The St. Gallen Symposium, an annual gathering of leaders from across the globe, marked its 50th anniversary this year. 1,000 participants took part in the three-day cross-generational dialogue, joining from the University of St. Gallen campus, in Singapore, ten Swiss Embassies around the world, and online. The theme of this year’s symposium was Trust Matters.

Catherine Chen, Corporate Senior Vice President and BOD Member at Huawei, addressed the student-led initiative. Other speakers from the private sector included Christophe Franz, BOD Chairman at Roche, Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and Roshni Nadar Malhotra, CEO of HCL Corporation.

The participants also included political leaders, such as Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and representatives of transnational organizations, like Chairwoman of the Swiss Digital Initiative Doris Leuthard.

The participants agreed that trust is inherently built on openness and transparency, take concrete, actionable steps to address the common challenges and risks that have emerged in the wake of 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 also expressed their view that finding ways to preserve and strengthen trust is critical for a sustainable recovery.

“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,” said Catherine Chen, Corporate Senior Vice President and BOD Member at Huawei.