It is as Swiss as it gets. An acquired taste for some. For the uninitiated, fondue might just seem like melted cheese in a pot. It's quite common to find a blend of two to three Swiss cheeses in a fondue- Gruyere, Emmental and Vacherin with white wine and a dash of kirsch. The result is a gooey, smelly, intense flavoured hot sauce, which you can stick almost anything your heart desires- I usually like mine with bread, salami and apple. So much is my fondness for fondue that my Swiss boss even shipped four boxes of it last year!
And like the different cheeses that make up fondue, over the course of 2015 and early 2016, Swiss Re in partnership with swissnex India hosted five distinguished speakers from Switzerland in Bangalore, India. Each offering distinct insights into their area of expertise through lectures on dealing with risk. Similar to a deconstructed dish, where each essential ingredient reveals something unique about itself and yet manages to describe the whole of the dish in a fresh perspective. And the fresh perspectives came in the form of special references on data that are of high relevance in India and the developing world.
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend all five lectures and found each one of them to be quite fascinating. Some of the facts and figures presented by Swiss Re's Matthias Weber and Dr.Christoph Nabholz were eye opening- like economic losses from cyber risks which could touch 1000 bn and that not all of them are insurable; India's fetish for salty foods that has huge health implications in the form of non-communicable diseases which account for 53% of deaths. There was also Dr. Anwar Hasan, an emerging risk expert from Swiss Re and a nuclear engineer who previously worked at the CERN, drew a lot of attention in one of India's top B-schools- Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. Dr.Prof.Ghernaouti from the Swiss Cybersecurity Advisory and Research Group highlighted the need for more awareness on cyber security as many startups in India pay very little attention to it while Prof. Herrmann presented various strategies of optimizing the robustness of networks.
I'm not going into too much detail here on each event as you can find my full summary on the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue website. What I do want to mention however is the audience that was fantastic throughout the series. Highly engaged and from diverse backgrounds. Their questions helped liven up the sessions, which were all about exchanging of ideas, thoughts and exploring opportunities. They even helped me make sense of the topics I wasn't too familiar. For many Indians, Switzerland is a country known more for precision engineering, Lindt and ofcourse, DDLJ! The hope is now this series would add mitigating risk to that list!
A quick shout out to all the folks in swissnex India, for hosting and promoting the lectures. They also have some great events year round connecting India and Switzerland in the fields of science, education, art and innovation. To Shreya Rawlley for working tirelessly behind the scenes in organising the lecture series for Swiss Re.
Staying with the chees(y) theme, what I'm missing is an authentic Swiss restaurant in Bangalore. How about indulging in gastrodiplomacy swissnex? ;-)
Full summary- Dealing with risk: Swiss and Indian Perspective
Picture gallery- Swiss Re/swissnex India Lecture Series
Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine, Longevity risk, Food security: Diet/alternatives, Climate/natural disasters: Resilience, Other
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India