All Swiss Schools & Universities Alumni Gathering 2016 in Beijing

Be it the cup of coffee that you had with friends sitting on the staircases of the university building, or the cup of coffee that accompanied you late at night when you were trying to finish course assessment before the deadline, almost for sure, there is always a cup of good coffee deep in your memories of your student life in Switzerland.

That's why we thought about offering the alumni of Swiss schools and universities an unique opportunity to make their own coffee with professional coffee-making guidance given by Nespresso Coffee Ambassadors and to recall their memorable experiences in Switzerland while enjoying the coffee on the occasion of the All Swiss School & University Alumni Gathering, which took place at the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing on 21st October 2016.

Invited by the Ambassador of Switzerland to China, H.E Mr. Jean-Jacques de Dardel,  and Science Technology and Education Section of the Swiss Embassy in Beijing, together with contribution from swisslearning and support from Nespresso, over 100 alumni from Swiss schools and universities participated the gathering despite the raining weather.

The drizzling night was immediately warmed up by the Nespresso Barista Workshop - 4 tables on which Nespresso Coffee Machines and various ingredients were nicely presented with a Nespresso Coffee Ambassador standing beside each table waiting for the guests.  Each of the participants got a seat at the one of the tables and took on the journey of exploring the dynamic world of coffee-making presented by Nespresso and finally made their own cups of coffee with their choices of flavor.

Filled up with the excitement of the alumni from their achievement at the workshop, the night was further highlighted by the Ambassador's welcome speech. Ambassador de Dardel has been attaching great importance to alumni events as he values significantly the ties created by students from both countries. He invites alumni to get together at his residence on a regular base in order to let the them continue their close ties with Switzerland after their studies, and it's a great pleasure to see that the alumni enjoy and appreciate such kind of opportunities evidenced by their enthusiastic participations.

The Ambassador's speech was followed by a buffet reception including raclette made with Swiss cheese that we ordered from Switzerland especially for this evening as well as Swiss wine. Authentic Swiss food like a time machine that carried all the guests back to Switzerland and opened up warm exchanges among the alumni no matter if they knew each other before as Swiss food is their shared memory and common language.

It is our wish to provide opportunities for alumni to meet up once in a while to catch up with old friends and make new friends, and to feel that their study experience does not finish after their returns, it is in fact a long-lasting story which will develop further with new elements added over time, and we are here to support and connect each of them.

By Science Technology and Education Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing.

8th Reception of the St.Gallen Symposium in Beijing

In the light of the upcoming 47th St.Gallen Symposium in May 2017 focusing on “Disruption”, the Embassy of Switzerland in China had the great honour to organize the 8th St.Gallen Symposium Beijing Reception on November 30th 2016 to discuss this hot topic in the Chinese context. 

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Swiss Day 2016 @ the International Culture Festival of Peking University: a focus on Innovation

October 23 could have been a dull and cold Sunday, announcing the beginning of a long and harsh winter. This was maybe true everywhere else in north China, but definitely not at Peking University where the annual International Culture Festival took place.  

Among the 60 countries promoting themselves to thousands of visitors, the Swiss booth had the honour to be the largest one. While our country benefits from a positive image in China, its achievements in the fields of innovation, education and research remain usually unknown to the general public. For this reason, our Swiss booth focused on the theme of Innovation, with a powerful slogan printed on the t-shirts of our dedicated team of volunteers from the Swiss Embassy and Peking University: “We Innovate”.

In order to deliver this message, the Swiss booth presented several explanatory panels highlighting Switzerland’s innovative strength and competitiveness, the key factors behind its success and some concrete examples of Swiss innovative projects and researches. This message was further promoted with TV screens broadcasting different videos about Swiss innovation. Furthermore, visitors also had the chance to try the smallest portable wireless scanner of the world and a cutting-edge scanner mouse invented by a Swiss start-up (Dacuda).

More than a simple exhibition on innovation, the concept of our Swiss booth was to provide both a culinary and intellectual experience at the same time. For food lovers - and no doubt that Chinese people are - we had an almost endless mountain of chocolate bars provided by our generous sponsors Lindt and Nestlé, as well as a chocolate fountain allowing our visitors to try some melted chocolate with fresh fruits. However, in order to have the right to taste our mouth-watering chocolates, visitors had first to submit a quiz about Swiss Innovation. The answers could be found on the panels with the help of our dynamic team of volunteers. At the end of the day, what seemed a never-ending chocolate mountain in the morning had disappeared.

The successful promotion of Switzerland’s innovation in a stimulating and pleasant atmosphere was not only reflected in the great smile of the thousands of visitors, but also in our guestbook where visitors could leave comments. We received some very friendly and touching messages such as « I Love Switzerland » or « Switzerland and China are forever friends », as well as many messages praising our booth to be the « best» and the «most technologically advanced» one. Lastly, many comments proved that our booth was able to raise awareness about Switzerland’s innovative strength: « Switzerland is really an innovative country, impressive! ».




Panel Discussion: The Future of Ageing in Switzerland and China: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities

“With the right policies and services in place, population ageing can be viewed as a rich new opportunity for both individuals and societies.” — Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization, in the Preface to the 2015 World Report on Ageing and Health.

From left to right: Michael Waser, Ninie Wang, Lixin Yu, Fang Liu, H.E. Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Yi Pan, Henk Verloo, Heidi Longerich

From left to right: Michael Waser, Ninie Wang, Lixin Yu, Fang Liu, H.E. Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Yi Pan, Henk Verloo, Heidi Longerich

On the occasion of a delegation visit from Swiss universities of applied sciences consisting of experts in the area of ageing, the Embassy of Switzerland in China organized a panel discussion and reception with respective Chinese colleagues on the Topic: “The Future of Ageing in Switzerland and China: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities“.

Before the panel started, H.E. Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Ambassador of Switzerland to China, welcomed the audience to his residence and reflected in his welcome speech on the health care developments in Switzerland. Prof Liu Fang, Deputy Director of China Research Center on Aging, then held a keynote speech on the latest developments of ageing in China. Her speech included the latest results of a survey the research center recently conducted whit the aim to better understand current living conditions and needs of the elderly.

During the subsequent panel discussion which was moderated by Michael Waser, Deputy Head of the Science and Education Section at the Swiss Embassy, the following Chinese and Swiss experts discussed the main challenges and exchanged experiences in the different countries:

  • Ms.  LONGERICH Heidi, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Director of Institute of Nursing / Health Professions
  • Prof. VERLOO Henk, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Senior Researcher / Nursing Science
  • Prof. PAN Yi, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Professor of Social Policy
  • Mrs. YU Lixin, YYK Healthcare Management Co. Ltd, Founder and Chairwoman of Board
  • Mrs. WANG Ninie, Pinetree Senior Care Services, Co-Founder and CEO

An interesting point raised during the discussion was that the status of nurses had to be increased so that the profession would be attractive to enough for potential students. It was clear to the audience that neither of the two countries has a perfect solution and both countries can learn a lot from each other.


SSSTC Presentation in Xi’an Jiaotong University

For the purpose of the 120th anniversary of Xi’an Jiaotong University and the 60th anniversary of the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Medicine Lara Fritschi, Attachée to the Science, Technology and Education Section (STE) of the Embassy of Switzerland in the People’s Republic of China was kindly invited to hold a presentation on the Sino-Swiss Science and Technology Cooperation (SSSTC).

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Global Village 2016 @ Tsinghua University

When the air smells of Indian curry, the sound of South American beats makes you want to move your body and you casually take some selfies with Barak Obama and Roger Federer, you definitely are at Tsinghua University’s Global Village.

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"Insight China 2016" in Beijing

Apart from celebrating the beginning of spring, the Science, Technology and Education Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in China was happy to welcome the delegation from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) for the 7th time since 2009 for a joint lecture at the Embassy’s Residence.

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Exchange Students and Alumni Gathering 2015

When the Christmas lights turn on at the residence of the Swiss Embassy, the mulled wine is being warmed up and the air smells of Swiss Raclette cheese, then it is time for this year’s Exchange Students and Alumni Gathering

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venture leaders China 2015

This year’s edition of venture leaders China stood once again in the spotlight of 10 innovative Swiss entrepreneurs, starting in Beijing with an intensive three-days program involving various business experts, entrepreneurs and investors.

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“Insight China” 2015

For the 5th time since 2009, the Science, Technology and Education Section of the Embassy of Switzerland and swissnex China welcomed a delegation from the University of Applied Sciences and Art Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). The FHNW actively fosters collaboration with China, including the foundation of a Swiss SME Research Center in Harbin in 2013 that provides Swiss SMEs with valuable information to gain a foothold in the Chinese market. This year, the delegation consisted of 29 students and professors of the business school, who organized a two-week study trip to China as part of a project called “Insight China”. 


“Insight China” is an initiative by senior students of the FHNW with the mission to make graduating students ready for successfully doing business in China. Prior to their study trip, the students attended a preparatory seminar in Switzerland.  For many FHNW business students, it is the first time to travel in China. After their arrival on March 28th, the delegation organized a joint together with the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) on “Non State & State Owned Enterprises as Economic Drivers in China/Switzerland”. Both universities presented insightful views on the role, attractiveness and profitability of Swiss and Chinese non-state owned enterprises (non-SOE) and state owned enterprises (SOE). Prof. Zhonglin XU from the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) further elaborated on the issue of non-SOE and SOE as well as future challenges that need to be met in a presentation entitled “Chinese Dream: Opportunities and Challenges - SOE reform in China Past, Present and Future”. To conclude the event, appetizers and drinks were served at the Residence of the Embassy, which was a great networking opportunity to promote cultural exchange.

“Swiss Made” in Beijing: the Untold Story Behind Switzerland’s Success

During last week’s annual Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) and in the presence of various Swiss institutions of higher education, swissnex China and the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing organized four lectures on Switzerland’s exceptional success story. Switzerland, as a country that puts great emphasis on higher education, research and commitment to international partnership, is splendidly portrayed in Mr. R. James Breiding’s book Swiss Made: The Untold Story Behind Switzerland’s Success. Mr. Breiding was welcomed by the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), Tsinghua University, Newhuadu Business School (NBS) and the Yale, Harvard and IMD alumni clubs in Beijing, where he held talks with students and young professionals.

The first lecture about “The Success Story Behind Switzerland’s Strong Positioning in Finance & Banking” took place on March 25th and was hosted by Prof. Huayong NIU, Dean of the International Business School at BFSU. H.E. Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Ambassador of Switzerland to China, and Mr. Guohua YAN, Vice President of the BFSU, also attended the lecture, during which Mr. Breiding offered a comprehensive introduction into the fascinating world of Swiss finance and banking industries. He explained the reasons behind their success, and how they eventually became the backbones of Switzerland’s economic landscape. 

Prof. Wei ZHANG, Academic Director of Tsinghua x-lab, hosted another lecture called “Swiss Innovation versus Innovation from Silicon Valley”. In the course of this event, Mr. Breiding and Prof. Steven White, Deputy Director of Tsinghua x-lab, shared their viewpoints on Swiss innovation and engaged in lively discussions with the audience. The discussion revealed how Swiss visionaries and entrepreneurs rose to success, step-by-step paving the way for ground breaking innovations and “Swiss Made” excellence.

At the premise of the Newhuadu Business School, a leading private business school with a newly established campus in Zurich, Mr. Breiding gave another talk and joined a roundtable discussion in front of over 80 business executives including APAIE and SwissCham representatives. Together with Mr. Chijiang (Star) WANG, General Manager of hampoo, he elaborated on the topic “When Made in China Meets Swiss Made”. According to Mr. Wang, “Made in China” stands partly for “copycat behavior” and low quality at low market prices, while “Swiss Made” is a labeling that exemplifies the commitment to produce not only high-end products, but also the continuous effort to provide the employees with market-oriented educational programs and state-of-the-art equipment. In taking Switzerland’s success and openness to immigrant workers as an example, Mr. Wang is confident that a similar book to Swiss Made, but with reference to Chinese companies and entrepreneurs, will appear under the title Made in China soon.

The last lecture in this series, “Innovation in Switzerland vs. Innovation in Silicon Valley”, was held on March 26th in collaboration with the Yale, Harvard and IMD alumni clubs in Beijing. A dynamic group of young business professionals addressed questions like “What are the similarities and differences between innovation in Switzerland and innovation in Silicon Valley?” or “How come Switzerland is home to high-tech SMEs without owning even one single national innovation park?”. In doing so, they became aware of the forces that keep the motors of innovation and entrepreneurship in Switzerland moving.

To sum up, the “Swiss Made” lectures and roundtable discussions perfectly fitted the context of the 65 years anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and People’s Republic of China. Swissnex China and the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing could witness that Swiss Made was very well received by the audience and offers useful insights into the remarkable story of Swiss entrepreneurship, craftsmanship and innovation.

- Contributed by Marcel Schneider, Attaché of Science, Technology and Education Section, Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing

ETH Alumni Event on December 5, 2014

Friday, 5 December 2014, The Embassy had the honor of welcoming the President of the ETH Zurich, Prof. Dr. Ralph Eichler in visit in Beijing. For this unique occasion, the Ambassador hosted an ETH Alumni Event to acknowledge the arrival of his esteemed guest. The event gathers around 30 former students of the institutes of technology. Prof. Christian Wolfrum, ETH and Prof. Quiting Huang, ETH, who both delivered a speech at the residence, escorted Professor Eichler on his Beijing tour which took him to the newly-built Peking University International Hospital, the biggest non-profit hospital with social capital in Beijing.

6th St. Gallen Symposium Beijing Reception

In the light of the 45th St. Gallen Symposium (SGS) in 2015, the Ambassador hosted the 6th St. Gallen Symposium Beijing Reception on December 3rd 2014 at his residence on December 3rd 2014. Mr. Philip Erzinger, Chief Executive Officer, St. Gallen Foundation for International Studies (SGFIS) and the International Students’ Committee (ISC) at the University of St. Gallen coordinated the conference together with the STE team at the Embassy. Prior to the main event, selected graduate students from top Chinese universities were invited to attend a pre-gathering held by Nektarios Palaskas and Rolf Bachmann, Head of Leaders of Tomorrow at SGFIS. The two speakers exposed the role of the Embassy in the bilateral relation with China and the essay competition of the SGS respectively. For the latter, Mr. Bachman invited them to take part in the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award, an essay competition intended for graduate students. For next year, the topic of the essay is «Proudly small» and the contestants are to return their unique perspective to convince a renowned jury. The authors of the best 100 contributions will be invited to join the next St. Gallen Symposium, while the three best are bestowed with the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award.

Subsequent to the pre-gathering, the students and many more distinguished guests from business and academia attended a panel discussion and reception at the residence. A panel of influential persons in China moderated by the well-known CCTV Anchor James Chau, debated the topic “Urbanization in China – Beyond Human Scale”. We had the honor to welcome Dr. Urs BUCHMANN, Head Corporate & Institutional Clients Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse, Mr. Alex CAMPRUBI, Studio Director at China State Construction Engineer Company, Mrs. Kathy GONG, Founder and Chairwoman at KG Inc., Prof. TAO Ran, Director of the China Center for Public Economics and Governance at Renmin University of China, and Jonathan Woetzel, Director of MicKinsey & Company and Founder of Urban China Initiative, to converse on this challenging and burning topic together with the audience.

The number of cars and public transportation, the sustainable degree of density of population and the role of sky scrapers were among the subjects being debated. More details of the debate could be found on the blog page of the St. Gallen Symposium: