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«Motivated by my deep conviction and experience that individual, social and economic liberty are decisive prerequisites for the attainment and safeguarding of personal happiness and that, moreover, entrepreneurial freedom makes a special contribution to dynamism and a constant capacity for innovation in many walks of life, I have decided on the occasion of my 70th birthday to establish the Max Schmidheiny Foundation at the University of St. Gallen.

My intention in setting up this Foundation is to promote and encourage especially praiseworthy efforts to preserve and develop the free market economy and society, and in particular endeavours to safeguard personal liberty and the selfresponsibility of the individual and to guarantee social security.»
Max Schmidheiny (1908–1991), April 1978

Since its inception in 1978, the Max Schmidheiny Foundation has advocated the promotion of a free economic and social order. It actively supports dialogue between business, politics, and society on key issues confronting Switzerland and open societies world-wide. Founded by Dr. h.c. Max Schmidheiny on the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1978, the Foundation has been supported by the Schmidheiny family ever since.

The Max Schmidheiny Foundation promotes individual freedom as the guiding value of a democratic society based on the rule of law. Thereby, the Foundation acts on the conviction that a free order can only last as long as it is constantly being renewed from the inside.

As an institution with close ties to the University of St. Gallen, the Max Schmidheiny Foundation fosters research and debate on individual freedom and responsibility within academic discourse, as well as dialogue between theory and practice at the interfaces of business, politics, and society.

The Foundation carries out its mission through two main levers. On the one hand, it seeks to ignite thought and debate on select fundamental issues through the prism of classical liberalism. On the other hand, it creates platforms for leading thinkers and actors who have distinguished themselves by furthering the cause of individual freedom. The Max Schmidheiny Foundation is independent from political parties or interest groups, and uses this freedom by placing a special focus on complex and often inconvenient issues overlooked by day-to-day politics.

Founded by the eminent Swiss industrialist Dr. h.c. Max Schmidheiny on the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1978, and supported by the Schmidheiny family ever since, the Foundation, in its own way, can be considered a product of Switzerland’s success as a free nation in the 20th century. Its founder always kept very close ties to his native region, and combined them with a global outlook. Dedicated to his legacy, the Max Schmidheiny Foundation sees its engagement as an exemplary contribution of Swiss entrepreneurialism to the long-term development of Switzerland and of open societies world-wide.

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