About us

The Swiss Institute of International Studies (founded in 1943 at the suggestion of the Federal Council) is based in Zürich and is a politically and economically independent centre of expertise for knowledge transfer and background. It interacts with the outside world by means of public events, in particular lectures, and deals with current topics in the fields of politics, economy, society, science and culture, choosing highly qualified and internationally esteemed speakers for this.


Events hosted by the Swiss Institute of International Studies aim to both comprehend developments in current affairs and to illuminate the background behind them. In this, the Institute does not follow any political or ideological position, but it is committed to the values of a free social structure, and sees itself as a forum for intellectual exchange within this context.

The Institute’s events are oriented towards an audience with a wide array of interests, focusing in particular on younger people and especially on students. The Institute is an affiliated body of the University of Zürich and maintains close contact with the University, where the events generally take place (Auditorium).


The Institute was founded on 8 May 1943, at a difficult time for Europe and for Switzerland. Orientation was sorely needed, especially in Zürich, the country’s industrial and commercial centre. After a director, Dr Eduard Fueter, had been appointed, the grand opening took place in 1944 in the university auditorium, in the presence of Federal Councillor Etter. Prof. Arnald Steiger took the reins of the Institute in 1947. He was followed by Dr Albert Hunold (1958) and Prof. Friedrich Lutz (1965). Prof. Daniel Frei, who had been appointed to the newly created Professorial Chair for International Relations at the University in 1971, then took on the leadership of the Institute in 1976. In 1988 he was succeeded by Prof. Willy Linder, and in 1993 by Prof. Dieter Ruloff, also Frei’s successor in the Chair for International Relations at the University. Since January 2008, Dr Martin Meyer has been Delegate and since 2013 President of the Board.


The Swiss Institute of International Studies is an association (Art. 60 ff., Swiss Civil Code) based in Zürich, divided into two managing bodies: a board of directors and a board of trustees. The chairman of the board of directors manages the Institute. (Organisation)


Around 12 public events are hosted each year. The autumn semester always comprises one chosen general theme, while in the spring semester, speakers cover various current topics. (Lectures)

Publication series

The Institute publishes an annual containing the most important contributions from the year’s programmes. The annual is sent to all members of the Institute free of charge. (Publications)

Media presence

The Institute advertises its events in the daily and weekly press, which also provides coverage of the events. Semester programmes are sent to all members of the Institute, as well as other interested circles, on a regular basis.
Further activities are being prepared.