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American Swiss Foundation and American Enterprise Institute Co-Host State of U.S.-Swiss Relations with Sen. Rob Portman

Former Senator Rob Portman and ASF Chair Robert Giuffra in Conversation at the American Enterprise Institute

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, June 9, 2023/ -- On June 6th, in collaboration with the American Enterprise Institute, the American Swiss Foundation co-hosted "The State of U.S.-Swiss Relations," featuring former United States Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) in conversation with Chair of the American Swiss Foundation, Robert J. Giuffra, Jr. Over 350 individuals joined for the program, both in-person and through the virtual live-stream. Stan Veuger, Ph.D., senior fellow in economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, introduced the program and raised important areas for discussion. His Excellency Jacques Pitteloud, the Swiss Ambassador to the United States, attended as an honored guest.

Throughout the wide-ranging conversation, Senator Portman and Robert Giuffra examined the state of U.S.-Swiss relations and the broader transatlantic relationship. From trade to security, Portman drew on his experiences at the highest levels of American government and outlined potential areas of cooperation between the United States and Switzerland on the most pressing global challenges.

“Thank you to the American Swiss Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute for hosting a constructive discussion on the state and future of U.S.-Swiss relations. As a descendant of Swiss immigrants and the co-founder of the Swiss Caucus, I was proud to work on improving the already strong relationship between our Nations while serving in Government,” said Senator Portman. “Now, I am honored to continue this work from outside of Government, as well, and look forward to staying engaged.”

Senator Portman co-founded the Swiss caucus in the United States House of Representatives and in the United States Senate in 2003 and served as the Caucus co-chair. In 2008, Senator Portman was also recognized for his exceptional contributions to furthering a better understanding between the people of Switzerland and the United States of America when he was awarded with the prestigious Gallatin Award in Geneva, Switzerland.

Robert Giuffra, who has served as Chair of the American Swiss Foundation since 2016, spoke about the critical importance of person-to-person diplomacy: “The Foundation's programs focus on the promising young people of both nations who will shape public opinion and policy in the years to come. Our goal is to inspire them to preserve the centuries-long friendship through active engagement with one another and with the senior leaders in our extensive network. The main program of the American Swiss Foundation is the Young Leaders Conference, held annually in Switzerland since 1990. The conference provides a unique platform for shared experiences and respectful dialogue among leaders of diverse cultural, political, and professional backgrounds.”

Senior AEI Fellow Stan Veuger observed: "While relations between the US and Switzerland have long been friendly, civil society organizations like the American Swiss Foundation are crucial in securing and deepening the bond between our two countries through personal and cultural exchange. As today's event showed, there are multiple important policy areas where America and Switzerland could learn from each other and could benefit from intensified cooperation."

The event was attended by distinguished members of both the Swiss and American communities, including business leaders, elected officials, and members of the diplomatic corps.

About the American Swiss Foundation

Founded in 1945 in response to World War II, the Foundation’s mission is to connect and engage Swiss and American leaders. Towards the end of the 20th century, two former U.S. Ambassadors to Switzerland, Shelby Cullom Davis and Faith Whittlesey, ushered in a new era for the small organization. They ultimately transformed the Foundation from an organization that was primarily social to one that focused on nurturing and investing in the next generation of leaders in both countries.

In 1975, Ambassador Davis assumed an active leadership role with the Foundation. He served as chairman and president until 1989, and as honorary chairman until his passing in 1994. In 1989, Ambassador Whittlesey became chairman and president of the Foundation and launched the organization’s flagship program, the Young Leaders Conference.

Today, alumni of the conference number more than 1,400 leaders who shape the futures of the two countries, including members of U.S. Congress and Swiss parliamentarians, entrepreneurs and business executives, media professionals, and public policy experts. The American Swiss Foundation’s mission is to connect and engage Swiss and American leaders through inspirational programs to strengthen the shared values of liberty, the rule of law, and free enterprise.

Vanessa Beary
American Swiss Foundation
+1 212-754-0130
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The State of US-Swiss Relations: A Conversation with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and ASF Chair Robert Giuffra

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