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


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)

Number of items: 46.

Journal Article

Fry, Patricia; Thieme, Susan (2019). A social learning video method: Identifying and sharing successful transformation knowledge for sustainable soil management in Switzerland. Soil use and management, 35(1), pp. 185-194. Wiley 10.1111/sum.12505

Landolt, Sara; Thieme, Susan (2018). Highly skilled migrants entering the labour market: Experiences and strategies in the contested field of overqualification and skills mismatch. Geoforum, 90, pp. 36-44. Elsevier 10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.01.009

Thieme, Susan (2017). Educational consultants in Nepal: professionalization of services for students who want to study abroad. Mobilities, 12(2), pp. 243-258. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group 10.1080/17450101.2017.1292780

Graf, Samuel; Thieme, Susan (2016). "We look similar and have the same geographical origin": translocal encounters of second-generation Eritreans with a new generation of refugees from Eritrea. Geographica Helvetica, 71(4), pp. 331-340. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/gh-71-331-2016

Babel, Anna; Thieme, Susan; Grabska, Katarzyna (2015). Negotiating one position: Switzerland at the Global Forum on Migration and Development. Development in practice, 25(6), pp. 856-866. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group 10.1080/09614524.2015.1058341

Hatcher, Craig; Thieme, Susan (2015). Institutional transition: Internal migration, the propiska, and post-socialist urban change in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Urban Studies, 53(10), pp. 2175-2191. SAGE 10.1177/0042098015587252

Thieme, Susan (2014). Coming Home? Patterns and Characteristics of Return Migration in Kyrgyzstan. International migration, 52(5), pp. 127-143. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1468-2435.2011.00724.x

Thieme, Susan; Ghimire, Anita (2014). Making Migrants Visible in Post-MDG Debates. Sustainability, 6(1), pp. 399-415. MDPI 10.3390/su6010399

Thieme, Susan (2014). An International Degree, Social Ties and Return: When International Graduates Make a Career Back Home in Kyrgyzstan. Internationales Asienforum, 45(1-2), pp. 113-128. ABI, Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut

Rogaly, Ben; Thieme, Susan (2012). Experiencing Space—Time: The Stretched Lifeworlds of Migrant Workers in India. Environment and planning. A, Economy and space, 44(9), pp. 2086-2100. Sage 10.1068/a44493

Thieme, Susan (2012). "Action": Publishing Research Results in Film. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 13(1) Freie Univ. Berlin

Thieme, Susan; Siegmann, Karin Astrid (2010). Coping on Women’s Backs. Social capital-vulnerability links through a gender lens. Current sociology, 58(5), pp. 715-737. Sage 10.1177/0011392110372732

Schoch, Nadia; Steimann, Bernd; Thieme, Susan (2010). Migration and animal husbandry: Competing or complementary livelihood strategies. Evidence from Kyrgyzstan. Natural resources forum, 34(3), pp. 211-221. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1477-8947.2010.01306.x

Thieme, Susan (2009). Wohin ist zurück? Unterschiedliche Vorstellungen von Rückkehrmigration und mögliche Folgen für die ländliche Entwicklung in Kirgistan. Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, 34(3-4), pp. 253-273. VS-Verlag 10.1007/s12523-010-0045-y

Barbora, Sanjay; Thieme, Susan; Siegmann, Karin Astrid; Menon, Vineetha; Gurung, Ganesh (2008). Migration Matters in South Asia: Commonalities and Critiques. Economic and political weekly, 43(24), pp. 57-65. Sameeksha Trust

Thieme, Susan (2008). Sustaining Livelihoods in Multi‐local Settings: Possible Theoretical Linkages Between Transnational Migration and Livelihood Studies. Mobilities, 3(1), pp. 51-71. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group 10.1080/17450100701797315

Thieme, Susan (2008). Living in Transition: How Kyrgyz Women Juggle Their Different Roles in a Multi-local Setting. Gender, technology and development, 12(3), pp. 325-345. Routledge, Taylor and Francis 10.1177/097185240901200303

Herzig, Pascale; Thieme, Susan (2007). How geography matters: neglected dimensions in contemporary migration research. Asiatische Studien / Etudes asiatiques AS/EA, 61(4), pp. 1077-1112. de Gruyter

Kollmair, Michael; Manadhar, Siddhi; Subedi, Bhim; Thieme, Susan (2006). New figures for old stories: Migration and remittances in Nepal. Migration letters, 3(2), pp. 151-160. Transnational Press London

Thieme, Susan; Wyss, Simone (2005). Migration Patterns and Remittance Transfer in Nepal: A Case Study of Sainik Basti in Western Nepal. International migration, 43(5), pp. 59-98. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1468-2435.2005.00342.x

Thieme, Susan; Bhattrai, Raju; Gurung, Ganesh; Kollmair, Michael; Müller-Böker, Ulrike (2005). Addressing the Needs of Nepalese Migrant Workers in Nepal and in Delhi, India. Mountain Research and Development, 25(2), pp. 109-114. International Mountain Society

Thieme, Susan; Müller-Böker, Ulrike (2004). Financial Self-Help Associations among Far West Nepalese Labor Migrants in Delhi, India. Asian and Pacific migration journal, 13(3), pp. 339-361. Sage 10.1177/011719680401300303

Thieme, Susan; Kollmair, Michael; Müller-Böker, Ulrike (2003). Research Report: Labour Migration from Far West Nepal to Delhi, India. European bulletin of Himalayan research, 24, pp. 82-89. SAI Heidelberg

Newspaper or Magazine Article

Ammann, Carole; Thieme, Susan; Richter, Marina (2019). Social Differences among Nurses and Physicians in Switzerland: An Intersectional Perspective. GeoAgenda(2019/1), pp. 18-21. Verband Geographie Schweiz (ASG)

Landolt, Sara; Thieme, Susan (April 2014). Vorwort zu Feministisches Geo-RundMail Nr. 59. Feministisches Geo-RundMail(59), pp. 2-3.

Steimann, Bernd; Thieme, Susan (14 May 2010). Wir gehen nicht zurück: Bishkeks Vororte als Spiegel gesellschaftlicher Umbrüche in Kirgistan. Neue Zürcher Zeitung NZZ, 109, p. 9. Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Book Section

Thieme, Susan; Murzakulova, Asel (2019). Migration, multilocality and the question of return in Kyrgyzstan. In: Bachmann, Felicitas; Maharjan, Amina; Thieme, Susan; Fleiner, Renate; Wymann von Dach, Susanne (eds.) Migration and Sustainable Mountain Development: Turning Challenges into Opportunities. Sustainable Mountain Development Series (pp. 30-31). Bern: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, with Bern Open Publishing

Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe; Wüthrich, Tamara; Rüegg, Simon; Zinsstag, Jakob; Keune, Hans; Boillat, Sébastien; Blake, Lauren; Thieme, Susan; Degeling, Chris; Rist, Stephan (2018). Evaluating the contributions of One Health initiatives to social sustainability. In: Rüegg, Simon R.; Häsler, Barbara; Zinsstag, Jakob (eds.) Integrated approaches to health. A handbook for the evaluation of One Health (pp. 86-125). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers

Thieme, Susan (2017). Non-social Science Perspectives in Research on social Sustainability. In: Opielka, Michael; Renn, Ortwin (eds.) Symposium: Soziale Nachhaltigkeit, Beiträge für das "Symposium: Soziale Nachhaltigkeit" am 2.11.2017, Potsdam (IASS) (pp. 155-163). Norderstedt: Books on Demand

Geiser, Urs; Müller-Böker, Ulrike; Shahbaz, Babar; Steimann, Bernd; Thieme, Susan (2011). Towards an Analytical Livelihoods Perspective in Critical Development Research. In: Research for Sustainable Development. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South: Vol. 6 (pp. 257-271). Bern: Geographica Bernensia

Bichsel, Christine; Fokou, Gilbert; Ibraimova, Asel; Ulan, Kasymov; Steimann, Bernd; Thieme, Susan (2010). Natural Resource Institutions in Transformation: The Tragedy and Glory of the Private. In: Global Change and Sustainable Development: A Synthesis of Regional Experiences from Research Partnerships. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence of Research (NCCR) North-South: Vol. 5 (pp. 255-269). Bern: Geographica Bernensia

Barbora, Sanjay; Thieme, Susan; Siegmann, Karin Astrid (2010). Patterns and Politics of Migration in South Asia. In: Global Change and Sustainable Development: A Synthesis of Regional Experiences from Research Partnerships. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South: Vol. 5 (pp. 313-328). Bern: Geographica Bernensia

Thieme, Susan (2009). Dubai chalo!: Wer baut Dubai? In: Blum, Elisabeth; Neitzke, Peter (eds.) Dubai: Stadt aus dem Nichts. Bauwelt Fundamente: Vol. 143 (pp. 188-203). Basel: Birkhäuser 10.1515/9783035602760


Bachmann, Felicitas; Maharjan, Amina; Thieme, Susan; Fleiner, Renate; Wymann von Dach, Susanne (eds.) (2019). Migration and sustainable mountain development: Turning challenges into opportunities. Sustainable Mountain Development Series. Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, with Bern Open Publishing

Ghimire, Anita; Upreti, Bishnu Raj; Adhikari, Jagannath; ArnØy, Joakim; Thieme, Susan (eds.) (2012). Nepal Migration Year Book 2011. Kathmandu & Lalitpur, Nepal: Nepal Institute of Development Studies (NIDS) / National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South South Asia Coordination Office

Ghimire, Anita; Rajbanshi, Ashok; Gurung, Ganesh; Adhikari, Jagannath; Thieme, Susan (eds.) (2011). Nepal Migration Year Book 2010. Kathmandu & Lalitpur, Nepal: Nepal Institute of Development Studies (NIDS) / National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South South Asia Coordination Office

Thieme, Susan (2006). Social Networks and Migration. Kultur, Gesellschaft, Umwelt/Culture, Society, Environment: Vol. 7. Münster: LIT Verlag


Lindberg, Emma; Chakrabarti, Parijat; Thieme, Susan (2014). Brain drain or brain circulation? Career paths of international students: Swiss scholarships for international students at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich Zürich: ETH Global

Working Paper

Thieme, Susan; Ghimire, Anita; Gurung, Ganesh (2014). Making migration safer (Evidence for Policy Series 2b). Bern: NCCR North-South

Thieme, Susan; Elebaeva, Alnur; Bruce, Zarina; Samanchina, Jarkyn (February 2013). Studying abroad: encouraging students to return to Kyrgyzstan (Evidence for Policy Series, Regional edition Central Asia 5). Bern: NCCR North-South

Thieme, Susan (2009). Where to return to? Rural Urban Interlinkages in Times of Internal and International Migration (Policy Briefs on Civil Society). Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Social Research Center, American University Central Asia (AUCA)

Thieme, Susan (1 October 2003). Savings and credit associations and remittances : the case of Far West Nepalese labour migrants in Delhi, India Geneva: Social Finance Programme, Employment Sector, International Labour Office


Thieme, Susan (2010). Sustaining livelihoods in multi-local settings: A theoretical, methodological and empirical perspective (Unpublished). (Habilitation)

Audiovisual Material & Event

Ahmed, Kazu; Bardoloi, Ushma; Kashyap, Sushmita (2008). The other silk road [Movie]. NCCR North-South & Panos South Asia


Thieme, Susan (July 2013). Banning women from migrating. In: Feministisches Geo-RundMail, 56.

Thieme, Susan (27 May 2013). Bans Will Not Stop Women from Migrating. In: Central Eurasian Scholars & Media Initiative.

This list was generated on Tue Aug 20 19:50:46 2019 CEST.