Just as the temperatures peaked at 35 degrees in my hometown of Sion in mid-June, I found myself lucky enough to board a plane towards a (at least to me) more comfortable climate, namely the Australian Winter.
Beautiful ANU Campus
These activities were various, with traditional panel discussions involving different experts and policymakers, and more participant-involving events, such as selected students presenting their research work, a great debate in a Canberran pub, or a “War Game” simulating diplomatic exchanges between states. Thereby, I was luckily able to contribute with a bit of Swiss neutrality to balance the forces.
The link to ETH’s Critical Thinking Initiative
The participants came from very diverse study backgrounds, ranging from engineering to economics, international relations, political sciences, law, and more. In that regard, my attendance would have perfectly fitted within ETH’s critical thinking initiative, which aims to motivate students to work both independently and in interdisciplinary and intercultural teams. Besides the official conference program, with such a mixed attendance, I retain the discussions with the other conference participants as the most enriching experience. Especially coming from a technical university such as ETH Zurich, I had the opportunity of broadening my horizons and I gained a lot of insights into various ideas and perspectives. In my opinion, this interaction between people who will occupy very different positions in the future is necessary if we are willing to tackle efficiently the problems we face and will be facing.
Lastly, I am amazed by the friendships that develop in such a short time between students coming from so many different countries (represented were Switzerland, the USA, New Zealand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Fiji, Samoa, Mongolia, China, Australia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Bangladesh).
By Philippe Nicollier
Philippe Nicollier is Master Student in Materials Science with a particular interest in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. He is a fellow of the Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Programme (ESOP) and represents ETH students at the ETH Virtual Reality Tour.