November 8, 1932 - February 4, 2016
Academia Engelberg was founded in 2001 as a Swiss non-profit foundation based in Engelberg. The foundation was established in the political environment resulting from the initiative on gene protection that was rejected by both voters and cantons in 1998, but that had led to hotly controversial debates in the run-up to the vote, and has since built bridges between science and society with its annual conferences, promoted their dialogue, and strengthened civil society’s trust in sciences through critical discourse and by creating transparency.
Even then, the name of the now Professor Emeritus and President of ETH Zurich was repeatedly put forward as he had already been involved in the Forum Engelberg in the prior years and become closely acquainted with our Vice President, Dr. Dominik Galliker. Finally, in 2004, Professor Jakob Nüesch responded to the call of our Board of Trustees to join its ranks. It was a lucky day and a godsend for Academia Engelberg.
Our long-term president, Dr. Klaus Hug, described Jakob Nüesch’s work: “Not only did Jakob Nüesch contribute his uncommonly profound scientific expertise, but he also always allowed us to share his broad knowledge of cultural history and his vast general knowledge. He was multilingual, had traveled the world, and disposed of an extensive personal network. When the Board’s leadership occasionally tended towards quick decisions, he led them – always in a wholesome manner – back to the wisdom of reflection. He did not aim for the quick goal, but the thoughtful conclusion that would also withstand critical objections. One thing that always impressed us was his creative approach. He never got caught up in his thoughts or suggestions, but quickly opened the fan of options.“
Who wouldn’t remember the 2009 Conference when he, responsible for the program on the subject of „Violence in Human Society“, gave a fantastic farewell performance from the Board and bestowed this gift upon us.
Academia Engelberg would not be what it is today without Jakob Nüesch. He carried out a lot of sound groundwork that will continue to form a very solid foundation for the coming years. He accompanied Academia Engelberg’s vision as President of Patronage to his death.
Science and society owe their big thanks to a personality who shaped an important stage in the development of scientific work as a researcher, as the President of ETH, and as the founder of start-up companies. Thanks for his varied work in social and political bodies. Thanks also for his attitude towards honest, ethical work and his commitment to social issues.
I had the honor of working together with Jakob Nüesch at Academia Engelberg for over ten years. Great is the number of bilateral, intense and exciting discussions from which interesting conferences and projects emerged. Great is the number of his inputs that he continued to provide even after he had left the Board of Trustees.
I thank Jakob for his trust and the friendship I was able to share with him.
Jakob Nüesch will remain in our grateful memory and continue to guide our actions even after his death.
Dominik Galliker, Vice President