The History and Mission
of the EGS

The EGS has two divisions that offer separate degree programs and faculty. Established in the Swiss mountains in 1994 by a non-profit foundation, The European Graduate School / EGS comprises two divisions: Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought (PACT), Arts, Health & Society (AHS).

The PACT Division (formerly Media & Communication) addresses, as its title suggests, philosophy, art, and critical thought, and within those fields, architecture, film, literature, digital design, music, psychoanalysis, and political thought. For over two decades, it has assembled one of the strongest faculty in the world, gathering together celebrated artists, critical theorists, philosophers, scholars and practitioners. The AHS Division, centers on the expressive arts, specifically addressing coaching, therapy, education, conflict transformation, and peacebuilding. It has played a founding role in the field of expressive arts therapy under the leadership of its founder, Paolo Knill. The cross disciplinary, low-residency MA and PhD programs of The EGS offer students and scholars an exceptional academic experience centered on annual intensive seminar programs led by an eminent faculty in residence, in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and Valletta, Malta. This dynamic structure creates a vibrant forum in which students and scholars engage with distinguished theorists, practitioners, and artists in their fields.

The EGS was created to be an academic institution that would function beyond the many constraints of traditional disciplinary structure while stimulating work leading to respected and well-recognized academic degrees. For the EGS, education remains a process that is both experimental and transformative, and learning is never divorced from critique. Faculty are given maximal freedom from cumbersome bureaucratic duties and encouraged to focus on teaching that is not just research-led, but in itself an active form of research. The EGS does not shy from the requirements of professionalism, but it seeks to redefine the conditions for achieving the true meaning of this term. The EGS seeks to intervene in a global context where education is increasingly structured by instrumental ends that favour the development of technical expertise and frustrate fundamental questioning. It seeks to keep alive a spirit of free enquiry devoted to supporting creating practice as well as intellectual exchange of the highest level directed to the most pressing issues of our time.

In pursuing an American style of graduate training, the EGS, in its PACT Division, draws from the American adoption of principles established in the German university (from the time of Humboldt) in what is commonly referred to in North America as the “graduate seminar.”  Such seminars give a leading role to a prominent researcher, and involve considerable opportunity for interaction between students and the professor.  As in the finest North American universities and in celebrated seminars in Europe, EGS seminars are directed by academic leaders who devote a significant part of their courses to a presentation of ongoing research. With its breadth of offerings in its cross-disciplinary inquiry, the EGS also captures an important element of the concept of an American “liberal arts” education, though it does this at a graduate level.  It seeks, in this way, to offer a unique form of advanced training that prepares individuals for advanced cross-disciplinary research that is conversant with global concerns.

Please contact for general inquiries, or see below for a detailed list of contacts.


Compliance/Accreditation and the EGS Foundation

President of the EGS
Prof. Dr. Christopher Fynsk

Director of Accreditation & Academic Affairs additionally Chief Academic Officer
Andi Sciacca

Chief Operating Officer
Stefanie Wittenauer

Head of the Administration 
Carole Salzmann

Legal Counsel Malta
Dr. Tonio Fenech

Sereina Gubler

Loans Officer
Mark Daniel Cohen, MA

Director of Finance
Simon Imhasly (APROA AG)

Director of EGS Visuals & Social Media (PACT)
Katarina Marković


AHS/Academic Administration

Program Director / PhD
Dr. José Miguel Calderon

Program Director /MA
Barbara Hielscher

Assistant Program Director
Lucia de Urioste Bejarano

Honorary Dean – AHS PhD Program
Prof. Emerit. Stephen K. Levine

Program Coordinator Global Health
Lanette Shabrae Jackson

Assistant Coordinator Global Health
Chelsea Wilkinson

PACT/Academic Administration

Program Director
Dr. Nemanja Mitrovic

Assistant Program Director

Sereina Gubler

EGS Organization

The EGS is governed by a non-profit foundation EGSF (European Graduate School Foundation), co-founded by the State of Wallis, the state region of the institution’s Swiss residence, Saas-Fee, and by the EGIS (European Foundation of Interdisciplinary Studies) based in Zürich, Switzerland. The EGS Executive Board is composed of the senior management of the institution and oversees all academic and operational matters.

The EGS is a non-profit organization; it is tax exempt.

Since 27 June 2007, The EGS has been incorporated under the name of “EGS European Graduate School Foundation” (EGSF) as an independent foundation with legal domicile in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. It is registered in Switzerland under the company identification number CH-600.7.013.087-7 and is being supervised as a non-profit foundation by the Swiss Federal Department of the Interior in Bern. The Foundation EGSF has three founding members, the EGIS Foundation in Zurich, the Canton of Wallis, and the Municipality of Saas-Fee; all members are represented on the EGSF Board of Trustees. Since 2016, the Foundation EGSF is recognized as a voluntary organization in Malta. Since February 2017, Friends of The European Graduate School Inc. has been established in New York as a not-for-profit company for the purposes of fundraising.

The EGSF Foundation is governed by a board of trustees. Within The European Graduate School / EGS the Board of Trustees is responsible for the development of the institution’s long-term strategy, for the search and appointment of the institution Executive Committee, and for the acceptance of the Annual Financial Results and the Annual Budgets of the institution.

For the EGS Quality Manual 2021-2026 please see this document.

Financial Structure (Letter from the Dean, July 2020) 

The EGS has functioned wholly on the basis of tuition since the time of its founding in 1998.  It has not enjoyed state subsidies or significant patronage of any kind.  Nor does it have an endowment.  Those who founded the institution wanted to preserve a very “pure” construction. 

For many years, the PACT Division required only an effective website and word of mouth to draw a sufficient number of students to support its activities comfortably.   The institution also committed itself to keeping tuition as low as possible, adhering strictly to its “non-profit” status.  It worked remarkably well in its modest way and was able to devote a significant part of its work to making its activities public (a very large audience has turned over the years to its YouTube channel for the recorded “Evening Lectures”).

But global socio-economic conditions, competition, and a dramatic rise in compliance and administrative costs started to disrupt the institution’s smooth economic operation.  We began to recognize already in 2016 that we would soon need to turn to enhanced marketing and development strategies to establish a new sustainability.  The budgetary structure of the institution had to be transformed in order to make this possible, and the development of the needed resources could not be achieved overnight.

A sudden and surprising tightening was then observed by institutions with international student bodies in 2018 and 2019—we were not an exception.  Registrations were down by more than 20%.  And then Covid-19 hit.

Some may wonder how an institution that employs such famous faculty should face financial constraints.  But the EGS has never drawn large numbers to its beautiful (and remote) locations, and it has always directed its proceeds to its classrooms, devoting almost all of its resources to faculty honoraria and related costs.   The modest functioning of the programs was actually considered something of a blessing—it provided for an ideal teaching situation.  And the EGS never sought to “monetize” the exceptional faculty resources it held in the PACT Division.  Rather, it sought to strengthen its devotion to a set of intellectual ideals and enhance the quality of its offerings.  It functioned (and sought to function) essentially as an intellectual society devoted to teaching.  The fact that the distinguished faculty returned year after year speaks to the exceptional conditions that were nurtured.

We should emphasize that the actual size of the administration within the Division and in the EGS itself is very small.  Anyone who has attended a PACT course session will know that we function with a remarkably modest team.  In the background, in the EGS central office, one finds an equally lean staff.  We maintain the minimum required for academic functioning in Malta and Switzerland.  Again, resources are directed to the classroom. 

But we must acknowledge that this structure has a crucial weakness, because there are no professional staff whose duties are directed to marketing and development.  In the current moment, most marketing efforts are undertaken by volunteers and individuals who also have other roles.  We do not have the resources for dedicated professionals or marketing campaigns.  All communications proceed through social media.

Those familiar with institutional management in the contemporary academic context will grasp immediately the difficulties facing the EGS.  We must enhance our income streams and continue to streamline our costs, even as ensure ongoing renewal of our programming and preserve the quality of what we offer.  We must develop the resources required for effective marketing, and we must strengthen an overburdened administrative team.

We therefore continue our efforts in fundraising and the development of partnerships with institutions around the world (as announced in other communications—the PACT Division is seeking to globalize its operations in a way that serves its core ideals).

But we must also begin to take a series of modest steps such as charging small fees for particularly popular speakers.  By this means, we will advertise our need and also gain the means to subsidize events involving lesser known (but important) researchers we wish to bring to the attention of our public. The EGS has always faced a peculiar challenge.  Certain faculty are so celebrated that students begin to look to this fame as the primary offering of the institution.  But in fact, there is a cross-disciplinary curriculum in place that is designed to complement the special contributions of individual faculty.  We are attempting to train our students to work with the offerings of a broad range of exceptional faculty.   Our core ambition is to serve that curriculum and thereby offer advanced degrees of special strength.

Board of Trustees:
Robert Brewer Young / President EGSF
Fabian Zurbriggen / Vice President
Peter Margelist / Honorary President
Roger Martin Buergel
Thomas Antonietti
Bruno Mock
Prof. Dr. Kevin McLaughlin
Fabio Cavalucci
Sybille Tasker
EGS Executive Committee:
Prof. Dr. Christopher Fynsk
Andi Sciacca
Simon Imhasly
Stefanie Wittenauer
EGS Extended Executive Committee:
Dr. José Miguel Calderon
Dr. Nemanja Mitrovic
Barbara Hielscher
Carole Salzmann


The European Graduate School/EGS is accredited as a Higher Education Institution by the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA). Read in-depth details on our Accreditation Page.

Code of Ethics

Please refer to The EGS General Code of Ethics and Research Ethics and Guidelines documents while enrolled at The EGS.