13 NOVEMBER 2020 Inaugural ETH Circle Annual Meeting

The ETH Circle Annual Meeting is an opportunity for its members to meet in person once a year. A specially designed programme guides participants through the day and evening. The aim is to work together on ETH-relevant topics, exchange ideas, meet interesting peo-ple and establish contacts with important stakeholders. The Annual Meeting is also a plat-form for members to bring their topics and concerns to the attention of ETH Zurich, and to benefit from networking with others in the group.

Due to the Corona Pandemic, the first Annual Meeting will take place in a condensed and hybrid form, enabling some members to join virtually and adhering to the recommended health and safety measures.

17 MAY 2020 Viva Tech Conference in Paris

On the occasion of the Viva Tech Conference in Paris, Swiss Ambassador to France Livia Leu hosted a breakfast session that was attended by ETH President, Joël Mesot. Moderated by ETH Professor Sonia Seneviratne, the meeting set out to clarify expectations of the group, who concluded the ETH Circle should be all about building bridges and connecting people. The discussion topics included developing a shared mindset and pride in ETH, and using best practices in communication and storytelling to show-case ETH Zurich.

23 JANUARY 2020 ETH Circle Spotlight – Davos

This ETH Circle Spotlight featured ETH alumnus Joe Paradiso from the MIT Media Lab, and took place at the ETH Zurich Pavilion in Davos during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. Sharing his experiences of living in Zurich and working at Hönggerberg through personal photos and anecdotes, Joe entertained members with stories and sound bites from his self-made modular synthesizer. Hear it all for yourself in this episode of the ETH Podcast: podcast-joe-paradiso

17 OCTOBER 2019 Working session and networking dinner – Boston

In this working session followed by a networking dinner, ETH submitted to members a first draft of a val-ue proposition for the community, based on the year’s earlier events. Joined by Rector Sarah Spring-man, the group agreed on the importance of the “why” in clarifying the purpose of the project for both members and the institution. Participants also wanted to tie the value proposition of the ETH Circle to the overarching mission of ETH, in such a way that the community contributes to this directly. Finally, the discussion also explored the capacity of the group to have an impact beyond ETH, and provide a ser-vice to society.

10 SEPTEMBER 2019 First ETH Circle Spotlight – Zurich

In the kick-off meeting in Davos, one member challenged ETH by saying that what they would want from the ETH Circle is the opportunity to meet eminent ETH alumni. This event was a direct response to this: the first in a new series called the ETH Circle Spotlight. This new event format features a distinguished speaker, followed by a networking opportunity. The session was moderated by Chris Luebkeman (Direc-tor, Arup Global Foresight – now Head of Strategic Foresight at ETH Zurich), and featured ETH Presi-dent Joël Mesot in conversation with Special Guest Urs Hölzle (Senior Vice President for Technical Infra-structure, Google).

05 JUNE 2019 Meeting ETH alumni in New York

The group was made up of ETH alumni who noted that while the university provided them with an excel-lent education for a small tuition fee, an emotional connection to the institution was largely lacking dur-ing their study time. This made it more difficult to continue feeling connected upon completing their stud-ies. The ETH Circle could be an important vehicle to reinforce pride in ETH. In addition, it could serve ETH as a way to tap into an interdisciplinary group of people with shared values, committed to the mis-sion of the university. The ETH Circle should support ETH’s global branding efforts, benefitting not only ETH, but Switzerland as a whole.

15 FEBRUARY 2019 Washington D.C. – The second workshop

The second workshop was hosted by ETH Circle Member Martin Dahinden at the Residence of the Swiss Ambassador to the US. The group debated some of the challenges the project might face going forward. Brand perception was noted to be key: not a lot of people outside of Switzerland know what ETH is. They are unaware of its association to Einstein and the great science coming out of the universi-ty, and they don’t recognise its logo. The group compared and contrasted alumni relationships at ETH with US universities, noting it would be interesting to explore replicating some aspects, while keeping in mind the “Swissness” of ETH.

23 JANUARY 2019 Davos – Kicking off the design phase

Kicking off the design phase of the ETH Circle project, this first workshop was held in Davos, at the ETH Zurich Pavilion during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. Participants identified several objec-tives the ETH Circle should focus on, and discussed at length what the role of members should be. The ultimate goal they agreed on reflects the initial hypothesis that led to the launch of the ETH Circle: to position ETH as a top university, and increase its visibility globally.