Meetings of the Friends of Switzerland

FOSI Events Calendar:


Stammtisch Luncheon & Speaker Series


Annual Stratton Award Dinners

2016/2017 Season

April 12, 2018 Stammtisch — This year’s traditional business focused luncheon, held in honor of Founding FOSI member Charles Mongan, will feature President and CEO of the Hampshire House Corporation, Markus Ripperger as our Speaker. Markus will share the story of his career path from Switzerland to the management of 7 restaurants in the Boston area. Our Stammtisch luncheon will be held at the new ’75’ on Courthouse Square restaurant in Boston’s Seaport District.

February 8, 2018 Stammtisch — Every February we honor FOSI’s founder Dr. Freddy Homburger with our ‘Founders’ Luncheon, held this year at the Harvard School of Public Health. We were delighted to feature as our Speaker Professor Joe Brain, Chair of the HSPH’s Department of Environmental Health. Dr. Brain had worked with Freddy Homburger during his early days of Toxicology research, a field in which both had concentrated, and shared some anecdotes from their time together. Dr. Brain also gave a presentation drawn from his work on life expectancy, which included data and trends relating to Switzerland. After the luncheon and talk, he led a tour of the HSPH campus and the Countway Library of the Harvard Medical School.

December 14, 2017 Stammtisch — FOSI’s December Stammtisch honors our dear past member and Stratton Prize Laureate, maestro Roman Totenberg, with a music recital. This year, Vera Rubin, a Totenberg protégé and master violinist herself, gave a special performance, accompanied by pianist Yevgenia Semeina-Maroyan. Vera’s program featured violin works composed by Charles de Beriot, Camille Saint Saens, and Fritz Kreisler, famous graduates of the Paris Conservatory, known as the ’19th Century Cradle of the Violin’ (and maestro Totenberg’s alma mater). Our Stammtisch lunched followed the recital at nearby Legal Seafoods.

November 15, 2017 Stammtisch Kicking off this new season, FOSI introduced a special evening event at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. It featured Swiss Modern Posters of collector Robert Bachelder and was co-sponsored by FOSI and the UZH Boston Alumni Chapter, chaired by Matthias Oberli. The exhibition, held in the President’s Gallery at MassArt, displayed works by Armin Hofmann, Josef Müller-Brockman, Wolfgang Weingart, and others…Swiss creative icons who revolutionized mid-century graphic design. Poster expert and owner of Boston’s International Poster Gallery, Jim Lapides, led attendees on a very informative walking tour of the posters.


2016/2017 Season


October 21, 2016 Annual Stratton Award Dinner — This year’s Stratton Dinner once again reminded us how rich the intercultural landscape between our two countries is. On a festive evening at Boston’s Hampshire House, FOSI’s 50th Annual Julius Adams Stratton Prize for Intercultural Achievement was deservedly awarded to legendary Swiss graphic designer and educator Armin Hofmann, and two American protégés, Chris Pullman and Philip Burton. This trio was recognized for their involvment in the development of the ‘Swiss Style’ of graphic design and its adoption here in the States. In addition, we were honored that evening to present FOSI’s 2016 Stratton Fellowship Grant to Jonathan Mekinda, author art historian, and Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


November 10, 2016 Stammtisch — ‘Digital Humanities, and its Roots at MIT’ was the topic of a talk by Dr. Kurt Fendt, who described the current day work of the Institute’s ‘Hyperstudio Digital Humanities’ program, of which he is Founder and Executive Director. The subject resonates with the FOSI audience, thanks to the role of inaugural FOSI Stratton Prize Laureate, Dr. Julius Adams Stratton, recognized in 1966 for his commitment to the Humanities as a guide for the development of Science and Technology at MIT.


December 8, 2016 Stammtisch — FOSI’s annual musical Stammtisch, held in December to honor renowned violinist, teacher, past FOSI member, and winner of the 1992 Stratton Prize, Roman Totenberg, featured a delightful chamber concert. Marc Redlich, longtime FOSI President and Board member joined the Clarinet Quartet of the All Newton Music School, under the direction of Paulette Bowes, to play selections of Borodin, Cross, Bohn, and Kuhlau. 


February 16, 2017 Stammtisch — Our luncheon audience had the good fortune to hear 2016 Stratton Laureate and celebrated graphic designer and educator Chris Pullman give a fascinating presentation titled ‘Everything you need to know about graphic design, you can learn from 6 Swiss posters’. The powerful influence of mid-century Swiss design resonated in these selected works from the 1930’s through the 1980’s, and Chris’s slides were the perfect complement to his talk at October’s 50th Stratton Prize Dinner celebrating the Swiss Style of graphic design.


April 13, 2017 Stammtisch — Swiss Consul Dr. Felix Moesner, CEO of the 'swissnex Boston' Science, Art, and Innovation Consulate joins us at our Downtown Harvard Club luncheon. A close ally and friend of FOSI, Dr. Moesner will reminisce and share experiences from his five years as Consul, and look ahead with us. We will value this time with Dr. Moesner, as his posting at swissnex Boston will come to an end this Summer.



2015/2016 Season:


October 8, 2015 Stammtisch – To kick off our season, MassArt professor and interdisciplinary arts/ecology enthusiast Edward Monovich joined us to talk about ‘Science, Art, and the Remarkable Story of the Alpine Ibex’, involving a collaborative project focusing on the rescue from near-extinction the beloved Ibex. 


November 12, 2015 Stammtisch – Renowned Hollywood attorney Eric Weissmann, Esq., Beverly Hills ‘2010 Entertainment Lawyer of the Year’ joined us to share his secrets of negotiation. It was an extremely interesting presentation, touching on a number of anecdotes involving Mr. Weissmann’s work with well-known writers, directors, and actors.


December 10, 2015 Stammtisch – Swiss jazz singer and recording artist Gabriela Martina brought her passion and improvisational talents to our Stammtisch table for a special treat, and a ‘jazzy welcome to the holidays’. 


February 11, 2016 Stammtisch – We had a delightful Stammtisch at the Uptown Harvard Club, with Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden as our featured speaker. It was illuminating to learn about Switzerland’s significant role in humanitarian issues on the world stage in a fascinating talk followed by a Q&A session.


April 14, 2016 Stammtisch – Recent developments in the world of banking, and in the outlook for individuals looking to invest in Switzerland - from the U.S. - were discussed in an engaging talk by Michael Wüthrich, Senior Manager of Vontobel Swiss Wealth Advisors, headquartered in Zürich. Mr. Wüthrich and associate Veronika Kuenzler led a lively Q&A following their remarks.



2014/2015 Season:


October 9, 2014 Stammtisch – Professor Robert Allison Chairman of the History Department at Suffolk University gave a most interesting talk about the evolution in 1848 of the Swiss Constitution, which was largely influenced by the US Constitution. Formerly, the government was a confederation, but evolved to the constitutional structure acknowledging the changes needed to govern a modern democracy.


November 13, 2014 Stammtisch – Our field trip to Boston's International Poster Gallery revealed the creative innovation and stunning beauty of Swiss posters...and the great contribution they made to this art form. Gallery Director Jim Lapides gave a fascinating talk and showcased an extraordinary collection of works. Our Stammtisch lunch nearby was especially lively and 'gemuetlich'.


December 11, 2014 Stammtisch – Our classic Stammtisch luncheon room morphed into a recital hall, as we were treated to virtuoso violin and cello music, performed by the winners of the 2014 Roman Totenberg 'Young Strings Competition'. As a special treat, Competition founder Dr. Vera Rubin, a celebrated violinist herself, shared her wonderful insights into the life and contributions of Roman Totenberg, FOSI's 1992 Stratton Laureate.


February 12, 2015 Stammtisch – February is our month to celebrate intercultural arts, at our annual Freddy and Regina Homburger Memorial luncheon. We were honored this year to have Dr. Lynette Roth, Daimler-Benz Curator of the Harvard's Busch-Reisinger Museum, talk to us about the rich history of the museum and its collection of 20th century Swiss art...from Hodler to Paul Klee, Max Bill to Dieter Roth. 


April 9, 2015 Stammtisch – Our Charles Mongan Memorial lunch, with a focus on business, featured internationally acclaimed Trusts and Estate Attorney Alexander A. Bove, who shared his observations on various banking and estate planning issues of the day. Mr. Bove earned his Doctorate in Law from the University of Zürich Law School.


May 8, 2015 Annual Stratton Award Dinner – We gathered on this festive occasion to honor our newest Laureate, Renata von Tscharner, winner of the 2015 Stratton Prize for Intercultural Achievement. Mrs. von Tscharner is Founder and President of the Charles River Conservancy, an organization responsible for the stewardship, renewal, and enhancement of the parklands along the Charles River. Her work exemplifies the implementation of perspectives formed in her native Switzerland, but using decidedly American methods to achieve remarkable outcomes.



2013/2014 Season:


October 13, 2013 Stammtisch – Consuelo Isaccson spoke about the efforts of her organization, Caritas Cubana, to improve the lives of the people of Cuba.  The Swiss Government’s Embassy in Cuba represents the interests of the United States in that country.


November 14, 2013 Stammtisch – Friedrich Loehr, former Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany to New England, gave a talk entitled “The Father, The Son and the Sacred System: Can North Korea be Reformed?” His talk was based upon his years as German Ambassador in Pyongyang, and resulted in a vibrant discussion.


December 12, 2013 Stammtisch – The Roman Totenberg Memorial Holiday Luncheon featured the performance of Catherine Liddell, a lutenist and member of the Handel and Haydn Society and Boston Baroque.  After her performance, she spoke about her activities and music studies in Basel. It was a very festive holiday Stammtisch.


March 20, 2014 Stammtisch – At our February Freddy and Regina Homberger Art luncheon, Carole Bolsey, a critically acclaimed Boston area artist known for the ‘dynamic energy and painterly expressiveness’ of her work, gave a talk about her Swiss heritage and artistic career, with a slide presentation of her most recent work. 


April 10, 2014 Stammtisch – The owner of Bakey’s Restaurant in Boston’s Financial District, Helene Paquin, spoke to us at our annual Charles H. Mongan Memorial Business Luncheon. She shared with us her background in the hospitality industry during her long career in Switzerland and in the U.S.  Bakey’s recently closed its doors after 15 years in Boston’s Downtown Financial District. Ms. Paquin’s description of what it was like to establish and run this busy restaurant on a daily basis was of great interest to our members and their guests.


June 6, 2014 Annual Stratton Award Dinner – This year our Stratton Award recipient was Steven G. Hoch, Co-founder and Partner of Highmount Capital LLC, an investment and wealth management firm with offices in Boston, New York, Amsterdam and Zurich. As Chair of the American Swiss Foundation, Mr. Hoch has had significant influence on intercultural relations between our two countries, especially through the very successful annual Young Leaders Conference, a program which he initiated, and which now boasts over 1,000 alumni. Mr. Hoch is a Director of Nestlé S.A., Chairman of the American Swiss Foundation and a Trustee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Swissnex Boston, and is a former director of the Swiss Society of New York.



2012/2013 Season:


October 11, 2012 Stammtisch – Our members and guests attended a lunch and guided tour of the Paul Klee Exhibition at the McMullin Museum of Boston College. A member of the curatorial staff discussed a number of the works by this quintessential modern painter who lived and worked in Switzerland.


November 8, 2012 Stammtisch – Professor Robert J. Allison, Chair of the History Department of Suffolk University, gave a very interesting talk of life and times of Swiss-American statesman Albert Gallatin. To this day, Gallatin is the longest-serving U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, having served in that cabinet post during the entirety of the administrations of Presidents Jefferson and Madison. He then went on to found New York University. 


December 13, 2012 Stammtisch – Our Holiday Musical Stammtisch featured a performance by a woodwind trio from the Musical Performance class of Professors Robert Levin and Daniel Stepner at Harvard College. It was a very festive year-end celebration.


February 14, 2013 Stammtisch – Our guest speaker was Jonathan Fairbanks, Director of the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA and former Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This is the annual Freddy and Regina Homburger Memorial Luncheon, dedicated to the arts.  In a lively presentation, Mr. Fairbanks told us about the Fuller and its collection, showing us slides of the Museum’s collections and bringing craft items to show us.


April 4, 2013 Stammtisch – Our guest speaker was the new Swiss Consul and Director of Swissnex-Boston, Hon. Felix Moesner, who spoke about the activities of Swissnex and his plans for the coming year.


May 17, 2013 Annual Stratton Award Dinner – Our Stratton Award recipient for 2013 was Marc Redlich, long-time President of FOSI and an attorney in Boston. Mr. Redlich assisted the Swiss Government in establishing the Swiss Consulate in Cambridge, known as Swissnex. He also was instrumental in helping to establish the Sister State Agreement between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Canton of Basel-Stadt. It was a wonderful Spring evening at the Harvard Club of Boston, beginning with a musical concert followed by an excellent dinner and presentation of the Stratton Award.



2011/2012 Season:


October 13, 2011 Stammtisch – The General Consul of Switzerland in New York, Ambassador Francois Barras, visited and spoke about the activities and his plans for the General Consulate.


May 18 2012 Annual Stratton Award Dinner Our Stratton Award recipient for 2012 was Dr. Iris Bohnet, Professor and Academic Dean at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  We had a gala evening at the Harvard Club of Boston, beginning with a musical concert followed by an excellent dinner and presentation of the Stratton Award.



2010/2011 Season:


October 14, 2010 Stammtisch – Stratton Laureate John Shane spoke about “the venture capital market, then and now.”


November 10, 2010 Stammtisch – Swiss-American Architect David Hacin, who maintains his office in Boston, spoke about his projects and work here in Boston, in Switzerland, and around the world.


December 9, 2010 Stammtisch – A festive Holiday Musical performance, hosted by our Maestro, Roman Totenberg.


February 10, 2011 Stammtisch – This was the Freddy and Regina Homburger Memorial Luncheon, dedicated to the arts.  We met at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts for lunch and a tour of Swiss art in the collection, presented by the MFA’s Curator of European Art.


April 14, 2011 Stammtisch – This was our Dr. Charles E. Mongan Memorial Luncheon.  Heather Sears spoke on social networking and marketing for business and professional activities.


May 13, 2011 Annual Stratton Award Dinner Our Stratton Award recipient for 2011 was Josef H. von Rickenbach, Founder and CEO of PAREXEL International Corporation.  Once again, it was a gala evening, beginning with a musical concert, and followed by an excellent dinner and Stratton Award presentation.  A wonderful time was had by all.



2009/2010 Season:


October 8, 2009 Stammtisch – Steven Hoch, Principal of Highmount Capital, “Transatlantic Views on the Economy”.  We were also joined by our most recent Stratton Fellow, who was studying in the U.S., Ali Arbia.


November 12, 2009 Stammtisch – Thomas and Helene Stohr of Swissbakers told us about their entrepreneurial venture, which specializes in baking and catering Swiss culinary specialties.


December 10, 2009 Stammtisch – Our annual Holiday Musical performance, by young talented musicians organized by our Stratton Laureate, Maestro Roman Totenberg, followed by an excellent Holiday lunch.


February 11, 2010 Stammtisch – This was the Freddy and Regina Homburger Memorial Luncheon, dedicated to the arts.  Our speaker was John Durant, the Director of the MIT Museum.


March 11, 2010 Stammtisch – C. David Corbin, our recent Stratton Fellow, who used his FOSI Fellowship to study history and political science in Switzerland.


April 8, 2010 Stammtisch – This was our Dr. Charles E. Mongan Memorial Luncheon, which features a speaker in the areas of business and finance.  Our speaker was Paul Smyke, who has worked for many years as an organizer for the annual Davos Economic Forum.  He gave us “The View from Davos”.


May 14, 2010 Annual Stratton Award Dinner The 2010 Stratton Dinner was a very elegant and successful event.  After a chamber music concert organized by our Maestro and Stratton Prize Laureate, Professor Roman Totenberg, our members and guests sat down to dinner at the Harvard Club of Boston.  The Stratton Award this year went to Hanjörg Wyss, Chairman of the Swiss medical instrument company, Synthes.  Dr. Wyss is a generous philanthropist to medical, educational and environmental causes in Switzerland and the U.S.  A good time was had by all.


Additional Past Speakers Have Included:


Prof. John Kenneth Galbraith - of Harvard

Hon. Madeline Kunin - former Governor of Vermont and former Ambassador to Switzerland.

Prof. Lester Thurow - of M.I.T.

Ambassador Faith Whittlesey - former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland.

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