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A new perspective

As a visually impaired member of the Chief Digital Officer & Strategy team, and as a private individual, Drilon Kastrati is passionately committed to moving forward with digital apps for disadvantaged people and making them available worldwide. Originally from Kosovo, he knows from personal experience that digitalization can open up new perspectives.

January 7, 2022

There are a number of reasons why Drilon Kastrati is making every effort to support digital transformation. First, as someone who has earned a degree in economics, he is aware of the potential that new technologies have to offer and their impact on sustainable development. Second, he views technological innovations as an effective means of reducing the gap between economically and socially vulnerable countries and the industrialized world. And third, digital tools and apps are of immediate importance for Drilon Kastrati as an individual – for his life, his personal ambitions and his professional goals – as he has been nearly blind since the age of 16. It was for that reason that he had to abandon his apprenticeship as a machine designer.

New perspectives, thanks to innovative technologies

“After receiving that devastating diagnosis, I was able to get back on my feet thanks to new technologies,” he remembers. While studying banking and finance at the University of Zurich, he found that visually impaired students had no or only very limited access to learning materials and specialized literature. He decided to change that.

In his work for Credit Suisse Asset Management, where he has been a member of the Chief Digital Officer & Strategy team since November 2018, he seeks to promote the expansion of e-learning tools and make them accessible to visually impaired people all over the world. In particular, computers with screen readers, which provide access to reading, writing, calculating and other apps, have proved to be exceptionally helpful. Such technologies also offer interesting investment opportunities for companies and other investors.

“I want to be an example and show that someone with limited eyesight is fully capable of taking on challenging roles – including roles where you would not expect to have people with a disability,” Drilon Kastrati explains.

A citizen of the world and champion of inclusion

However, his interest in promoting digital innovations is rooted in far more than just his personal circumstances: “I am committed to the concept of inclusion and to ensuring that every member of our society is able to participate fully and equally in the life of that society.” This poses challenges that can only be overcome through global action.

The nonprofit organization One Young World (OYW) provides a platform for addressing these challenges. Every year, it brings together thousands of 18- to 30-year-olds from business, academia and NGOs to participate in a summit meeting. The participants want to be actively involved in shaping the future, find solutions for education, the climate and social development, and form networks aimed at achieving a positive impact.

Credit Suisse also took part in this year’s One Young World Summit 2021 conference, which was held in Munich in July. It was one of the more than 20 globally active companies that sent a delegation to the conference, making its members OYW ambassadors. Speaking for the Credit Suisse delegation was Drilon Kastrati, who called for greater speed and a more targeted approach in exploiting the potential of new technologies, in particular for the benefit of disadvantaged individuals and population groups as well.

In his remarks, he acknowledged that he would like to start with Kosovo, where he was born. The country, with just under two million inhabitants, is a good place to conduct a pilot project that will enable visually impaired children to read and write texts in their own language. As a true man of action, Drilon Kastrati has already made contact with the Kosovo Association for the Blind and held constructive discussions. An app that allows blind children to listen to books is already being developed and is currently in the test phase.

 

In the long run

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria dictate investor behavior around the world. Their priorities and preferences can shift very dynamically. Long-term principles for decision-making and well-founded investment solutions are more important than ever.

 

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