To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco, swissnex San Francisco and the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco are pleased to host a high level dialogue with Microsoft President, Brad Smith, on the future of multilateralism, and the unique role of the West Coast of the USA and Geneva in crucial debates around cyber peace, digital governance and more.
The Geneva Talks series is a collaboration between swissnex SF, the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco, and the Republic and Canton of Geneva. Inspired by the conviction that technology is key to the future of humanity, the digital talks explores the symbiotic relationship between technology and humanity. The current global health pandemic highlights how central technology has become to address international crisis, and touches on the core values of the UN Charter. The future of the UN and multilateral governance, housed in Geneva, will be inextricably linked to technological progress sparked in Silicon Valley.
For the third event of the series, Brad Smith will be joined by Benedikt Wechsler, Consul General of Switzerland in San Francisco, and Gioia Deucher, CEO of swissnex San Francisco.
Benedikt Wechsler, former editor and diplomat, was born in 1967. After finishing his studies of Business Administration and Political Science at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland with a PhD, he joined the Swiss Foreign Ministry in 1996. He was posted to the Swiss Mission at the UN and EU in New York and Brussels. Back in the Swiss capital, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and advised Swiss presidents in diplomatic affairs. Under his leadership (2016-2019), the Swiss Embassy in Denmark invented the “Open Embassy and Pop-up Embassy” approach and strengthened the science diplomacy in Greenland. Benedikt Wechsler is now serving as the Swiss Consul General in San Francisco.
Brad Smith is the president of Microsoft, where he leads a team of more than 1,400 business, legal and corporate affairs professionals in 56 countries. He serves as the company’s chief legal officer and leads work on a wide range of issues involving the intersection between technology and society, including cybersecurity, privacy, ethics and artificial intelligence, human rights, immigration, philanthropy and environmental sustainability. Described by the New York Times as “a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large,” Smith has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress and other governments on key policy issues. Smith joined Microsoft in 1993, first spending three years in Paris leading the legal and corporate affairs team in Europe. In 2002, he was named Microsoft’s general counsel and spent the following decade leading work to resolve the company’s antitrust controversies with governments around the world and companies across the tech sector. This past decade, Smith has spearheaded the company’s work to advance privacy protection for Microsoft customers and the rights of DREAMers and other immigrants, including bringing five lawsuits against the U.S. government on these issues.
Gioia Deucher is the CEO of swissnex San Francisco. Gioia’s professional journey has taken her to various countries, from Colombia and Switzerland to the U.S. and Palestine, and most recently Brazil. Starting her post-university career in microfinance and sustainable investing working for small and large investment firms, Gioia has dedicated the last decade to fostering cross-continental collaborations with a view to inspire and strengthen Switzerland’s innovation ecosystem. Before setting out to build the first Latin American swissnex office Brazil in 2013, she headed the Startup and Innovation team at swissnex in San Francisco, where she returned to as CEO, in July of 2017. A curated innovation platform hosting 40+ startups, designers, scientists and corporates, swissnex’s Bay Area office acts as a convener for thought-provoking conversations on how technology and innovation shape our world, and fosters international connections and collaboration for meaningful action. Gioia holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Graduate Institute (IUHEID) in Geneva, Switzerland, and a second Master’s in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School in Medford/Boston, USA, and has completed continuing education courses in Design Thinking and Venture Capital. She acts as the President of the cancer survivor storytelling platform MySurvivalStory and is an advisory board member of DART Labs.