Americans in Switzerland: Meet Gilman Scholar Javier Chen

Javier came to Switzerland as a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. We caught up with him to learn more about his experience here and with the program.

Javier is a U.S. Navy veteran and a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. He recently completed his post-undergraduate summer study abroad program at the University of Geneva studying an interdisciplinary course of Business Innovation for Sustainability, Social Responsibility, and Positive Impact, led by Professor Dave Rochlin from the Haas School of Business. He chose to study in Geneva because he wanted to learn how businesses, NGOs, and governments can collaborate to develop a sustainable future in a socially and environmentally conscious manner.

From Javier:

Javier with Marines at the Embassy’s Independence Day Reception

“My time in Switzerland gave me an opportunity to learn from industry leaders and organizations that are developing and implementing strategies to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Working with my class cohort and being exposed to these opportunities to visit corporations, NGOs, and government agencies has inspired me to think about the bigger picture and together help address and eventually be one step closer to solve our social and environmental issues. We live in a globalized and interconnected world and when living in a connected way, our solutions will have to be bigger than just solving one problem.

“One feature of Switzerland that I would like to bring back to the United States is their sustainable urban planning and efficient public transportation systems. Switzerland has among the world’s most efficient transportation systems, running mostly on renewable energy.”

Pictured at top: Javier and his class cohort visiting Mont Salève overlooking Geneva.