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Events - 11.04.2023 - 15:00 

52nd St.Gallen Symposium discusses a “new generational contract"

How do people solve acute crises in the short term without causing long-term damage? HSG students will discuss this question and a new generational contract with personalities from business and politics and many young, talented individuals from all over the world at the 52nd St.Gallen Symposium. Guests include "Black Lives Matter" co-founder Ayọ Tometi, climate activist Vanessa Nakate, Germany's Green Party leader Ricarda Lang, Peter Maurer, former president of the International Red Cross, and philosopher Richard David Precht.

The 52nd St.Gallen Symposium will present an international guest list this year and will host more  public events than in previous years. A majority of the discussions can be followed via the public live stream. Those who are at home in Eastern Switzerland can also take part directly in the new format, "St.Gallen Symposium in Town". This format involves public events in restaurants and bars in St.Gallen's old town with well-known panel guests, such as the doctor and entertainer Eckhart von Hirschhausen or the leader of Green party in Germany, in discussion with the president of the Swiss FDP.

With regard to content, the 52nd St.Gallen Symposium is dedicated to the search for a new generational contract. Because unprecedented levels of debt, environmental problems and challenging geopolitical developments have thrown the bond between generations out of balance. New concepts, innovations and techniques as well as fresh ideas for better mutual understanding are therefore needed.

Seven principles for the new generational contract 

"We have drafted seven principles that will be discussed at the Symposium," says Beat Ulrich, CEO of the St.Gallen Symposium. Felix Rüdiger, head of research of the St.Gallen Symposium, and Deborah Walt from the student leadership team continued, “These principles are: responsibility, care, regeneration, openness, cooperation, participation, awareness of the past and the future. We have developed these seven principles through generational research using quantitative and qualitative global surveys." 

The idea for this "New Generational Contract", which the Symposium is launching together with the Club of Rome, emerged at last year’s conference in St.Gallen in May 2022. The main issue here is to consider the long-term effects of decisions made today, says Beat Ulrich.

Short-term reactions to current crises, such as energy shortages, inflation or war in Ukraine, created new challenges very quickly. Structurally-required changes as well as a sustainable, long-term transformation have been postponed time and again. "We want to find synergies between short-term crisis management and long-term change - ones that are inter-generational, solution-oriented and interdisciplinary," noted Cyril Flaig, co-leader of this year's team of HSG students that is organising the conference. 

With the idea of a new generational contract, the St.Gallen Symposium 2023 underscores the urgent need for action.

1000 participants from 100 nations and 100 speakers 

The young conference participants were selected in cooperation with over 300 universities worldwide. Guests and managers from around 300 partner companies and institutions will also be visiting the University of St.Gallen campus. Events in Mexico, Johannesburg and Beijing will take place at the same time.

The 100 speakers, which include Ayọ Tometi, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, see their visit to St.Gallen as a direct commitment to inter-generational dialogue. Surprising encounters between fundamentally different personalities is something the conference thrives on: for example, a competitive athlete from Lebanon talks to company directors from Switzerland, an environmental activist from Uganda talks to government representatives from Singapore, Wales, the EU, Canada and Brazil. The Minister of State for Youth Affairs in the United Arab Emirates will also be a guest. One thing that is very important in all this: each panel will be "intergenerational".

The business community will be represented by top managers from Airbus, ASICS, E.ON, HugoBoss, Omega, Kühne + Nagel, Hirslanden and the AXA Group. There will also be representatives from national banks and sovereign wealth funds from Norway, Singapore and Switzerland. Specific educational formats within the scope of the University of St.Gallen's 125-year anniversary will be led by faculty heads from universities from all over the world. "With these formats we strive for solutions for a paradigm shift in the energy market, for example, but also to approaches for de-escalating difficult relationships between geopolitical players. The aim of our initiative is to increase global recognition of the need for structural change as well as specific projects," reveals Beat Ulrich. 

The entire event is organised by students of the University of St.Gallen.

Here you can find the current video, which offers a look behind the scenes. 

Image: St.Gallen Symposium

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