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Environment, Energy, and the Economy

Emilia Hull headshot"This program opened many doors in various organizations throughout Geneva. Not only was I able to intern in a beautiful and vibrant city for the summer, but during course week I was able to make several connections across various organizations in the city —​  a unique and invaluable opportunity."—​ Emilia Hull, Duke University



The Environment, Energy, and the Economy Fellows track offers a unique opportunity to learn firsthand how international environmental, energy and economic policies are formulated and implemented. Fellows selected for this program gain both academic and practitioner perspectives on the role of intergovernmental institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector in shaping global environmental, energy, and economic policy

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  • Students outside United Nations HQ with flags

    Fellows at the United Nations, Geneva

    Environment, Energy, and Economics Fellows visited the World Trade Organization during their intensive course week.

The program combines internships with environmental, energy and economic stakeholder organizations in Geneva and an intensive course on these issues. It is open to graduate students attending schools of public administration, public policy, environmental management, sustainable development and related fields. We also accept a limited number of exceptional undergraduate students.

Program Structure

The Environment, Energy and the Economy track requires a minimum commitment of eleven weeks. Program components include placement in a related policy internship (10 - 12 weeks), and the required five-day intensive course. Fellows will belong to a cohort of  students from a diverse range of backgrounds. To apply to be a fellow with the Duke Global Policy Program in Geneva, please refer to the How to Apply page.

About the Policy Internship

Environment, Energy, and the Economy Fellows work in a Geneva-based policy internship, where they gain useful experience contributing to program and policy-making on the intersection of environmental, energy, and economic issues. Some Fellows help to prepare policy briefings and meetings; others conduct gap-filling research. From building databases and interviewing stakeholders to synthesizing literature and putting together presentations, fellows contribute to the work of their placement sites.

In the past, students have interned at a wide range of NGOs and intergovernmental organizations, including:

  • UN Environment Program (UNEP)
  • UN Development Program (UNDP)
  • International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
  • UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)

Internship Length

Interns are encouraged to make as long of a commitment as possible to the program. Longer internship availability makes students more competitive during the internship search process, and maximizes the amount of time an intern can learn from and contribute to their placement. Organizations where our EEE track fellows intern require students to have longer availabilities for their summer internship.  More details on our Internships page.

EEE Track minimum program commitment:

  • Minimum Commitment: 11 weeks (10 week internship + 1 week course)
  • 13 week commitments are preferred by internship organizations whenever possible (12 week internship + 1 week course)

"I'm confident that I will reflect on this experience as one of the highlights of my graduate education. This on-the-ground internship opportunity in Geneva was an invaluable way to meet people in my field of interest in international environmental policy, and I know the connections I made in Geneva will be valuable for my future career."—Chelsea Baldino, Duke University

About the Course

The course, PubPol 860.01 will run May 27 – May 31, 2019. For participants, this means taking a break from the internship to participate in the course.

Drawing on leading international experts, diplomats, and representatives of key international organizations, the course provides participants with a unique chance to think about international perspectives on the challenges of securing environmental protection and fostering economic prosperity.  It addresses questions such as:

  • Who "owns" the natural environment?
  • Do poor countries have the right to pursue non-green development?
  • Do rich countries have the right to subsidize green industries?
  • How does the need for energy supplies affect countries' environmental and economic commitments?
  • How well do governments, international organizations, and the private sector work together in balancing environmental protection and economic growth?

Class with mountains in the distanceThrough a variety of guest speakers and site visits, students will meet with experts from the top international Environment and Energy agencies including: the United Nations Environment Program, the World Trade Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, and many others. See a sample course syllabus from 2018.

During the course week, the program also facilitates additional evening events, such as a program reception, mentorship dinners, and networking events.

About the Faculty Instructor

Tana Johnson headshotTana Johnson is a member of the faculty of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of Wisconsin. Her research examines the environmental advocacy of the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program, the origins and design of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, relations between intergovernmental and non-governmental environmental organizations, and ongoing efforts to reform or establish international institutions dealing with climate change. Her recent book, “Organizational Progeny: Why Governments are Losing Control over the Proliferating Structures of Global Governance” was published in August 2014 by Oxford University Press. While a research fellow at Princeton University's Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance in 2010-2011, Johnson co-sponsored a conference that brought together political scientists, natural scientists, lawyers, and economists to discuss ongoing climate change negotiations. She previously worked at the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.