The St. Gallen Symposium, an annual gathering of current and future leaders from across the globe, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. At the event, 1,000 participants took part in the three-day cross-generational dialogue, joining from the University of St. Gallen campus, an international hub in Singapore, ten Swiss Embassies around the world, and elsewhere online.
Catherine Chen, Corporate Senior Vice President and BOD Member at Huawei, addressed the student-led initiative on the morning of May 7. Other top speakers from the private sector include Christophe Franz, BOD Chairman at Roche, Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler, Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, and Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer of HCL Corporation.
The participants, who also included political leaders, such as Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and representatives of transnational organizations, like Chairwoman of the Swiss Digital Initiative Doris Leuthard, gathered to exchange their views on the theme of this year’s symposium, “Trust Matters”, something to which Huawei is deeply committed.
Chen believes this will require the joint efforts of policymakers, regulators, and the private sector.
“As more devices feature connectivity, more services go online, and more critical infrastructures rely on real-time data exchanges, so must governments worldwide ensure that everyone is protected by the highest security standards. Only a common set of rules can guarantee a level of security that creates trust in technology,” she said.
This year’s St. Gallen Symposium kicked off on May 5.
The event’s participants agreed that trust is inherently built on openness and transparency, and that it is time to take concrete, actionable steps to address the common challenges and risks that have emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public trust in political and economic institutions, emerging technologies and the media has recently been eroded, especially among the younger generations, and this has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We, as members of the younger generation, are connected to a greater number of people through social media, but this does not correspond to a circle of people we can trust,” said Simon Zulliger, a member of the team of 35 students from the University of St. Gallen that organized this year’s symposium.
The team expressed their view that finding ways to preserve and strengthen trust is critical for a sustainable recovery.
Chen hoped that the next generation of leaders would build trust and shape a world of pervasive connectivity.
“I urge them to continue developing the positive relationships between communities, individuals, and their environments. We must build strong trust in technology, enabled by a common set of rules, innovations, and progress. Only then can we commit to the sustainable and trustworthy use of technology,” she said.