Institut für Föderalismus
Faculté de droit

Summer University

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Flyer 27th Summer University

The Institute of Federalism, a nationally and internationally recognised centre of expertise in the field of governance, is organising its 27th Summer University on Federalism, Decentralisation and Conflict Resolution. Federalism and decentralization are ever-increasing in popularity not just as a tool for power-sharing but also as a means for ensuring good governance, fostering democracy and contributing to development. These concepts are important in both stable as well as conflict-ridden societies and can play a role in post-conflict situations.

Three-week Summer University of the Institute of Federalism enables students to enhance their knowledge about federalism, decentralization and other forms of power sharing, especially the chances it offers, the limits it faces, challenges in implementation and the preconditions for the resolution of conflicts.

Around 40-45 students from across the globe are selected to participate through a competitive application process at each Summer University.

For participants from the University of Fribourg the Summer University is credited as a «Blockkurs/cours bloc».


About the Summer University:

Course Objectives

The participants understand the principles of federalism and decentralisation in conflict resolution. They transfer the newly acquired knowledge on their daily work as academics or young professionals.

Target Group

The Summer University is aimed at advanced students who hold at least a bachelor degree (diploma must be uploaded when applying) of law, political science, economics, history, journalism or other related sciences and young professionals keen to improve their knowledge of federalism, decentralisation and conflict resolution. A good knowledge of English and a strong interest in the topics of federalism, decentralisation and conflict resolution are preconditions for applying.

Methodology and Workload

Teaching will be a mix of lectures, case studies, self-reading, and group work. Prior to the Summer University, participants are asked to write a paper and comment on another participant’s paper.

Preparation (approximately 80 hours)

  • Write a seminar paper (up to 10 pages) (guidelines)
  • Write a commentary on another’s participant paper (1–2 pages)
  • Study the preparatory readings (examination on the first day)

 Participation in the Summer University (approximately 90 hours)

  • Written examination of the preparatory readings (on the first day)
  • Participate actively in the lectures and group work
  • Written final exam (in the last week)

Programme Outline

  • Week 1: Introduction to Interdisciplinary Approaches to Federalism and Case Studies Participants learn through an interdisciplinary approach how a federal or decentralised state work and study some concrete examples.
  • Week 2: Decentralisation and Dealing with Diversity
    Diversity is a feature of a modern state. During the second week the students will look at how states deal with linguistic, economic and religious diversity.
  • Week 3: Power Sharing and Conflict Resolution.

How can federalism and decentralisation contribute to conflict resolution? Where are their limits? What is needed for a state not to fall apart if it is federalised after a violent conflict? These questions will be answered in the third week, when participants will learn how conflict resolution and federalism/decentralisation processes are connected. The focus will be on case studies from violent prone states. 



The working language will be English. Participants must have a good English proficiency level.


Upon successful completion of the course (paper and commentary, active participation, compulsory attendance and exams), participants will be awarded a Diploma by the Institute of Federalism and the University of Fribourg. ECTS will be conferred by the University of Fribourg.

The final grade will be calculated as following:

  • 1/3 Paper (taking into account the commentary)
  • 1/6 Entrance exam
  • 1/6 Participation during classes
  • 1/3 Final exam

In order to successfully complete the Summer University, the participants must attend the whole course (no late arrivals and early departures).


22 August – 9 September 2016


University of Fribourg, Perolles II, Fribourg, Switzerland

Accommodation: Convict Salesianum, Fribourg, Switzerland

Time Schedule

For international students and students in Switzerland (but not of the University of Fribourg):

  • Application deadline: 10 April 2016
  • Confirmation of participation: 24 April 2016
  • Deadline for paper submission: 20 June 2016
  • Deadline for paper commentary: 31 July 2016
  • Summer University: 22 August–09 September 2016


For students from the University of Fribourg:

  • Gestens registration: 13.07.–20.07.2016
  • Deadline for paper submission: 07 August 2016
  • Deadline for paper commentary: 17 August 2016

In order to have more time to author their paper, students of Fribourg University can also apply using the application procedure for international students.

Selection Procedure

The selection of the candidates will be made in the first half of April 2016. Please be aware that the Institute receives usually about ten times more applications than it has places to offer. Incomplete dossiers will therefore not be considered.


Acceptance criteria are:

  • For the Summer University relevant qualifications or skills, including voluntary work, membership in associations, publications, etc.
  • Relevance of this course for your further education/career
  • Motivation


For questions please see our FAQ. If your question is still unanswered, do not hesitate to contact us at


The Summer University is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.


For participants coming from countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe (the non-EU countries) the Institute of Federalism can offer the course free of charge, due to a programme contribution from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The covered costs include:

  • Tuition and course materials
  • Accommodation including half board
  • Course material
  • Excursions within the programme
  • Transportation within Fribourg (63 CHF)
  • Farewell dinner

Costs to be paid by the participants:

  • Journey to and from Fribourg (flight ticket, train ticket to and from airport)
  • Visa 
  • Insurance
  • Lunch (individual, about CHF 10–12/meal)
  • Own expenses during your stay in Fribourg/Switzerland

For participants from Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand:

The covered costs include tuition and course materials.

Costs to be paid by the participants:

  • About 1000 CHF (approx. 900 EUR/985 USD) for accommodation with half board
  • Lunch (individual, about CHF 10–12/meal)
  • Transportation within Fribourg (63 CHF)
  • Travel costs to and from the course location, visa costs (if necessary) and health insurance
  • Own expenses during your stay in Fribourg/Switzerland

Visa Application

Visa application: If you need a visa to enter Switzerland please consider to apply as soon as possible. Application procedure might be complicated and take more time than expected.


For participants from Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand:

The costs for accommodation and half board have to be paid to the Institute until 30 June 2016. Further information will be communicated by email.


Institute of Federalism

University of Fribourg
Av. Beauregard 1
1700 Fribourg
Phone +41 26 300 8125

Further Information