The innovative Young Leader Conference was founded by our late Chairman Emeritus and two-time Ambassador to Switzerland, Faith Whittlesey (1939-2018). To select the first class, Ambassador Whittlesey solicited nominations from senators, governors, and other high-ranking officials including then-Senators Malcom Wallop, Bill Bradley, Trent Lott, David Boren, Claiborne Pell, Richard Shelby, Jesse Helms, and Christopher "Kit" Bond. The first conference was held at the UBS training center in Wolfsberg, Ermatingen with the main sponsors being the Union Bank of Switzerland and Swissair. Over the next 30 years, the conference would be held again three times at this location: in 1993, 2005, and 2017.
In 1990, twenty-two Young Leaders from Switzerland and the United States were invited to participate and the Young Leaders Conference was successfully launched. The class included U.S. Senator John Barrasso; Cardell Cooper, former Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development at the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Rolf Doerig, Chairman of the Board of the Swiss Life Group and Adecco; Steven G. Hoch, ASF Chairman Emeritus and Partner at Brown Advisory; Businessman and philanthropist Art Pope; Urs Rohner, Chairman of Credit Suisse; and radio host and political commentator Michael Smerconish.
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