Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator Foundation

Foundation aims to address emerging issues of the impact of science on societies

March 14th, 2019
Hoëlenn Ayoul - Guilmard, News from Berlin
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Photo: Federal Departement of Foreign Affairs FDFA

Geneva is known as a hub for dozens of international organizations, the United Nations and over 380 non-governmental agencies but, by launching the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GSDA) Foundation, the foreign affairs ministry aims at moving beyond “classic” humanitarian concerns of International Geneva to meet the challenges of the 21st century

The president of the GSDA Foundation, the former Nestlé CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, and its  vice-president Patrick Aebischer, former head of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) intend to help bring science and diplomacy together.

However, more than bringing the scientific and diplomatic communities together, the idea is to “anticipate” the consequences of technological advances on society and politics. Recent technological and scientific innovation is driving progress and creating opportunities for the future but also has the potential of having destabilizing repercussions for our societies and institutions. Giving the examples of automated cars, genetic engineering o the impact of artificial intelligence on work, Aebischer highlighted the challenges of the future, like how rapidly evolving new technology should be regulated as they are already transforming the sectors such as health and agriculture. “There are things happening in our laboratories that we can hardly imagine,” said Aebischer. “But the idea is that by combining our networks we will be able to know and anticipate, to try and bridge the growing gap between technology and the need to regulate it’’.

This initiative - co-founded by the Swiss Confederation and the Canton of Geneva but funded by the FDFA - aimed at strengthening Switzerland's role in addressing the challenges of multilateral diplomacy in the 21st century as much as bringing the scientific and diplomatic communities closer together.


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