Global Health, Drugs, Policy and Power


The Summer School is open to Bachelor and Masters students, as well as professionals from all walks of life who are interested in global health, drugs, governance and human rights.


The Summer School will address a number of important questions at the heart of international drug policy discussions today. The course will include lectures, case studies, mock debates, group work and more.

Each day of the week will be organised around a specific theme and follow the pattern of 1) exploring the historical, sociological and policy perspectives of the particular issue; 2) examining what the current human rights, health and social challenges are; and 3) searching for what global policy and governance set-ups may constitute improved ways of working/solutions for the future.

Human rights, governance and health will constitute cross-cutting themes, that will be addressed as and where relevant to each of the sessions of the week.

The suggested structure is as follows:

Day 1: Global health, global health and the international drug control system (with a particular focus on scheduling of illicit substances and the consequences of prohibition; as well as an overview of the epidemiology of drug use around the world)

Day 2: Challenges of access to essential medicines (including pain control); and the opiates overdose epidemic in the US and Canada

Day 3: Cannabis regulation models

Day 4: Tobacco markets and powers

Day 5: Searching for the best global governance scenarios


The main objectives of the Summer School are for students to:

  • acquire a strong understanding of the major health and human rights issues related to drug use and drug policy;
  • become familiar with and gain insight into the functioning and implications of international drug control regime and its intersection with public health and human rights ;
  • understand the historical, sociological and policy perspective of three major present day drug issues: opiates overdose epidemics; cannabis and tobacco.
  • understand the power dynamics of how various substances are dealt with in our societies; and explore solutions for better governance.


The multidisciplinary Summer School will be taught in English by a variety of academic experts in their respective fields.


The classes will take place at the Graduate Institute/Campus Biotech/other location.


Students will be required to give a 15 minutes group presentation on the last day of the course, on a topic that will be decided upon on the first day of the course; and which will no doubt focus on looking into what requirements and conditions may be required for a specific drug policy to be put in place; not just what would be the components of such a policy, but what steps would be needed to get there; and what role each of the relevant stakeholders could play, both at the national/community and international levels.


By taking this summer school course, may earn you the equivalent of X ECTS credit points. Evaluation will be based on attendance, class participation and a presentation on the last day of the course.

Early Bird 15 February 2020:

Tuition fees: CHF 800*

Final Deadline 15 April 2020:

Tuition fees: CHF 1200*

Special price for UNIGE students (limited 5 spots):

Tuition fees: CHF 300*

*Including 100 CHF non refundable administrative fees

Course Directors

Jennifer Hasselgard-Rowe

Institute of Global Health
The University of Geneva

Researcher and Lecturer, Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva; Executive Coordinator, Geneva Platform on Human Rights, Health and Psychoactive Substances.

Researcher and lecturer with an academic background in law and public health who has worked on human rights and health issues in detention for several years, including for her PhD thesis: “Ending detention of drug users in Cambodia: international and domestic factors influencing the country’s substance use policies and practices”. Her principal fields of expertise include: human rights law, international humanitarian law and substance use issues (specifically harm reduction and other evidence-based public health policies and practices). Since June 2017, she is the Executive Coordinator of the Geneva Platform on Human Rights, Health and Psychoactive Substances ( bringing together civil society and international organisations working in the field of health, human rights and drug policy to better share information and promote health and human rights in all drug-related questions addressed in Geneva. Jennifer worked for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent for several years, has experience working in multi-cultural environments and speaks six languages. She is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (PhD) and the Australian National University (BA/LLB), and since mid-2018 she is a Visiting Fellow with the Global Health Centre, at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Professor Barbara Broers

Faculty of Medicine
The University of Geneva

Head Dependencies Unit, Department Community Health and Primary Care, Geneva University Hospitals and Professor in Addiction Medicine, Medical Faculty, University of Geneva

Graduate from the Medical Faculty, University of Amsterdam, Barbara Broers has over 30 years of experience in addiction medicine, HIV/AIDS/hepatitis and harm reduction projects; mostly in Switzerland, as a physician, public health specialist and advocate. She is member of the Swiss Federal Commission for Addiction related Questions since 2008 (vice-president since 2012), vice-president of the Swiss Society of Addiction Medicine since 2001, founding member of the Swiss Taskforce for Cannabinoids in Medicine, member of the steering committee for Geneva’s safe drug use facility since 2001. She is responsible for an outpatient consultation for people with substance use disorders at the Geneva University Hospitals, and training medical students and family doctors in this field.

Guest lecturers :

Damon Barrett

Damon Barrett is the co-director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, which he co-founded in 2009; and lecturer, Section for Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

He is recognised internationally for his leading work in the areas of human rights and drug control, with a focus on systemic incoherence between these regimes; human rights and the international institutions of drug control; harm reduction and the right to health; and drug policy and the rights of the child. Mr Barrett regularly delivers lectures and publishes on these and other topics.

Mr Barrett is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. He was a civil society member of the UK delegation to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs from 2008-2011. From 2007-2014, Mr Barrett worked at Harm Reduction International, including as Deputy Director from 2012-2014. Alongside his work at the HRDP, Mr Barrett is currently a PhD candidate at the School of International Studies and Faculty Law in Stockholm University. He lives in Göteborg, Sweden.