At the beginning of this year, Avenir Suisse held its 6th annual international think tank summit on the topic of “Challenges of a multipolar world”. The focus lay on the rivalry between the USA and China, and how this has affected various policy areas. As a result four panels were organised on trade and investment, technology and security, geopolitics and institutions and the role of small open economies. The recordings of these discussions will be published in the following weeks. To begin with, we are sharing the welcome speech by our Director Peter Grünenfelder, as well as the opening speech held by the Federal Chancellor Walter Thurnherr.

In his speech, Mr. Thurnherr addressed trends that are having an impact on the present, and will likely also affect our future. These include:

  1. The rise of China and the shift in economic and political power towards Asia
  2. The end of Pax Americana and its consequences for Europe
  3. Tremendous technological developments with profound political implications
  4. Challenges of climate change
  5. Global demographics and immigration

He highlights the importance of learning from the past, while also focusing on the challenges that lie ahead. Politicians must try to stay ahead of developments in order to enable nuanced fact-based discussions that result in evidence-based policies: “Change is relative: We have a tendency to ignore the past, overestimate the present and underestimate the long-term future.”