Finding new perspectives at the St. Gallen Symposium

Geoffroy Dolphin, a PhD student at Cambridge Judge Business School working on the political economy of carbon pricing policies, shares his experience and advice for taking part in the St. Gallen Symposium

Why I applied

The competition, which focused on ‘the clash of generations’, was a unique opportunity to think through a societal issue and to challenge myself to formulate a proposition to tackle it. There really is something exciting — but also daunting — about considering ‘big’ questions and trying to understand what light you, with your background and experience, can shed on them. Writing the essay also meant potentially winning the possibility to spend a week in a beautiful Swiss region, a stone’s throw away from Lake Constance…

My experience

The St. Gallen Symposium never disappoints. It provides an extremely lively and stimulating environment, where ideas get discussed and shaped. I have always come back from the Symposium feeling energised and with my head full of new perspectives on world or local issues. The Symposium gives you access to people from all around the world, old and young, whom you might not have had the opportunity to engage with otherwise. It is a unique opportunity to understand others’ perspectives. It is also a lot of fun. St. Gallen University students go out of their way to host their international visitors and organise both cultural and social events throughout the week.

Top tips for those considering applying

Go for it! And believe in your idea. All you need is a single, focused idea that is in line with this year’s topic and that you can articulate convincingly. It might take a few iterations to get it in good shape but there is absolutely no restriction as to the intellectual perspective which you adopt to discuss the topic, whether it is rooted in natural or social sciences; we all have a contribution to make.

What I’m up to now

I am currently working on the implementation of climate change mitigation policies around the world. Together with my supervisor, Prof. Michael Pollitt, we have been developing a methodology to assess the stringency of carbon pricing policies and investigated factors driving their implementation in jurisdictions around the world. While carbon pricing should be part of the climate change mitigation policy regime, average prices in most jurisdictions are currently too weak to trigger greenhouse gas emissions reduction in line with the objective of the Paris Agreement. As an economist, I am committed to build a career in and contribute to the design of national and international climate change mitigation policy regimes. This means both continued academic development and deep engagement with policy makers at both the national and international level.

The St. Gallen Symposium

The St. Gallen Symposium is the world’s leading initiative for intergenerational debates on economic, political, and social developments. Receive an all-expenses-covered participation to the symposium in Switzerland, enter the Global Essay Competition. The competition is open to current post-graduate students from any field of study (born in 1990 or later). This year’s topic is Freedom Revisited. Find the full essay question here. Competition closes on 1 February 2020.

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