This year’s St. Gallen Symposium, scheduled from 7–8 May 2020, has been postponed due to the overall uncertainty connected to COVID-19. The organisers have made this decision after discussions with the responsible health authorities and the University of St.Gallen. The new dates for the 50th symposium will be 6–7 May 2021.
St. Gallen, 10 March 2020 – The International Students’ Committee and the St. Gallen Foundation for International Studies have decided to postpone the St. Gallen Symposium – originally scheduled for 7–8 May 2020. “Unfortunately, after consultation with the responsible authorities and the University, it was necessary to make this decision”, explained Beat Ulrich, CEO of the symposium. “For us, the safety and health of our participants and speakers are our first priorities. Because we are an international conference with a long tradition, we bear a great responsibility.”
An early decision in a jubilee year
The decision, coming just over two months before the symposium was to take place, was made because of difficulties in accurately gauging the dangers of COVID-19 spread and possible further travel restrictions. For the planning and execution of the St. Gallen Symposium, this represented an enormous risk. “With this decision, we have given everyone time to change arrangements”, Beat Ulrich said.
In May, the St. Gallen Symposium would have celebrated its 50th anniversary. “We particularly regret that such a decision had to be made in our jubilee year. It is specially hard because we were so happy about the dialogue between young, involved students and great thinkers from all over the world – established and respected opinion leaders like Ola Källenius (Daimler), Mark Schneider (Nestlé), Mamphela Ramphele (Club of Rome), Thomas Buberl (Axa), Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter, and Prof. Michael Sandel (Harvard University); we were looking very much forward to welcoming them”, Ulrich said.
A special challenge for the student organisational team
The decision has a significant impact on the 34-person student team, who has been working for eight months preparing for the symposium and have been conducting discussions worldwide with great enthusiasm. “They put their St. Gallen University studies on hold for an entire year to voluntarily support our initiative.”, explains Ulrich. “Their responsibilities will change completely during the coming weeks; the focus will now be planning with our partners, suppliers and speakers for the coming year. I am proud of this young and motivated team and hope that this unprecedented event will also provide useful experience for the future. Sincere thanks must also go to all our partners for their understanding and the long years of support and cooperation – here in St. Gallen and worldwide.”
The dialogue continues
The new date for the 50th St. Gallen Symposium is 6–7 May 2021 in St. Gallen. “We are already looking forward to the jubilee event next year and are convinced that our unique dialogue is more needed than ever, given the challenges we see today”, emphasises Beat Ulrich. Until then, the International Students’ Committee will continue to keep up the generational dialogue in all its diverse formats. Various local conferences in many parts of the world and on diverse digital platforms will be held as planned.