A Catalyst for the Ideas of Young Thinkers
Bridging the Gap between Academia and Politics
Young academics come up with new ideas, not only to contribute to their fields of expertise, but to make recommendations on Swiss policies. They live in Switzerland and want to help shape this country and make an impact on its future.
The project aims at enabling young researchers to put their ideas into words and pictures, so that they reach the public and initiate an open dialogue: leaving the ivory tower and engaging in the political debate about Switzerland’s – and their own – future.
Young foreign policy enthusiasts from all over Switzerland are invited to join a think tank at foraus, the Swiss Forum on Foreign Policy. In this context, they may present their independent recommendations on Swiss foreign policies and expose themselves to a critical scholarly discourse.
Various topics will be put out for tender. People who are interested apply individually or as a pair by submitting a proposal that presents their approach. A jury will then select the most interesting ideas and invite the authors to join a two-day think tank.
Think tank participants will write a text that promotes their recommendations and is suitable for publishing. foraus will publish the papers and will try to initiate a public debate through several traditional and new media.
foraus aims at reaching young and committed thinkers who want to make a difference. It offers them a platform and encourages them to use their knowledge for the development of specific recommendations for policy-makers and the broad public.
Think Tank 2017 : Entering Unknown Territory – Swiss Migration Policies in the 21st Century
The association foraus organized so-called PolitTables in all Swiss language regions on the subject of immigration. They aimed at bringing together as many locals and immigrants as possible, in order to constructively discuss about the immigration country Switzerland. The immigrants told their very personal immigration stories including the experiences they made in their countries of origin and in Switzerland. .
In addition, foraus consulted local and international experts and asked for their opinions about the immigration country Switzerland.
An online platform was established in order to crowdsource ideas to help shape the immigration country Switzerland. Hundreds of proposals were submitted and a selection of ideas was discussed with policy makers in a large marketplace of ideas. Hence, the way for putting into practice the best ideas was prepared. .
Finally, the following sources were compiled and turned into a book about Swiss migration policies in the 21st century titled "Neuland - Schweizer Migrationspolitik im 21. Jahrhundert". It was edited by Philipp Lutz, Senior Policy Fellow Migration at foraus, and published in 2017 by NZZ Libro.
The book includes the following interesting contributions::
- Nicola Forster, Johan Rochel
Aufbruch ins Neuland (Entering New Territory)
- Martina von Arx, Stefan Egli, Philipp Lutz, Johann Menet
Die Migration und wir (Immigration and Us)
- Heike Scholten, Fabienne Tissot
Thesen zum Migrationsland Schweiz(Theses on the Immigration Country Switzerland)
- David Kaufmann, Philipp Lutz
Vision Migrationsland Schweiz (Vision: Immigration Country Switzerland)
- Stefan Egli, Philipp Lutz, Stefan Schlegel
Regulierte Offenheit (Regulated Openness)
- Jonas Nakonz
Wie weiter? Zivilgesellschaftliche Impulse für die Migrationspolitik (What's Next? Civil-Social Impulses for Immigration Policies)
- Martina von Arx
Project Leader at the National Students‘ Union of Switzerland, foraus Member
- Stefan Egli
Junior Policy Fellow Immigration at foraus
- Nicola Forster
foraus Founder and President
- David Kaufmann
Post-Doc at the Center of Competence for Public Management at the University of Bern, foraus Member
- Philipp Lutz
Senior Policy Fellow Immigration at foraus, PHD student at the University of Bern
- Joanna Menet
PHD student at the University of Neuchatel, foraus Member
- Jonas Nakonz
PProject Leader Immigration at foraus
- Johan Rochel
Vice President at foraus, Post-Doc SFNS
- Stefan Schlegel
foraus Founding Member, Post-Doc at the Max-Planck-Institute at the University of Göttingen
- Heike Scholten
Political and Communications Consultant, foraus Board Member
- Fabienne Tissot
Linguist and Project Leader
Think Tank 2017: International Humanitarian Law 2.0
In 2016, foraus collected ideas from young scientists on the subject of international humanitarian law. The authors gathered on two weekends to discuss and develop their ideas together with experts.
foraus was supported by Professor Marco Sassoli, Director of the Department of International Law and International Organization at the University of Geneva, Dr. Niklaus Stüchler, Director of the Section for International Humanitarian Law at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and Professor Daniel Thürer, Professor emeritus for Humanitarian Law at the University of Zurich, and others.
In September 2017, foraus published the four most promising papers that had resulted from the Think Tank 2017 "International Humanitarian Law 2.0" and presented them to the public during a media conference in Geneva:
- Nina Burri
Swiss Initiative for the Protection of News Providers Covering Armed Conflicts
- Ryan Humbert
An Imperfect but Pragmatic Law: Incentivizing War Criminals?
- Thomas Kuhn
Rules an Realities: Reducing the Discrepancies with Regard to International Humanitarian Law
- Melanie Sauter
Not a Target: Ensurig the Protection of Aid Workers
The foraus jury bestowed the award for the best paper to Melanie Sauter, PhD student at the European University Institute in Florence. In her paper, Melanie Sauter presents convincing arguments for ensuring the legal protection of humanitarian aid workers, such as ICRC staff, in conflict-torn countries. She suggests an according addition to the conventions establishing the standard of the international law of war. Finally, she asks the Swiss Federal Council to take the initiative together with the ICRC and the UN institutions.
On January 7, 2018, Melanie Sauter published her paper titled "Humanitäre Helfer verdienen den Schutz des Völkerrechts" in the Swiss quality newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.
The Hirschmann Foundation is funding the project Think Tank.
The project is conducted by foraus and aims at impacting the public debate on Swiss foreign policies. It relies on a network of research, public services, diplomacy, and economy to reach its goal and regularly publishes working papers, analyses, and blogs.
The Hirschmann Foundation funds the project with an amount of CHF 60,000 (2016 to 2018).