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St.Gallen Collegium: “Re-interpreting Freedom”


‘Re-interpreting Freedom’ has been chosen as the first theme of the St.Gallen Collegium 2025 by the eight members of the Collegium’s Advisory Board. On Saturday, 25 May 2024, donors who have financially supported the concept, learned first-hand from the Advisory Board what topic will be for HSG’s first Collegium. Funding for the international project was secured for the first three years of operation thanks to donations totalling CHF 3.5 million from 421 donors and funding partners.

HSG is the first business school in the world to establish a Collegium and in May, it was announced what the topic of the inaugural Collegium will address: “Re-interpreting freedom, rethinking freedom”. This complex, interdisciplinary topic, which has become a major contemporary challenge, is something that is both relevant for our society and for HSG as an international business school.

Prof. Dr. Manuel Ammann welcoming the guests


“We created the Collegium at the University of St.Gallen because we are firmly convinced that we can only solve the pressing problems of our time by working together with science, business and society,” said Prof Manuel Ammann in his welcoming address to the panel discussion. “By creating a new platform for the interdisciplinary exchange of experts, we are assuming social responsibility and fulfilling our University’s mission to offer the public scientifically sound solutions.”

To thank the donors for their commitment, a sponsorship plaque was unveiled on the University’s campus.

Panel discussion on the various facets of the concept of freedom

While announcing the topic for next year’s event, a panel discussion was organised to demonstrate to donors why the topic was chosen. Advisory Board President Prof. em. Dr Günter Müller-Stewens, retired full professor of Business Administration, and Advisory Board members Jürgen Kaube, co-editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Dr Roger de Weck, former Director General of SRF, and Prof. Dr Antoinette Weibel, head of the School of Management presented the topic to the donors, moderated by the Academic Director of the St.Gallen Collegium, Prof. Dr Claudia Franziska Brühwiler.

According to HSG Professor Antoinette Weibel, the concept of freedom already has numerous points of reference for business economists. From the freedom of companies to freedom in companies, there is more material for discussion and investigation than ever before in the Collegium year. In Switzerland in particular, public debate reveals how different the understanding of freedom is, as the Swiss publicist Roger de Weck pointed out when he reflected on the supposed loss of freedom, which is often just a loss of power. This is also linked to questions of perception, which FAZ co-editor Jürgen Kaube took up and reflected on the various forms of democracy.

Questioning established theories: eight fellows in St.Gallen from autumn 2025

In the coming months, eight personalities from the world of research will be sought to work on the topic in St.Gallen from 2025. The Collegium will advertise the fellowships on the annual topic via various channels and through the networks of all those involved and will review the applications received by autumn so that the Advisory Board can make the final selection.

The aim is to attract imaginative professors from various fields who will collaborate with young researchers from all over the world and engage in solution-oriented dialogue. People from underrepresented regions will also be deliberately recruited to bring in new perspectives and question established theories. Personalities from the worlds of business, politics, society and the arts may also be brought in. The members of the Collegium are reassembled after six months or a whole year, depending on the topic.

Learn more about the St.Gallen Collegium