IAPSS Summer School 2015

“The Politics of Mega Catastrophes: From Regional Challenges to International Security”

Organized by the International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS), in collaboration with Venice International University

on San Servolo Island in Venice, Italy

August 11th – 20th, 2015
(Arrival: August 10th, Departure: August 21st)

Last Application Deadline: 12th June 2015

Please submit your application via this form.


San Servolo Island in Venice, venue of the IAPSS Summer School 2015

There is a rapidly growing amount literature in social sciences that explores the emergence, impacts, and responses to a diverse number of mega-catastrophes. As the world that humankind lives in becomes to be portrayed as insecure by design, one in which everyone is vulnerable, the preeminence of addressing the study of catastrophes becomes undeniable. Hence, the study of catastrophe, affected population and surroundings entails not only a high degree of familiarity with diverse theory, but also a great level of creativity and sensitivity to acknowledge the implication of different methodological choices.

Venice may be the perfect place to conduct this school. Living with the constant menace of another flood, as the sea levels keep on rising, it has permit Venetians and their local authorities to develops a strong sense of disaster prevention and resilience. The school promises to use this as a way to improve the multidisciplinarity and empirical understanding of thematic. Lectures will be delivered by e.g. Terry Cannon (Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom), Roberto Mugavero (University of Rome, Italy), Giovanni Bettini (Lancaster Environment Centre, United Kingdom), Lauren Ugur (Frankfurt School of Management, Germany) and many more.

How to apply?

Students from all levels are requested to submit their application. Individuals interested in participating in the IAPSS Summer School 2015 are requested to submit a written application containing (1) a short CV (max. two pages, without photograph), (2) a letter of motivation (max. two pages) and (3) chose a preferred topic from the below provided range of topics, to be presented during the IAPSS Summer School 2015. In addition, to the presentations required, there would also be the possibility to publish the work presented in one of the IAPSS publications.

The topics addressed are as follows:

  • Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect? Cooperation and Intervention in Catastrophes
  • Defining and Understanding Risk and Societal Security
  • Post-Political Approaches in Disaster Practices
  • Local, Regional and National Approaches to Environmental Catastrophe Scenarios
  • Displaced Population and International Migration: A Pressing Problem
  • Post-Disaster Recovery, Humanitarian Relief and the International Development Business
  • The Politics of Reconstruction and Urbanism After Catastrophe

The selection process will be run on first-come-first-serve basis until the maximum number of participants has been reached. Based on your preferred choice of the topic, 9 panels will be formed. During the IAPSS Summer School 2015 all participants will work further on their topics, improved by the lectures provided and discussion among peers, while receiving support from the named workshop conductors. In this manner, the very topic will be covered by at least one lecture and in discussions with experts from the academia. Next to lectures and discussion sessions, daily workshops separated in beginners and advanced level dealing with the research methods in order to support and sustain your argument and perspective over the chosen topic.

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About the Organizers

The International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS) is the worldwide representation and platform for political science students and related studies. IAPSS – politically independent, non-profit, entirely student-run and embracing more than 10.500 members from more than 80 countries – generates and promotes political science opportunities for active engagement, career development and academic proficiency through a variety of events, publications and services throughout the year.

The Venice International University (VIU) is something unique in the academic world, as it formed by group of Universities from all over the world sharing a common campus on the beautiful Island of San Servolo, in the Venice lagoon. These Universities devise study programs collegially to prepare their students to face the global challenges of today, such as the following examples sustainable development, climate change, ageing, urban growth, global ethics, cultural heritage.

→ More at: www.univiu.org.

The Location

The IAPSS Summer School 2015 will take place at the stunning location of the VIU campus on the Island of San Servolo. The Island is an oasis in a unique urban setting, 10 minutes by boat from Piazza San Marco. Students can study, work, and relax in a peaceful park spread across 12 scenic acres with a panoramic view of Venice. In addition to this, students will have an extraordinary opportunity to study under conditions that are significantly different from their normal day-to-day studying environment.

Public Transport

The boat from Venice to San Servolo leaves from the Riva degli Schiavoni at San Marco; the stop is in front of the Londra Palace Hotel. Boat number 20 goes to San Servolo.

Ticket prices for boat line n° 20:

  • One-way €4.00  
  • CartaVenezia holders €6.00 (10 tickets)

Other ticket fares:

  • 1 day ticket: €20.00
  • 2 days ticket: €30.00 
  • 3 days ticket: €40.00

At 6:55 am there is the first boat departing from Venice, and 1:30am it is the last opportunity to return from the Island of San Servolo to Venice. Similarly, the first boat leaving the Island is at 7:05am, and the last one from Venice to the Island will take place at 1:20am. For more information visit ACTV web site (Public transports in Venice).


Accommodation is not included in the participation fee, but single, double and triple rooms can be booked at Venice International University in advance. Staying in the Island will offer a logistical advantage to all participants, which otherwise will indeed need to provide for their own transportation to and out of Island. Nonetheless, Venice offers a variety of uncounted lodging options, with diverse number of hostels offering single beds in dormitories as well as separate rooms, medium-range and high-end hotels, but also private accommodation as well as thousands of Couchsurfing and AirBnB options. AirBnb, in particular, is a great way to save costs for groups of up to 15 students as it offers entire apartments, flats and houses for modest prices. Since August is high-season in the city, we again recommend to arrange your accommodation the earliest possible to enjoy the best offers and deals.

Social Events

As named already before, there will be diverse opportunities to socialize and networking. While the School privileges academic excellency it also recognizes the importance of creating an exciting social environment, which will stimulates creativity and the establishment of international friendships. A day tour in Venice will be organized, as well as, small trips that aim to have contact with local and regional authorities that work in the field of risk and disaster reduction. Additionally, documentaries screenings, sports tournaments, Oxford Style debates and a farewell dinner will also be featured among the social events of the IAPSS Summer School 2015.

Key information about the IAPSS Summer School 2015:


Arrival: Monday, August 10th  – in Venice, San Servolo Island, until evening

Programme: Tuesday, August 11st – Thursday, 20th August

Departure: Friday, August 21th – from Venice, San Servolo, throughout the day

Costs: IAPSS events are designed to be socially, culturally, religiously and politically inclusive, by bringing students of political science and related disciplines from various academic backgrounds, political contexts, level of studies, age and gender together. This aims to create an interactive and multidisciplinary space of social and academic debate and interaction. Taking into account global income disparities, the IAPSS Summer School 2015 seeks to offer a student-friendly, low-cost participation fee of 429 EUR. This includes access to all lectures, workshops and social events, lunch, a one-day excursion to Venice as well as two half-day trips, besides all Summer School materials, a personal IAPSS Summer School 2015 participation kit, and of course an Official Certificate of Participation. The fee has to be transferred in advance in order to confirm your participation, but only after you have been notified on successful selection.

Further we recommend consulting with your university / academic institution for individual financial support for participation and travel costs. Also, a range of foundations and academic institutions offer grants and scholarships for seasonal schools. If selected, please inform us as soon as possible in case you are in need of a pre-arranged visa for Italy. We will provide you with a personalised invitation letter, respectively.

Further remarks: Similarly, to other seasonal schools accommodation and travel expenses are not included in the participation fee. In consequence, please note that you will have to arrange transportation to the Island of San Servolo by yourself, and that IAPSS does not cover travel expenses of public transport (including the use of ferries) in Venice, including the tickets for social and cultural events. This means that, even though, tickets for museums and cultural venues will be provided the tickets for public transportation will be bought individually.

Please note that IAPSS membership is required in order to participate in the IAPSS Winter School 2015. IAPSS membership comes at only 15 EUR (for citizens of Europe incl. Russia and Turkey, the United States, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia) or 10 EUR (for all other countries) a year and offers you a wide range of benefits, including priority access to IAPSS conferences, IAPSS delegations, and IAPSS study trips as well as the opportunity to participate in IAPSS’ political science journals POLITIKON and A Different View. Also, members receive the two-monthly IAPSS News & Opportunities condensing political science opportunities such as internships, jobs, conference calls and more. Please consult our website (www.iapss.org) for more information. Discounted rates for 2-year membership are available.

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Do you wish to get comprehensive and interdisciplinary insights into the politics of mega-catastrophes? If the answer is yes, then APPLY for the IAPSS Summer School 2015 in Venice!

Do not hesitate to contact Filipa Brandao at summerschool@iapss.org in case you have any questions or inquiries.

Cancellation policy for study trips and seasonal schools

The Summer School in Venice has been carefully budgeted to keep costs as low as we can for participants. This means that cancellation can be problematic, in particular when IAPSS has already made payments for parts of the Summer School in Venice programme or for practical arrangements. Requests for a reimbursements will therefore be assessed on a case-by-case basis. We cannot guarantee a reimbursement, but we will do our best to refund any of your fee which we have not already committed to payments in Venice. If you have any queries please contact your study trip coordinator.

Venice International University

Venice International University