The International Health Policy and Prospects Summer School

Kiran N

Kiran Nadeem is a second year medical student at Manchester Medical School who travelled to Geneva in 2014 to take part in The International Health Policy and Prospects Summer School in Geneva. Kiran was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Pakistan. She is interested in how the growing disparities in global health can be reduced and the role that medical professionals can play in addressing the associated challenges.

The Summer School aims to equip students with an understanding of the effects of globalisation on health policy and trends in world health – focusing in on the specific contexts of the unique challenges faced by developed and developing countries today. Students are taken to the seat of global decision making in Geneva and taught by leading figures from global institutions.
We asked Kiran to write about her experience so that those looking to apply can hear first hand about this opportunity. I you have any questions about the summer school please do get in touch,

Who is this this summer school for?

•Those interested in global health and challenges faced globally by health leaders.

•Those looking for direct contact with world renowned experts, both professors and professionals who work in the field.

•Those wanting to develop a deeper understanding of the trends in global health, the effects of globalisation on both global and national health policy-making

•Those wanting to meet and work with like minded people and explore a a multi-cultural, international city.

Why I decided to go

The Manchester Global Health Society facilitated my attendance to the International Health Policy and Prospects Summer School at the University of Geneva in Summer 2014. It was a daunting experience, packing a bag and heading to a new country where I knew no one – to study with people I had never met before. I chose to go – I had seen and experienced first hand disparities in health systems around the world, so the opportunity to learn more about this and explore ‘global health’ appealed to me greatly. My initial anxieties were quickly relieved by the warm welcome extended by fellow students and the support offered by the course organisers).

About the course

The course, although short is intensive and makes optimal use of its location in Geneva. We were located in the heart of the global health world, allowing us to visit and explore the World Health Organisation (WHO) the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) and the United Nations Office at Geneva (Palais des Nations). If walking through the hallways and office where key decisions on international health are made is not enough, we were privileged with the opportunity to hear first hand from those at the forefront of research, discussion and decision-making at a global scale – what could be more exciting? This made the learning experience truly unique.

A mixture of classroom discussions, lectures, individual research and site visits allowed us to make the most of the programme. We explored the social determinants of health, the challenges posed to efficient and effective provision of healthcare (in both developed and developing settings) by; violence, wars, rapid social and economic changes and ageing populations. Lively discussions, such as, deciding where the global burden of disease lies and how it should be tackled were further enhanced by the diverse make up of of the group, each providing their own unique perspective.

My project

As part of the summer school we were asked to complete and present a short research project on a topic relating to global health. I chose to focus on the Millennium Development Goals – this was partially timely as the target year was fast approaching. I looked in particular at MDG Goals 4 and 5, which are to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. Over the course of a week, I gathered background information and statistics and prepared a presentation which highlighted the key facts and a set of recommendations for the Post-2015 Agenda.

Final words

It is difficult to sum up the value of this enriching experience in words. For me, the confidence and abilities I developed alone made this experience worthwhile. Having the opportunity to learn from experts and fellow students was invaluable and at times fascinating. You may have even seen me around university carrying my bright blue ‘Geneva Summer Schools tote bag with pride.
No matter what your interests are, no matter which opportunities you embark on, the only thing standing in your way is yourself. I ask you to take to heart the words of the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:

“You are never too young to lead, and you should never doubt your capacity to triumph where others have not”.

If you have any questions, feel nervous or unsure about applying, feel free to drop me a message and I’d be happy to talk. (


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