What is The Geneva Learning Foundation?

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the 19th century birthplace of the first humanitarian conventions, the Geneva Learning Foundation (La Fondation Apprendre Genève) is a Swiss non-profit organization, with the mission to support learning innovation in humanitarian, development and global health work.

Our main field of work is education, with a strong focus on scaling up and opening access by leveraging the amazing affordances and the new economy of effort of the digital transformation. We believe transforming how we learn is the key to change, leadership, and strategy execution. We see our activities as research and development (R&D), but these activities may also be immediately useful and productive.

What is our mission?

Connect learning leaders to research, invent, and trial breakthrough approaches for new learning, talent and leadership as a way of shaping humanity and society for the better.

Why do we need the Geneva Learning Foundation?

There is a need for an organization that can support research and development, experiments, and pilots that are considered too risky by established organizations or too far removed from their immediate needs and purpose. This is what has brought together learning leaders from international organizations, academia, and business to create the Geneva Learning Foundation.

What is our field of action?

The Foundation aims to promote innovation and its application in the creation and sharing of knowledge, including in the fields of research, education, training, teaching, assessment, and in all aspects of learning, whether formal or informal.

What are our principles and values?

Our work aims to benefit global health, development, and humanitarian action. It is free from concerns of a commercial or profit-making nature as the Foundation is prohibited by law from making a profit (Article 80 and following of the Swiss Civil Code), is independent and neutral, and does not serve, either directly or indirectly, on any level whatsoever, any private or public interest, including political, religious, economic, ideological, regional, national or international (Article 4 of our Statutes). We do not receive any funding, employment, or research support from the tobacco or arms industries, nor do we have any professional relationship with such entities.


The Conseil de fondation (Board of Trustees) is made up of distinguished global leaders and innovators in learning, education and training; and subject matter experts in global health, development, and humanitarian action.

Swiss context for the Foundation

Learning is recognized as a priority for the Swiss government’s support of humanitarian action. Working with other actors, there is an opportunity to develop a “Swiss” approach to humanitarian training and, in some instances, lead change in this area. The Swiss Development agency’s objectives emphasize the need to prioritize areas in which Switzerland has specialized know-how, and to promote Geneva as a hub for international organizations and international events.

Conseil de fondation (Board of Trustees)


Patricia Charlton

Co-founder of Creative Digital Solutions and senior research fellow at University College London.

Bill Cope

Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois.

Mike Hanley

Founding partner, The Content Engine. Previously Head of Digital and Member of the Management Committee of the World Economic Forum.

Khurram Hassan

Public health, social impact and evaluation specialist. Originally from Pakistan, Mr Hassan holds a Masters in Public Health from the Emory School of Public Health.


Shanthi Mendis, M.D. 

Global health expert and former Senior Adviser/Director, Prevention and Management of Noncommunicable Diseases in the World Health Organization (WHO).

Reda Sadki

Founder of Learning Strategies International (LSi.io) in 2014 and the Geneva Learning Foundation in 2016. Previously at United Nations and at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

George Siemens, Ph.D.

Professor and the Executive Director at the Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge (LINK) Research Lab, University of Austin (Texas).

Karen E. Watkins, Ph.D. 

Professor and Coordinator of the Program in Learning Leadership and Organization Development at The University of Georgia