The President of the Executive Council, Philippe Müller, and Bern University of Applied Sciences promote a dialogue on security with society

29.05.2024 Security is an issue that involves various social perspectives. This came out in the event series organised by the President of the Executive Council, Philippe Müller, which was actively supported by Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH.

The focus of the six events was on dialogue with different community segments and age groups. “For BFH, the Security Perspectives event series was an exciting opportunity to bring science and society together to consider the many different aspects of security,” underlines BFH President Sebastian Wörwag.

He sees the open format – from strolling through the city to meeting with young people – as a good opportunity to enter into dialogue with various sections of society to discuss current security needs and their observations. “It is clear that security is a collaborative task shared by individuals, society and the State,” Sebastian Wörwag continues.

Roger Filliger (2. von links) unterhält sich mit Regierungspräsident Philippe Müller (2. von rechts)
Roger Filliger (2nd from left) talks to the President of the Executive Council, Philippe Müller (2nd from right), about technical safety issues.

BFH’s diversity represented

Numerous BFH experts from various disciplines participated in the event series – from social work to architecture, technology to IT. One of these was Emanuela Chiapparini, Head of the Institute for Childhood, Youth and Family, who accompanied the President of the Executive Council on a stroll through Bern’s Bümpliz neighbourhood. In summarising the discussions that took place in the west of Bern, the expert in child and youth research and in participation processes for people experiencing poverty says: “With the right support, the challenges that have been identified could be tackled even better.”

Emanuela Chiapparini (links) und Regierungspräsident Philippe Müller auf einem Spaziergang in Bümpliz.
Emanuela Chiapparini (left) discusses the challenges facing the Bümpliz neighbourhood, and especially its young people, with the President of the Executive Council, Philippe Müller.

Involving young people more

She cites the example of the monthly round table with experts, the police and the neighbourhood association, where incidents are discussed and measures adopted: “From my perspective, it would be interesting to have young people represented there too.” She also mentions that the district is in urgent need of a youth club and believes greater use should be made of civilian police officers who specifically seek dialogue with the local youth. “This would be a sustainable investment in young people growing up successfully and living together in diversity.”

Involving young people in prevention

The BFH professor also took part in an exchange between 50 students from Bern University of Applied Sciences and the President of the Executive Council. The main topic was security in different areas of life. The issues addressed included alcohol at major events, police presence, cyber risks, societal shifts and mobility.

“What surprised me was the role of alcohol at major events, and the resolve of individual students to campaign politically for greater restrictions on alcohol consumption in society as a whole,” says Chiapparini. Although it is in contradiction with the real-world figures, she sees an opportunity here. “It would be good to work with young people on developing prevention measures,” she says.

Emanuela Chiapparini (2. von rechts) hört den Fragen der Lernenden der Technischen Fachschule Bern zu
Emanuela Chiapparini (2nd from right) listens to questions from students of the Technische Fachschule Bern on topics such as alcohol, police presence and the cyber world.

Exchange platform has great potential

Tobias Baitsch, Head of the Institute for Urbanism, Architecture and Construction, accompanied Philippe Müller on another city tour in Bern/Wankdorf. For Baitsch, it was an example of the conflict between the needs of residents with respect to the built environment, and the demands of ‘outsiders’, often temporary users. By this he was referring not only to the operators and users of the infrastructure for sports, exhibitions and concerts, but also international companies.

“These conflicts require a great deal of attention and a balancing of priorities in order to create a liveable city for everyone,” emphasises Baitsch. As a forum for dialogue between different political and social levels, the tours offer an interesting approach with exciting potential for creating mutual understanding and collaboration on future living spaces.

Tobias Baitsch und weitere Personen bei einem Quartierrundgang im Wankdorf
The diverse needs of the local population and ‘outsider’ users such as sports organisers requires attention, says Tobias Baitsch after the tour of the Wankdorf district.

Raising awareness among future specialists

During his year as President of the Executive Council, Philippe Müller also met representatives of BFH at the Bernese Jura careers fair. “Particularly in the area of human-machine interaction, the security perspective is key and cannot be outsourced solely to machines,” stresses Roger Filliger, Deputy Head of the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Raising the awareness of future specialists on this issue is an essential element of latent safety.

BFH keeping its eye on the security issue

The President of the Executive Council, Philippe Müller, drew a positive balance at the closing event and appeared optimistic: “The level of engagement and prudence in the population is impressive. It makes an important contribution to our security. It will be interesting to see what conclusions BFH draws from this.”

“We will pick up the baton,” says Sebastian Wörwag, “because much of what we do every day, as a university of applied sciences, involves developing practical solutions for society.” This perspective applies to all security aspects.

Participating experts from BFH

  • Peter Affolter, Head of Automotive Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science TI 

  • Tobias Baitsch, Head of the Institute for Settlement, Architecture and Construction, AHB

  • Regula Blaser, lecturer/study director CAS Dementia and Lifestyle, Institute of Ageing, Social Work

  • Emanuela Chiapparini, Head of Institute Childhood, Youth and Family, Social Work 

  • Roger Filliger, Deputy Director TI

  • Tobias Fritschi, Head of the Institute of Social Security and Social Policy, Department of Social Work