How does your Embassy work to grow and strengthen international relationships?
Our role as an Embassy is to show how our two countries can work together and learn from each other. We encourage all different kinds of exchange between Switzerland and the U.S. in the fields of business, government, science, technology and culture.
Switzerland has been dubbed as one of the most innovative countries in the world in many different rankings. We like to share our experience and find valuable synergies with our partners in the public and the private sector in the United States. The Swiss model of apprenticeships for instance is a pillar of the Swiss economy, and the Embassy gladly provides concrete information and examples of how this model might be beneficial for both of our countries.
As Ambassador between your country and the United States, what has your greatest accomplishment been and/or what do you most hope to accomplish to strengthen sub-national diplomacy?
Switzerland is strongly committed to and deeply involved in humanitarian efforts all around the world. The humanitarian cause is particularly embodied in the city of Geneva, which hosts the second largest United Nations Office and is the cradle of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In that spirit, it is a noble duty for me to further the humanitarian cause through panels and various events that we hold here at the Embassy in Washington. I am personally strongly convinced of the importance of these topics.
Before coming to Washington, I was Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. I would like to mention for instance the series of events we organized with the D.C.-based NGO Vital Voices: their mission is to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. I am really looking forward to continuing to serve this humanitarian cause during my posting here in Washington.
Have you worked with a sister city program in the past? If yes, which cities did you work with and what types of exchanges did you partake in?
Numerous Swiss cities have appreciated partnerships with American cities. Among these, let me point out Zurich and San Francisco, who share an inclination towards innovation, Basel and Miami Beach who both hold an important art fair every year, or Aspen and Davos, two important ski resorts. And not to forget Lucerne and Chicago of course — both wonderful cities at the shores of magnificent lakes. These examples also show — despite the different size of our two countries and their cities — how much both nations benefit from their broad diversity. The partnerships promote a dialogue among these sister cities and their citizens. We are thrilled to have so many sister cities in the States and are convinced it can bring the Swiss and American people closer to one another.