneurship. The most recent case study, co-authored with Prof. Probst, has received the EFMD 2012 “Best of the Best Award.”

Dr Lea Stadtler graduated in August 2008 from the University of Bamberg with a Master in European Business Administration. Before, she completed a two-year apprenticeship and formal education program in a German private bank.



Companies increasingly engage in partnerships with governments and civil society organizations to address complex development problems. Building on the discourses on business in society, collaboration, and development, scholars have stressed the benefits that such partnerships, here termed public-private partnerships (PPPs) for development, may offer to the partner organizations involved and to society in general. While the concept of collaborative advantage is the “theoretical guiding light,” partnering practice proves challenging. Acknowledging that scholars have primarily focused on relationship management and leadership in PPPs for development, this dissertation fills important gaps, contributing to the construction of a comprehensive design perspective with two conceptual and two empirical papers.

SNIS Award for the Best PhD thesis 2011

The SNIS congratulates both ex aequo laureates of the 2011 SNIS Award, Dr. Kun Fan and Dr. Joan Apecu Laker for their outstanding achievement. The Jury was unanimously convinced by the excellent interdisciplinary research of both PhD thesis and the conclusions that reach out beyond academia to policy makers at various levels.

Dr. Kun Fan

The law practice of international commercial arbitration in China measured by transnational standards. A legal, cultural, sociological, economic and political analysis

April 2011, University of Geneva, under the direction of Professor Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler and Professor Song Lu (China Foreign Affairs University).

Ms. Kun Fan is currently Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She teaches and researches in the area of international commercial arbitration, alternative dispute resolution, and cultural study of law. Prof. Fan is admitted to practice in the state of New York. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Domain Names Panelist of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center.

She has studied and practiced in China, Singapore, U.S.A., Switzerland, France and Hong Kong, and speaks Chinese, English and French. Before joining the faculty, Prof. Fan worked as a Deputy Counsel at the ICC International Court of Arbitration in Paris, during which she has overseen hundreds of international arbitration cases pending under the ICC Rules spanning numerous industry and regions.

Prior to that, she worked with Prof. Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler at the Geneva University Law School for a research project on International Arbitration in China, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Before moving to Europe, she worked as a Foreign Legal Advisor at a leading law firm in Singapore, where she advised clients on China-related matters in the areas of foreign investment, mergers & acquisition, and intellectual property.



In the context of globalization, there is a strong movement towards harmonization of law and practice of modern arbitration, a constant development towards clearly identifiable points of convergence. In this context of transnational arbitration, to what extent are Western and Chinese legal traditions still influential on their modern arbitration practice?

Dr. Joan Apecu Laker

African participation at the World Trade Organization
Legal and Institutional Aspects
1995 to 2010


December 2011, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, under the supervision of Professor Joost Pauwelyn.

Ms Apecu is currently an Economic Affairs Officer in the Council and Trade Negotiations Committee Division of the World Trade Organization. Prior to that, she served in several capacities in the Uganda Law Reform Commission, including as a Senior Legal Officer in charge of Law Reform and Research, where she undertook law reform projects in several branches of the law.

Ms Apecu has also served in the Permanent Mission of Uganda to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva Switzerland.



This study investigates the "level of engagement and participation" of individual and collective African Members' participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO), from 1995 to 2010.  Why has their individual and collective participation in the WTO, in the three core areas of regular committee work, dispute settlement and negotiations, been nominal, minimal and largely ineffective, in relation to the Group's size, compared to non-African Members, and even on their own identified priorities?