Mr. Ignazio Cassis, president of the Swiss Confederation, visited Kyoto University on April 21, 2022, to deliver a public lecture titled “Science and Diplomacy to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century.” The lecture was held at the university’s Clock Tower Centennial Hall, and was attended by approximately 250 people, including Kyoto University students, faculty, and staff members. Mr. Cassis has headed Switzerland’s Department of Foreign Affairs since 2017, and was elected President of the Swiss Confederation for 2022.
The lecture was facilitated by Prof. Mika Yokoyama, Kyoto University’s deputy executive vice-president for international affairs and director of the university’s European Center. During his lecture, President Cassis discussed the ways in which a combination of science and diplomacy (referred to as “science diplomacy”) can play a role in addressing global issues, stressing its particular relevance to Japan and Switzerland, as both countries have advanced levels of science and innovation. A question and answer session was held after the lecture, during which President Cassis took questions from the audience. The lecture session was then concluded by an address by President Nagahiro Minato.
A panel discussion session was then held, which was moderated by Prof. Yuko Nishitani of the Kyoto University Graduate School of Law. The panelists comprised President Minato, Dr. Martina Hirayama, state secretariat for education, research and innovation (SERI), Dr. Matthias Erhard Egger, president of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), and Dr. Christian Schwarzenegger, vice-president of the University of Zurich. The panel discussed the significance of academic collaboration between Japan and Switzerland and the role that industry can play in expanding academic collaboration in the future.