Campus - 27.03.2024 - 15:15 

Strengthening bilateral ties: UK ambassador visits HSG

On Tuesday, 26 March, UK Ambassador James Squire visited the University of St.Gallen. He met with President Prof. Manuel Ammann and other faculty members and talked extensively with students and staff about the relationship between the UK, Switzerland and the EU.

His Majesty’s Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, James Squire, is on a quest to visit all 26 cantons of Switzerland during his posting here and embrace the diversity of our country. While staying in St.Gallen, he took the opportunity to visit the campus of the University of St.Gallen (HSG). President Prof. Manuel Ammann greeted him in his office for an introduction. There are currently 88 UK students at HSG. “But we would like to have more”, as Manuel Ammann emphasized with regards to HSG’s international outreach. The ambassador inquired about the university strategy to attract international talent – both students and faculty. Since UK students have become more internationally orientated in recent years, this might be an opportunity for the HSG. In particular, programmes such as the Master in Banking and Finance are very attractive. 

Deepening Swiss-British relations

On his way to the lecture hall at SQUARE, James Squire was accompanied by Prof Insa Koch, Chair of British Cultures. During their brief exchange they talked about the potential for further cooperation between her chair and the embassy, specifically in the domains of teaching and outreach. Some exciting ideas came up during the conversation. Afterwards, the ambassador spoke in front of around 40 students and staff. The main subject of his presentation was the relationship between the UK and Switzerland – two countries with a lot in common: Both are longstanding democracies, who find themselves in a similar position today, being the two largest European economies outside the European Union. “It’s an exciting time for our two countries ”, he said. He mentioned the ongoing negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement, for which he just recently welcomed 40 British trade negotiators in Berne, where they conducted round three of the talks. Other groundbreaking agreements have already been signed. For instance, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, and Swiss Federal Counsel Karin Keller-Sutter signed the Berne Financial Services Agreement just before last Christmas. A very significant agreement for the financial industries that demonstrates mutual trust and may serve as an example for similar agreements in other sectors. “There is a great basis to work more closely together,” said James Squire. As for research and innovation, the UK and Switzerland signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2022 to cooperate more closely in these domains. “14 of the 20 top European research universities are in the UK and Switzerland”, he pointed out. 

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