No other city has a richer history of international cooperation than Geneva.

In 1863, a small group of Genevois created the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which led to the first international humanitarian treaty, the Geneva Convention of 1864.

In 1919, the city gained strength and momentum as a platform for dialogue and cooperation when the victorious states of World War I decided to establish the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization (ILO) there.

After World War II, the international community chose Geneva again to host key international organizations. Today, key actors in the health sector, like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have all set up headquarters there.



Book: Geneva and the call of internationalism

How did Geneva acquire its international renown? With this book, Joëlle Kuntz takes a concise and irreverent look at a story that is familiar yet seldom told: the emergence of Geneva as an international city.

Historical Milestones

Discover the timeline of International Geneva history.

Geneva Nobel prizes

No less than 19 Nobel prizes – most of them for Peace – have been awarded to personalities and organizations linked with it.

Speech by Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress, on the occasion of his visit to the 77th International Labour Conference, 8 June 1990
They came to Geneva

Discover some of the personalities who have placed Geneva under the scoop since 1926.

Discover this history through images taken from the archives of international organizations based in Geneva.
  • History-Images-1865-ITU
    1 March – 17th May 1865: First International Telegraph Conference in Paris
  • History-Images-1871-ITU
    1871: Negotiating the future of telecommunications but where are the women?
  • History-Images-1876-ICRC
    1876: A Serbian Red Cross Ambulance assisting wounded in the Serbo-Turkish war
  • History-Images-1906-ICRC
    July 1906: Review Conference of the Geneva Convention at the Geneva Parliament Hall
  • History-Images-1920-UN-Library
    The League of Nations librarians in the 1920s
  • History-Images-1932-UN-Disarmament
    1932: the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments of the League of Nations opens in Geneva
  • History-Images-1952-WCC
    Archives of the World Council of Churches - 1952: International Missionary Conference in Willingen, Germany
  • History-Images-1954-WCC
    The memory of World Council of Churches’ Assemblies
  • History-Images-1956-UNHCR
    1956: Three Hungarian women carrying all of their belongings and a child, arriving at the Eisenstadt Camp
  • History-Images-1958-WIPO
    22 July 1958: Foundation stone of the BIPRI building, the predecessor organization to WIPO
  • cern_adams_1959.jpg
    24-25 November 1959: record energy levels reached as CERN’s Proton Synchrotron comes into operation
  • History-Images-1962-WHO
    24 May 1962: Foundation stone of the WHO Headquarters
  • History-Images-1977-ILO
    15–18 November 1977: The Governing Body of ILO adopts its Multinational Enterprise Declaration
  • History-Images-1980-WHO
    8 May 1980: Smallpox is officially declared eradicated
  • History-Images-1981-ILO
    June 1981: Mr. Lech Walesa at the 67th session of the International Labour Conference
  • History-Images-1982-UNHCR
    World Refugee Day: Contemporary Commemoration based on a long tradition
  • History-Images-1994-WTO
    15 April 1994 - Signature of the Final Act of the Uruguay Round at Marrakesh
  • History-Images-1994-FiCR
    1994: Rwanda Red Cross volunteers monitoring and assisting displaced populations during the Rwandan Civil War