Prof. Dr. Susan Thieme

Unitleitung Geographie und Nachhaltige Entwicklung

Geographie und Nachhaltige Entwicklung

+41 31 631 88 72
Universität Bern
Geographisches Institut
Hallerstrasse 12
CH-3012 Bern
  • sustainablity, globalisation, transformation
  • im/mobility, migration, labour, education 
  • social differences, inequality
  • social theory
  • Specific country experience: Nepal, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Switzerland


  • since August 2017: Professorship, University of Bern, Geography and Sustainable Development
  • 2015 – 2017: Professorship, Freie Universität Berlin, Humangeography, Globalisation, Transformation, Gender
  • 2008 – 2014 Research group leader ‘Im/mobilities and Migration’ and senior lecturer, Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2005 – 2008 Post-doc, Humangeography, University of Zurich
    • 2001 – 2005 Research and teaching assistant in Human Geography, University of Zurich
    • 2003 Consultant for International Labour Office (ILO) Geneva (part-time)
  • 2000 - 2001 German Development Cooperation (GIZ) Germany and Bangladesh
  • 1999 Penang Heritage Trust, Penang, Malaysia (ASA Scholarship Carl Duisberg Society


  • 2014: Unternehmensgründung und –führung,, ETH and University of Zurich
  • 2012: Habilitation and Venia Legendi, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2005: PhD in Human Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2000: M. Sc. in Human Geography, Sociology and Political Science, University of Potsdam, Germany (incl. Erasmus Semester University of Plymouth, UK)

Visiting Fellowships

  • 2011 American University Central Asia (AUCA) | Bishkek | Kyrgyzstan
  • 2010 Institute of Social Studies (ISS) | De Hague | NL
  • 2006/07 University of Sussex Centre for Migration Research | UK

Implementation, Policy Dialogue, Consultancy

  • 2011-2014: Policy advice for Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) & HELVETAS
  • 2008: Documentary "the other silk road" (with Panos South Asia) download here:
  • 2003-05: Empowerment of Nepali labour migrants in India (with South Asia Study Center, Delhi)
  • 2003: Consultancy for International Labour Organisation (ILO), Geneva, Switzerland


  • Swiss research network "Passagen" - Crossings: Researching the Intersections of Migration and Gender , (Vice-president until 2014)
  • Executive Committee of the Commision for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries KFPE (2010-2014)

Current research projects

Completed research projects


Main Supervisor of PhD research


Eyer, Philipp (since 2018): Videographic geographies: digital video as a research method and output, University of Bern.


Graf, Samuel (2012-2018): Transnationally tied: Social, economic and political linkages of the Eritrean diaspora in Switzerland and how they can influence change in their home country, University of Zurich.

Pörtner, Ephraim (2011-2018): Encountering asylum-seekers: Politics of mobility at the margins of the State. University of Zurich. Homepage:

Hatcher, Craig (2010 - 2014): Law, Space and the City: A legal geography of urban change in post-socialist Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. University of Zurich.

Samanchina, Jarkyn (2010-2014): The influence of educational migration on the development of inter-state relations between Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. Bishkek Humanitarian University, Kyrgyzstan. (In collaboration with Prof. A. Elebaeva, Academy of Science, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)

Journal articles

(If you are interested in an article and do not have access to the journal, please feel free to contact me)




  • the other silk road (2008), 28 min
  • Documentary labour migration in Kyrgyzstan. National Centre of Competence in Research North-South and Panos South Asia production. Research: Susan Thieme, Script: Susan Thieme and Xonzoi Barbora. Film: Kazu Ahmed, Ushma Bardoloi, Sushmita Kashyap. 
  • Download here:

Working Papers and Reports


Policy Briefings

  • Thieme, S.; Bhattarai, A. and Gurung, G. (2014): Making Migration Safer. Research Evidence for Policy. NCCR North-South, Berne.
  • Thieme, S.; Elebaeva, A.; Bruce Z.; Samanchina, J. (2013): Studying Abroad: Encouraging Students to Return to Kyrgyzstan. Evidence for Policy No. 5, NCCR North-South: Kyrgyzstan.
  • Thieme, S. (2009): Where to return to? Rural Urban Interlinkages in Times of Internal and International Migration. In: Social Research Center, American University Central Asia (AUCA) (Ed.): Policy Briefs on Civil Society. Migration, Islam, and Corruption. AUCA, Bishkek: 108-113.


Book sections


BLOG, Newsletter

  • Landolt, S. and Thieme, S. (2014): Feministische Geo-Rundmail.
  • Thieme, S. (2013, May): Bans Will Not Stop Women from Migrating. Central Eurasian Scholar Media Initiative (CESMI),, “my take on …”.
  • Thieme, S. (2013): Banning Women from Migrating. Geographies of Care. Feministische Geo-Rundmail. No. 56.