Ambassador Christian Dussey is the Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). This year he was a member of the selection committee interviewing our scholarship candidates. Ambassador Dussey was educated at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,Tufts University, The University of Fribourg, Switzerland and Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
Given you studied at three of the first-class US universities yourself, what is the best advice you can give to our new Swiss scholars?
I would advise them to let their curiosity guide their path as they discover the richness of their prestigious environment. I would also advise them to project themselves ahead and look back at their stay abroad. If they were asked by family, friends, or colleagues about this opportunity two or five years from now, what would they answer? Was it exceptional, memorable? Was it a transformative experience or have they missed opportunities?
How did your study at the three US universities impact your career?
It impacted my career far more than I expected. I had the privilege to study at some of the world leading institutions in the field of international relations. 30 years ago, some of my classmates at the Swiss university I was attending thought that I was spending an enormous amount of money to study in the U.S with no assurance that it would pay off. They were wrong. In retrospect, I can say that my three stays abroad were critical and transformative and proved what Seneca, the Roman philosopher and statesman, once said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.“
If you were a student again, what university would you choose and why?
I would not set my eyes only on the United States. I would first do an extensive due diligence process to evaluate the reputation of the university, the proximity of the faculty, the diversity of the students body, the effort they put in innovation in learning, the way the university cares for its alumni, the professional achievements of their alumni, the architecture of its campus, the uniqueness of the studies, and also the values that sustain the mission of the university.
GCSP enables to obtain a holistic view of security, since it covers a complex range of security topics including cyber security, human security, gender and inclusive security, but also outer space security and security and law. Which one of these security areas do you personally find to be the most challenging and why?
We live in a highly interconnected world marked by ongoing far-reaching transformation. Changes are occurring both gradually and abruptly, on different levels and in multiple spheres. All the issues you mentioned are interconnected and the speed of transformation is spectacular, as we can see in fields such as artificial intelligence and global warming. This is why GCSP’s mission (to prepare and transform individuals and organisations, so they can create a safer world) is more relevant than ever.
Besides security issues your centre has also developed an expertise in strategic leadership. Why do you think we are facing a global leadership crisis and what mindset and new skills are vital to overcome this crisis?
Dealing with the above-mentioned challenges requires strong leadership skills at all levels of organizations, not only at the top. Successful leadership is built on character and integrity. Moreover, we observe in our research and activities that critical thinking, creativity, innovative problem-solving skills, and a solid knowledge of today’s multilayered international environment are needed to face a multi-faceted and complex world. Finally, as we have been witnessing throughout history, the ability to anticipate, adapt and learn remain key qualities of successful leadership.