Internationalisation of public policies


In Switzerland, as elsewhere, the conduct of public policy is characterised by a “growing influence of international issues” (J. Fournier, 1996). The first of these issues is, without doubt, the dwindling importance of national frontiers, due to globalisation and (in Europe) growing European integration. This change has transformed the conditions under which national policies are defined and implemented. Thus, market integration and capital mobility have brought about increased competition between economic regions and generated new constraints on the development of economic, social and fiscal policies. Likewise, decision-makers can no longer ignore the transnational nature of numerous public policy problems, such as climate change or irregular migration.

The growth of international cooperation, which is tightly linked to these developments, constitutes a second factor in the internationalisation of public policies. The tasks of economic governance and the definition of coordinated responses to challenges which transcend borders have, to a great extent, been confided to international or supranational organisations (OCDE, European Union), to informal fora (the Basel Committee) or to transnational networks. Their impressive regulatory output—treaties, standards, codes of conduct, etc.—has become a major element of the ecosystem within which public policy is framed, designed and implemented.

The present course aims to provide participants with the analytical tools needed to understand how international factors affect Swiss public policies. It explains these factors (globalisation, international governance, European integration) and their manifold influences (e.g. inspiration from foreign models, implementing international standards, economic constraints, etc.),  from political and legal perspectives. To do this, the course adopts a combination of theoretical and practical approaches, integrating reflection on concepts with an in-depth study of six selected policies. The combination of legal and politological approaches is one of its strong points.

  • Understanding globalisation and its real or supposed effects on State autonomy
  • Apprehending international and transnational governance: its different forms, decisional processes, legal framework and normative outputs
  • Acquiring a solid understanding of the European project: its institutions, laws and principal works in progress, as well as Switzerland’s position with regard to that project
  • Mastering the legislative and legal techniques used to adapt to, adopt and implement international and European standards and laws
  • Analysing the direct and indirect repercussions that globalisation, increased international cooperation and the project of European integration have on Switzerland’s law and public policies
  • Applying the analytical tools acquired throughout the course to selected sectors and topics
Target audience
  • Participants in the MAS in Public Administration (MPA)
  • Political leaders, administrative executives and policy makers at the federal, cantonal and communal levels
  • Employees in international organisations and NGOs
  • Company executives and journalists
  • Any other persons interested in understanding the international context within which Switzerland’s public policies are designed and implemented
Speakers (subject to modifications)

The intervenantes list will be up to dated during 2021 summer

Program (subject to modifications)

To be confirmed asap

Teaching methods

This course aims to encourage the active participation of its students. With this in mind, it uses the following teaching methods:

  • Classroom courses on the topic of the day generally also allow plenty of time for discussion among the participants
  • Talks given by external lecturers, whose main objective is to provide practical insights and a critical perspective to the topic at hand
  • Practical exercises and group work, notably based on selected case studies or documentary analysis 
  • Completion of a personal research project with regards to the subject matter examined during the course

Cohorts which attended the course in previous years gave it very favourable evaluations. The positive responses to the question “Would you recommend this course?” resulted in 2019’s course receiving an overall score of 4.86 out of 5.00. Participants also wrote the following comments:

  • “The teaching was impressive in its clarity and applicability to my professional activities. Thank you!”
  • “The course is very well designed, with a theoretical grounding provided at the beginning and more practical applications of the topics in the second part. Prof. Maiani’s teaching style is very lively, and he knows how to adapt content to his audience. I really feel that I have been learning from a true specialist.”
  • “A choice and variety of topics, a wealth of methods, invited speakers, documentation—I don't know how it could have been better: keep up the good work!”
  • “Excellent!”
  • “I would warmly recommend this course of exceptional quality to future students.”
  • “Personally, of all the courses I have followed, this was the most interesting one.”
  • “I particularly appreciated the teacher’s scientific competence and flexibility. The teaching methods were highly participative.”
  • “A very rich and very enriching course, expertly led.”


Qualifications and Certificates

Participants who actively and regularly attend the course, and complete the course project, will be awarded a Foundation of Continuing Education certificate of continuing education/Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Public Administration (with a specialisation in CEMAP). This corresponds to 10 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. Participants who follow the course but decide not to complete the project work will receive a certificate of attendance (but no ECTS credits).

Continuing Education regulations

Practical information and Registration

Programme management

This course will be managed by Prof. Francesco Maiani, Professor of European Law at the University of Lausanne, with the assistance of Dr Angie Gago, PhD in Political Sciences (University of Milan La Statale) and SNSF researcher at the University of Lausanne.

Dates, time and location

Every Wednesday from April 6th to June 29th (except April 20th) from 9:15 to 16:15 at IDHEAP.

Registration fees

Total course registration fees come to CHF 3,900 (including all documentation), which should be paid on receipt of the invoice, and by the start of the course at the latest.
A discount of 5%, up to a maximum of CHF 500 per course, is available to any IDHEAP alumni—holding an MPA, DAS or CEMAP, an IDHEAP PhD or a Master’s in PMP—who wish to follow a CAS course or a Seminar for Specialist and Executives organised by IDHEAP. This reduction does not apply to participants in the DAS who subsequently wish to follow the MPA course. Any decision to withdraw from the course must be made in writing. If withdrawal from the course is announced between 21 and ten days prior to its commencement, 50% of the registration fee will remain due. If withdrawal from the course is announced less than ten days before its commencement, the entire registration fee is due. The number of places being limited, registrations will be considered on the basis of the date of receipt.


Conditions of admission

The course is open to the holders of a university degree or with professional experience judged to be equivalent. A good level of English is an indispensable prerequisite for participation in this course.

Registration before



Click here to register

The number of places on this course is limited. Registrations will be considered in order of arrival.


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Course Manager
Prof. Francesco Maiani
Centre of Comparative, European and International Law
CH-1015 Lausanne
+41 21 692 27 91

Studies Secretariat
+41 21 692 68 13

Rue de la Mouline 28 - CH-1022 Chavannes-près-Renens
Tel. +41 21 692 68 00
Fax +41 21 692 68 09