Annual Theme

The St. Gallen Symposium promotes cross-generational dialogue on the most pressing issues of our time. Every year, we focus our annual main symposium, our year-round dialogue initiatives and our publications on a core theme. This serves to inspire our cross-generational community of leaders of today and tomorrow to reflect and act upon key questions in five thematic areas, related to business, governance, sustainability, technology, and the social and generational contract.

Briefs and research explore the complexities and opportunities related to our core theme. Our annual publication SYMPACT synthesises the main findings of our debates, and outlines questions in need of further exploration.

annual theme

Collaborative Advantage

The 51st St .GalIen Symposium will explore current dilemmas and new, more impactful models of collaboration. How should we strike a balance between independence and interdependence in addressing our most pressing challenges? And what are skills, values, and frameworks needed to work together more effectively?

In an increasingly interdependent world, cooperation between businesses, governments, and across generations is more needed, but also more challenging than even With polarisation and intergenerational frictions on the rise, the St.Gallen Symposium’s unique platform of leaders of today and tomorrow will debate ways to unlock collaborative advantage in five key areas.

Topic Blocks


Technology-driven ecosystems and global supply chains offer unprecedented opportunities for businesses to collaboratively create economic and societal value. However, the coronavirus pandemic and geopolitical tensions have exposed the vulnerabilities of a densely connected, global economy. How can businesses craft rewarding partnerships and benefit from collaboration in an uncertain environment?


Our most pressing challenges such as climate change, pandemics, and global economic progress extend beyond borders and elude solutions by one government alone. Yet, reaching agreements between diverging state interests and values has become increasingly difficult. How can governments strike a balance between autonomy and global commitments, and develop more effective models of cooperation?


A healthy environment is a global public good, but climate change and other ecological crises have long been characterised by failures to organise collective action. As the world’s largest economies have now outlined decarbonisation goals, there is hope this might catalyse the world towards a more ambitious trajectory – if we succeed to leverage our economic and environmental interdependence.


Emerging technologies allow us to reimagine collaboration across organisations and locations, while human cooperation is key to manage their unique benefits and risks. At the same time, technological capabilities are a fundamental component of companies’ and states’ competitive advantage – raising the question how to balance a collaborative and competitive approach to innovation and technology.


As captured in the idea of a generational and social contract, generations and societal groups depend on each other to provide mutual support. Yet societies, particularly in the West, have seen years of mounting polarisation, which increasingly run along generational lines. What are ways to re-emphasise common ground and mutual interests in contemporary societies, particularly between generations?

Topic Videos

Sign up for our Newsletter

Sign up for our Newsletter