Research Group

Prof. Dr. Sacha Zala


The historian Sacha Zala is director of the research centre Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland (Dodis), an institute of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAGW), and professor of Swiss and Contemporary General History at the University of Bern. He has been president of the Swiss Historical Society (SGG) since 2014, secretary general of the International Committee of Editors of Diplomatic Documents (ICEDD) since 2013 and has been on the Board of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS) since 2017. 

He studied history, political science and constitutional law at the University Bern and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his PhD in 1999 with the dissertation «Geschichte unter der Schere politischer Zensur». This was followed by research within the framework of the National Research Program «Foundations and Possibilities of Swiss Foreign Policy» (NRP 42) and teaching as a lecturer at the Institute of History of the University of Bern until 2009. He has been a member of the Dodis research group since 2000. In 2004, he was a fellow of the Hans Sigrist Foundation of the University Bern and a member of the Istituto Svizzero di Roma, and in 2009, he was a fellow at the Cluster of Excellence of the University of Heidelberg. Since 1998, he teaches at the Universities of Bern, Zürich, Basel, Luzern, Geneva, Neuchâtel as well as at UniDistance Switzerland. He is a member of various scientific advisory boards, including Quaderni grigionitaliani, Italia contemporanea, NZZ Geschichte and the Freedom of Information Archive Advisory Board of Columbia University (NY). 

In addition to editing the Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland (DDS), he has published numerous contributions, especially on historiographical issues, on the history of international relations and foreign policy, and on fascism and border regions. Particularly noteworthy are his general overviews of Switzerland from 1914–1949 in the new Handbook of Swiss History and of developments in the foreign policy of the Swiss Confederation since 1848 in the new Handbook of Swiss Foreign Policy

For his research as a historian and his commitment to language policies as president of Pro Grigioni Italiano (2006–2013), Sacha Zala received the Graubünden Culture Prize 2019 for outstanding cultural and scientific achievements.

Curriculum Vitae

Main fields of research 

International politics and foreign policy, Swiss history, historiography, history of historical science, fascism as well as questions concerning European nationalities, minorities and border regions. 

List of publications