After a flight from Sweden and a couple trains later, I board the last bus to take me to the picturesque mountain village of Engelberg, located in central Switzerland.

It is a late evening in mid-October. On the bus I reunite with Nick, a Greek student who is on the way to the same conference as I am, and who I worked with during the Academia Engelberg Summer School the previous summer. Nick is a bit nervous; the day after tomorrow he will be the main presenter of our group project about Greece's financial situation.

The conference involves participation of around 150 personalities from science, business, politics and society. This year’s theme is about capitalism, what an ecological and social market economy might look like, and we — the future generation — were given a particularly extensive opportunity to present our ideas.

During the conference we students did not only listen to educated experts as well as present and give lectures ourselves, but we also got to participate in lots of valuable workshops, panel discussions and debates.

It all started with the summer school, a brilliant concept which involves students from all over the world meeting to discuss and potentially solve the big global issues of our time. The summer school precedes the annual conference of Academia Engelberg and joined students from six countries to discuss this year’s conference topic "Future Economic Systems."

The summer school took place in mid July 2015, in Ruswil, Switzerland. For my part, I had a number of incredible experiences at Academia Engelberg which I will always carry with me. I developed my thinking a lot during these couple days — and I received a tremendous amount of new knowledge, insights and friends from various parts of the world with different backgrounds.

The result of our work during summer school was four innovative proposals for improving the economic systems: innovation capital for all 18-year-olds; the decentralization of political power; an independent person as central bank president for West Africa; and true-cost pricing for mobility.
Watch our presentations of these proposals here: (click on “October 15”).

The participants were a good mix that included 12 students from different parts of the world, with backgrounds in social studies, economics, law and politics, just to name a few. Germany, Greece, Kenya, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland were represented.

The Academia Engelberg foundation encourages young adults to make observations and express their views and integrate them in a variety of research areas. At least in Europe, it is not common to allow young students early in their studies to make comments on — and become involved in — important research.

In my view, it is of crucial importance to integrate young students, as they often have different views on the problem and can come up with (other) important perspectives. This can attract more people to engage in research at an earlier stage.

Of course, another major aim of involving us — the future generation — is to anchor the global questions and issues of our time among the young in order to give these questions and issues impact throughout the whole society. However, today’s society is a global one. All topics dealt with at the conference as well as at the summer school, are global issues, which must not only involve Europe, but also other parts of the world, such as the U.S.

If you are an American student studying at an advanced level who wishes to participate and contribute to the discussion and the important work that will be addressed during the next summer school and conference — and you also want to get to know Europe and perhaps some participating Swedish students — send in your application to

By Markus Nyberg Andersson

Next year’s conference topic will be "At the Limits!" Read more about it here: