Delegates from up to 60 different nations are gathering in canton Vaud for the start of the annual summer conferences organised by the Moral Re-Armament organisation.
The Foundation for Moral Re-Armament was created 55 years ago to counterbalance the military arms race. At the end of the Second World War, the foundation developed into an ethical movement.
This year's debates, to be held in Caux over the course of the next six weeks, will focus on the theme "Globalising responsibility".
The conferences are expected to examine how moral responsibility and compassion can be developed parallel to economic globalisation.
Speaking at the opening of the event on Saturday, the president of the Swiss Foundation for Moral Re-Armament, Cornelio Sommaruga, pleaded for increased responsibility in the global economy.
"Economic powers, which have global ambitions, must also have a global sense of responsibility", said Sommaruga.
The director of United Nations World Food Programme, Catherine Bertini, said it was essential to consider women in order to break the cycle of under-development.
"Educate women, and there will be hope of ending famine in the world", Bertini said.
Also present at the event's opening was the Confederation's Chancellor, Annemarie Huber-Hotz, who pleaded against a globalisation at all costs.
"Globalisation must not lead to a new form of exploitation, but rather serve development for the benefit of all", Huber-Hotz said.
swissinfo with agencies