Home | Competitions | St. Gallen Symposium Leader of Tomorrow Global Essay Competition (total prize money of CHF 20,000 + expenses-paid participation in the 50thSt. Gallen Symposium).

St. Gallen Symposium Leader of Tomorrow Global Essay Competition (total prize money of CHF 20,000 + expenses-paid participation in the 50thSt. Gallen Symposium).

The St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award is a global student essay competition, offering students who study at graduate or postgraduate level around the world the opportunity to apply for participation at the St. Gallen Symposium.

Compete in the Global Essay Competition and be one of the top 100 contributors to qualify for an all-expenses covered participation as a Leader of Tomorrow in the world’s premier opportunity for cross-generational debates: The St. Gallen Symposium.

Meet 300 of society’s brightest young minds. Present and debate your ideas with 600 senior leaders. Be inspired by some of the world’s most impressive speakers. Gain a unique and new perspective on this year’s topic. Become a member of a unique global community. Celebrate their 50th anniversary with them, Win prize money of CHF 20,000 split amongst the three winners.

Topic Question

A Matter of Trust: How Can Trust be Repaired When It’s Lost?

In recent years, we have seen many reports about “trust crises” in the realms of politics, health, business, technology, science, and media. Political and corporate scandals, mass protests, and deteriorating trust indicators in global perception surveys support this diagnosis. As a result, senior leaders in many of these sectors publicly aspire to « rebuild trust » in their decisions, products, or institutions. What would be your advice to them?

Choose an area in one of the above-mentioned sectors where you see evidence that citizens’, consumers’, regulators’, employees’ or other stakeholders’ trust has been lost. Describe your example of an apparent loss of trust; offer concrete and practical proposals on repairing damaged trust. Describe your idea’s impact for the future.


Qualify with an excellent essay

We expect a professional, creative and thought-provoking essay. Be bold, unconventional, and distinctive on the competition question.

For your contribution to be valid, the following criteria must be met
FormEssay (max. 2,100 words, excl. abstract, bibliography, and footnotes)
Deadline1 February 2021, 11:59 p.m. last time zone (UTC-12)
AnonymityYour name, e-mail address, university, or any identifying details must not be mentioned anywhere in the contribution file.
IndividualityIndividual work expected, no group work allowed. The essay must be written exclusively for this contest. The idea must be the author’s own.
CitationAll sources must be cited and referred to the respective part in the essay. All contributions will be tested for plagiarism.


If the jury selects your essay in the top 100, you qualify as a Leader of Tomorrow for an expenses-paid participation in the 50thSt. Gallen Symposium (7–8 May 2020).

The award is endowed with a total prize money of CHF 20,000. In addition, there will be a chance for the very best competitors (including the awardees) to present their ideas on the big stage at the symposium. For this, the students will be asked to pitch their idea on video beforehand. 


To be eligible, you must fulfill all of the following criteria:

• Enrolled in a graduate or postgraduate programme (master level or higher) in any field of study at a regular university

• Born in 1991 or later

Make sure you can provide the following documents:

• Copy of passport or other identification (in English for non-Roman languages)

• Confirmation of matriculation/enrolment from your university which proves your enrollment in a graduate/postgraduate level programme as of 1 February 2021 (download sample document here)

• Your contribution file with no indication of your name in the file name, the file metadata or the file itself


Click here to apply and for more information

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