foraus (German: Forum Aussenpolitik, French: Forum de politique étrangère, Italian: Forum di politica estera) is a thinktank on Swiss foreign policy. It is headquartered in Berne and has offices in Geneva and Zurich and works according to the grassroots principle, based on 11 regional chapters across Switzerland. Most of its members are academic scholars, students and young professionals, who produce evidence-based discussion papers to be used as recommendations for decision makers and a broader public.. The think tank organises events and is funded through membership fees as well as through the support of foundations and private donors.
foraus was established in Autumn 2009 by students from Zurich, Geneva and Berne. The idea of a grassroots think tank was developed by founders Nicola Forster and Pablo Padrutt. Since 2012, foraus is present with regional chapters in all Swiss cities with a university. Since 2014 there are two extraterritorial chapters in Liechtenstein and Brussels. In the same year, the thinktank launched the platform foraus.global, which enabled the foundation of new grassroot thinktanks in Berlin (Polis 180), Paris (argo), London (Agora) and Vienna (foraus.at).
The contents of the publications are developed in thematic programmes (development policy; Europe; peace and security; global governance; migration; environment, transport and energy; international law und human rights). Furthermore there are foraus chapters in all Swiss university towns (Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, St. Gallen, Ticino, and Zürich). The head office is located in Zurich, while the Geneva office coordinates the activities in the French-speaking region as well as the relations with the international organisations. The President of foraus ist Nicola Forster (since 2009) and the head of office is Émilia Pasquier (since 2014).
Foraus aims to provide a contribution to foreign policy in Switzerland through evidence-based contribution and to promote a constructive dialogue based on academic research.
The three main activities of foraus are the publication of discussion papers on all aspects of Swiss foreign policy, the organisation of events, and the communication with media, the broad public and decision-makers.
The think tank organises workshops, panels and conferences with high-level politicians, diplomats and scholars on a regular basis. foraus events are regularly attended by most Swiss decision makers and opinion leaders, including most past and current members of the national government, but also international guests such as José Manuel Barroso, Enrico Letta and Joseph Stiglitz.
foraus releases discussion papers and policy briefs on current issues on a regular basis. Focus points are the implications of national referenda for Switzerland's foreign policy, the challenges related to immigration and the Switzerland-EU relations. In the framework of the prostpective withdrawal form the European Union (Brexit), foraus studies on the post-Brexit institutional options gathered substantial attention in the United Kingdom.
- Polis 180 – Grassroots-Thinktank für Außen- und Europapolitik (in German)
- argo | Think tank à Paris (in French)
- Agora – The open forum for foreign policy
- Ritter, Adrian (19 July 2012). "Ehrenamtliche Forschung". UZH News. Zurich. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Mettler, Jon (11 October 2013). "Die jungen Wilden der Aussenpolitik". Berner Zeitung. Berne. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- TEDx Nicola Forster – says Switzerland needs more brainpower Youtube, 29. Oktober 2010
- Daum, Matthias (10 February 2011). "Er will wissen, nicht glauben". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- von Grünigen, Franziska (19 September 2011). "Politexperte Nicola Forster: «Politik ist sexy!»". Radio SRF (in German). Zurich. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Najy, Cenni (June 2016). "Plan B after Brexit. What Britain Can Expect Negotiating a Swiss-Type Arrangement with the EU". foraus Discussion Paper. 30. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Phinnemore, David; Najy, Cenni (June 2017). "The Option of Association: The United Kingdom Post-Brexit and the European Free Trade Association". foraus Discussion Paper. 34.
- Foulkes, Imogen (22 August 2016). "Brexit fuels Swiss anxiety over new deal with EU". BBC News. Geneva. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Wintour, Patrick (2 July 2017). "UK considers potential shortcut on trade deals post-Brexit". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 July 2017., [The Guardian], 2017
- Gutteridge, Nick (2 July 2017). "Brexit shortcut: Britain urged to become 'associate member' of Efta to boost global ties". The Daily Express. London. Retrieved 2 July 2017.