Eric Burns

Chair, Switzerland

Hello! My name is Eric and I’m the chair of the Switzerland chapter of Democrats Abroad. 

I ran for chair to build an inclusionary space in our organization for new leaders, members, and ideas. Our country and our planet clearly face a great number of existential challenges such as climate change, information crisis, sociopolitical divisions… the list goes on. I fervently believe that if we’re going to stand a lasting chance in confronting these issues, we need to reflect the diversity of opinions, personalities, and backgrounds of our membership.  

I grew up in St. Louis Missouri to a family of scientists and vote in North Carolina where I last lived prior to leaving for higher education in Europe. I have a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from ETH Zürich where I studied renewable energy – namely, artificial photosynthesis. 

Most of my time outside of research has been either leading or founding social initiatives. During my last 4 years in Switzerland, I cofounded a ‘union’ (we didn’t use this term) to represent academic staff at my research institution called the PhD and Postdoc Association at the Paul Scherrer Institute (the Swiss national laboratory where I worked) where I was also president of the 12-member board. I also cofounded and was president of the Mental Wellbeing association (MeWell) nonprofit where we advocate for mental health awareness within academia. During the last 10 years I have founded and/or was president of 6 organizations (5 in Switzerland) and have sat on 8 boards.

I am very passionate about making music and performing ‘live looping’ concerts on the electric violin. I also love to cook and creatively explore with new flavors and ingredients. In addition, I am a fiend for a good map and enjoy all things geography and history.

I am also proud to be engaged to my wonderful fiancé, Minttu, whom I have been with for over 6 years ☺

I would also love to hear from you! Send me an email at: [email protected]

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