This prestigious price is awarded to exceptional personalities who have made great contributions between the Sister Republics Switzerland and the USA. This year the award went to Hansjörg Wyss, entrepreneur and philanthrope who as Chairman of the Wyss Foundation has made large contributions to academic institutions in Switzerland and the USA and has steered crucial innovations to success. Our Board Member, Schumetta McLendon assisted to the Ceremony in Geneva, and she kindly share with us her experience.
Gallatin Awards 2022
I wanted to go back to Switzerland after travel opened up again and the Gallatin Award was an excellent opportunity to meet people in the Chamber from other chapters.
Before the event began, we had time to socialize and learn about some of the projects the Wyss Foundation is supporting.
What impressed me the most was the kindness of the Chamber members and the time and dedication of the scientific teams to their projects. One guest was a gentleman who helped me with my luggage on the train just an hour earlier. As I spoke to the Wyss Foundation researchers, their commitment to their work was evident. I am looking forward to seeing how their projects benefit the lives of many in the future.
I found the speeches during the award ceremony to be sincere and heartfelt.
University Presidents, Prof. Martin Vetterli and Prof. Joël Mesot, were a pleasant surprise. They were quite funny in their presentation and it was nice to see the collaboration between EPFL and ETHZ to honor Hans Jörg Wyss.
Although it was not confirmed at the time, it appears that the Presidents got their wish for Mr. Wyss to become an owner of Chelsea FC. Hopefully, they will get their second wish for Chelsea to keep N’golo Kante. They also reminded us that FC Barcelona was founded by Swiss businessman, Joan Gamper.
National Councilor Isabelle Moret spoke eloquently about her region’s contributions to Swiss American relations. I was not familiar with Ms. Moret prior to the event and I’m always happy to see women represented in leadership positions.
Hans Jörg Wyss’ acceptance speech embodied a spirit of entreprenuership, ingenuity, and generosity that clearly showed why he is the recipient of the Gallatin Award. He reflected on the past while also urging us to consider the impacts that our actions have on the future.
The closing remarks by Silvio Napoli, CEO of Schindler and Chairman of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, honored Mr. Wyss’ legacy in Switzerland and the US. He also shared how Mr. Wyss was a personal inspiration in his professional life as an engineer and Harvard graduate, which are two things they have in common.
It was quite touching to see the respect that Mr. Wyss was given by Mr Napoli and all of the speakers.
At the end of the evening, I was fortunate to meet Liana Wild-Soldati, the Chamber Events Manager, and Alexandra Syz, Martin Naville’s new Assistant. They organized a wonderful evening and I hope to see them in person again soon.