50th St. Gallen Symposium "Freedom Revisited": 7–8 May 2020



Jump to

> General Questions

> Essay Competition

> Participation


General Questions

Who can compete for a participation as a Leader of Tomorrow at the St. Gallen Symposium?

Students enrolled at a regular university, who are matriculated in a graduate or postgraduate programme.

How can I become a member of the Support Crew or the ISC Team?

The Support Crew and the International Students’ Committee are only open to students of the University of St. Gallen. If this applies to you, further information can be found here.

What is the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award? 

The St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award is a global student essay competition, offering students who study at graduate or postgraduate level around the world the opportunity to apply for participation at the St. Gallen Symposium. Further information can be found here.

What is the Knowledge Pool?

The Knowledge Pool is a group of Leaders of Tomorrow with a strong affiliation to topics of relevance to the St. Gallen Symposium. They show outstanding track records in the particular fields they work or study. They are hand-selected by the International Students' Committee. It is not possible to apply for membership in the Knowledge Pool.

How much does it cost to participate? 

The participation in the symposium is free for all Leaders of Tomorrow. Moreover, expenses for travel, board and lodging are covered by the ISC. However, we recommend bringing a small amount of pocket money for your convenience.


Essay Competition

Who is eligible for the 49th St. Gallen Symposium?

Students enrolled at a regular university, who are matriculated in a graduate or postgraduate programme as of 1 February 2019, from any field of study, born in 1989 or later. 

What is a “regular university”?

In the context of the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award, a regular university is defined as an institution of higher education that also conducts research and offers at least one PhD programme. Exceptions are possible and are granted on a case-by-case basis.

Can Bachelor students participate?

Unfortunately, students on bachelor level do not fulfil the eligibility criteria and therefore cannot enter the competition. There is no other way to apply for participation and we, therefore, encourage all students to join the competition once they pursue with their studies at graduate level. You may, however, be eligible if the level of study in your current year is equivalent to international graduate level which must be confirmed in writing by your university.

Can teams participate?

Only individual submissions are allowed as we can only grant participation to one contender per contribution.

How long should the contribution be? 

The maximum amount of words is 2,100 (excluding bibliography or graph descriptions and the like). There is no minimum word count. Please make sure to state the exact word count in your document. Also keep in mind that you must not state your name in the contribution. 

Do I have to quote my sources?

All sources must be quoted and all essays are scanned for plagiarism. You must refer each source to the respective text passage. Please note that plagiarism is a serious offense and that we reserve the right to take further steps in case of deliberate fraud. Self-plagiarism will also result in disqualification, as the work has to be written exclusively for the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award.

What file formats are accepted?

Please make sure to hand in your essay in either a doc, docx or pdf format. The document must allow to copy the text easily (no document protections). 

What documents do I need to submit?

In addition to your contribution, make sure to upload 

  • a copy of your passport (or any other official government ID but no driver’s license) to verify your age
  • a confirmation of matriculation from your university confirming your graduate or postgraduate student status as of February 2019
  • a short abstract (200–300 words) which can be entered in the registration form directly

in the applicable field of the registration form.

What happens after I submitted my application?

The ISC will verify your eligibility and check all submitted documents for completeness and readability. Due to the large amount of essays our response times might take some time, so thank you for your patience. If the jury selects your essay in the top 100, you qualify as a Leader of Tomorrow for an expenses-paid participation in the 49th St. Gallen Symposium (8–10 May 2019). The results will be announced via e-mail by mid-March 2019. The jury selects the three awardees based on the quality of the idea on paper. The award is endowed with a total prize money of CHF 20,000. In addition, there will be a chance for the very best competitors (including the awardees) to present their ideas on the big stage at the symposium. For this, the students will be asked to pitch their idea on video beforehand. 

Who’s in the jury?

The Award Jury consists of leading executives, journalists and professors from all around the world. The Academic Jury is composed of young top academics from the University of St. Gallen and the ETH Zurich.

When will the results be announced?

The jury’s decision will be announced by mid-March the latest.



How do the travel arrangements work?

The organizing committee will get in touch with you prior to the symposium to discuss your itinerary and to book your travel.

Can the organising committee help me get a visa?

All Leaders of Tomorrow are self-responsible to get a visa. However, we will inform the applicable Swiss embassy about the invitation and will provide you with the necessary documents. Should a problem arise anyway, we are happy to help. Expenses for visa application are borne by the Leaders of Tomorrow themselves.

Where am I accommodated during the symposium?

All Leaders of Tomorrow are accommodated at private student flats across the city. Please give us an early notice should you have any special requirements (e.g. female flatmates only).

What transport is provided?

We book flights or train tickets and provide shuttle service from and to the airport. Furthermore, all Leaders of Tomorrow receive a free ticket for the public transport in St. Gallen during the week of the symposium.

How much money do I need? 

We recommend bringing some pocket money (CHF 100–200) for your convenience. Please note that depending on your time of arrival and departure, some meals might not be covered.

Can disabled people participate as well? 

Yes, of course. Most of the symposium sites are wheelchair-accessible and we are more than happy to help where we can. Although our ability to provide personal assistance is very limited, we do our best to provide the necessary services.

Is there any touristic programme and do I have time for sightseeing?

During the symposium there will be no time for sightseeing. However, we may offer selected touristic programmes a day before or after the symposium. These days can, of course, also be used for individual sightseeing. Nearby sites include the old town of St. Gallen, the lake Constance and the mountain Säntis.

Can I extend my stay in Switzerland?

Yes, upon request we can move your return flight to a date of your choice. If the new flight is more expensive, we may ask you to cover the price difference. Please note that we are unable to provide any services such as accommodation or transportation after the end of the symposium week.

Can I bring a spouse?

Unfortunately, we cannot provide any services such as travel, room, board or symposium access to any additional person.

Essay Competition

Find out more about the symposium's global student competition and apply.

> learn more