Posts Tagged ‘Official’
August 1st, 2011 – National Day message to the Swiss abroad by Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of the Swiss Confederation
For many of you our national day is a moment to take stock and to reflect. Wherever you may be on 1 August, you uphold the traditions of our country and confirm your attachment to Switzerland. This is why this is a very special day. Pride, love of your country, perhaps even homesickness: all these feelings may be experienced on 1 August. Take advantage of the opportunity and forget about your Helvetic modesty for a short while!
I would like to assure you that your love of Switzerland is reciprocated. Just as you feel attached to our country, Switzerland also cares about you, not only on 1 August but throughout the year. It is often said that the Swiss Abroad are ambassadors for Switzerland abroad. But in my view they are more than that. They embody our country’s attachment to the wider world. Thanks to you, the citizens of your host country learn more about our country. And if one day you come back to Switzerland to live, our economy will benefit from the experience that you have gained abroad. I would like to thank you for this contribution to our country’s prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen
You all know that Switzerland has always depended on exchanges and trade with other countries. But in recent years our interconnectedness with the world has grown even stronger. You as members of the Swiss Abroad are the living proof of this.
A period of time spent abroad is almost a standard experience for many Swiss citizens. The ‘fifth Switzerland’ is extremely diverse. It includes pensioners in Spain, students in Germany, bankers in Singapore and development helpers in Tanzania. But I am also thinking of the growing number of persons with dual nationality, who in many cases facilitate our relations with their host countries. Their openness, their interest in people throughout the world and their adaptability are key qualities on the path to success.
The qualities that help you in your daily life have also helped Switzerland. Openness and adaptability have enabled our country to cope relatively well with the economic crisis of recent years. Today in many respects we are better off than other countries. But this also imposes an obligation: the obligation to show solidarity. Switzerland has again and again demonstrated its solidarity, even in the most recent past example of the deployment of Humanitarian Aid after the atomic disaster in Japan, or of Switzerland’s activity in connection with the upheavals in North Africa and in the Near East. I am proud of this Swiss solidarity.
Dear fellow countrymen and countrywomen,
On behalf of the Federal Council I sincerely wish you a happy 1 August.
As Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey prepared to take over the post of Swiss president, she shared with Swiss public radio DRS her view of the year ahead.
It is the second time that Calmy-Rey has held Switzerland’s largely ceremonial presidency, which rotates annually among the seven cabinet members. But 2011 promises to be more eventful than her previous term in 2007, owing to global financial problems and difficult relations with the European Union.
The president has no special powers or privileges and continues to run his or her own ministry. The job includes chairing the weekly cabinet meetings and representing Switzerland on ceremonial occasions.
Calmy-Rey told German-language DRS – like swissinfo part of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation – that she wanted to see Switzerland more self-confident and less self-critical. (swissinfo.ch)
Renewing her pledge of August 2010 to make the concerns of the Swiss abroad an important focus in Swiss politics, Mme Calmy-Rey responded to Géraldine Eicher of DRS public radio’s question:
“DRS: The Swiss living abroad want their situation to become a national priority. Is that a realistic hope?
M.C.-R.: The Swiss abroad are a priority for the foreign ministry and for me. Not only the 700,000 who live abroad, but also the many Swiss who travel abroad as tourists.
This is such a high priority that we have set up a consular directorate in the foreign ministry which in case of need can provide any Swiss person abroad with consular protection.”
Merci Mme President Calmy-Rey, and Thank You to our Federal Councillors for paying attention to the 700,000 Swiss living outside Switzerland (including “us”, the 13,000+ constituents living between Santa Barbara and San Diego, Arizona Colorado and New Mexico.)
from left to right: Johann Schneider-Ammann, Didier Burkhalter, Doris Leuthard, Micheline Calmy-Rey (President 2011), Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (Vice President 2011), Ueli Maurer, Simonetta Sommaruga, (Federal Chancellor Corina Casanova also pictured).
The Swiss Embassy in Washington’s latest newsletter has arrived with a message from incoming Ambassador Manuel Sager: would you like to get this monthly newsletter from our Ambassador’s office directly in your inbox? Sign up here !
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: A particular topic of interest to Angeleno-Swiss in this issue of “Switzerland Calling!” deals with disaster preparedness. In addition to the mentioned calamities every Swiss-American may have to deal with nationwide, the California-Swiss community should remember to prepare for the inevitable. We haven’t experienced any significant earthquakes in the past 15 years, which may have caused many to forget the importance of being prepared for this exceptional situation. In addition to the www.ready.gov resource mentioned in the newsletter, LA residents may also want to learn more about the LAFD’s Community Emergency Response Team www.lafd.org/lafd-cert, the California Emergency Management Agency www.oes.ca.gov, as well as the California Earthquake Authority, the agency in charge of coordinating risk-management and rebuilding efforts.
“Welcome to Earthquake Country!” by the Earthquake Country Alliance (motto: “We’re in this together”) has two useful publications worth downloading (PDF): “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country” and “7 Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business”.
“We were so fortunate to have Ambassador Ziswiler as the representative of Switzerland during what could be described tumultuous times in Swiss-American relations. Thank you, Herr Ziswiler!”
Swiss Center Los Angeles
In my nearly five years as Swiss Ambassador in Washington, I have experienced how decidedly close and friendly the relations between Switzerland and the United States have proved to be. There is substance to the frequently quoted phrase “Sister Republics.” The partnership between our two countries is characterized by similar fundamentals of government and values. However, this may not obscure the fact that in the last few decades differences of opinion have repeatedly arisen, as illustrated by the UBS case and the extradition of Roman Polanski. I am proud that we were always able to find solutions which testified to mutual recognition and respect. Time and again, the U.S. demonstrates its attitude of partnership toward us, whether by the above-average number of personal contacts between U.S. cabinet members and Swiss federal councillors or by entrusting us with the protecting power mandates. Switzerland has represented the United States in Cuba since 1961 and in Iran since 1980. That commitment is still highly appreciated and actively pursued, as demonstrated by the release of the American citizen Sarah Shourd from Iranian detention, for example.
Time and again, we are presented with new opportunities for further strengthening our relations, whether in the area of science and technology or politics and democracy. The concept of the “debt brake” and Swiss healthcare policy, for example, have received not only praise and recognition from the American side, but have also illustrated an interest in Swiss approaches to solutions. Americans regard Switzerland positively, as demonstrated by a recent study.
Along with this openness, on a personal level, I have always been fascinated by the optimism and the pioneer spirit of the Americans. Here the glass is never half empty, but always half full. This attitude paired with entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness to always do one’s best guarantees that the United States is the undisputed leader in many areas. The worst financial and economic crisis since the thirties, however, has left its mark. Unlike beforehand, today many Americans doubt that their children will inevitably be better off than they themselves are. The same confidence in the country that one encountered still a few years ago is no longer prevalent. I hope, however, and in my heart I am also optimistic that the old American spirit will return. We Swiss with our sometimes especially critical attitude should learn a thing or two from this spirit time and again. During my time in Washington, I personally was able to learn much from this positive basic attitude. With rich memories and refueled with good spirit, I would like to say, “Good-bye America, see you soon!”
Ambassador Urs Ziswiler
Albert Gallatin, born in January 1761 and raised in Geneva, immigrated to the United States and became a U.S. Senator, a Congressman, the longest-serving U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, U.S. negotiator of the Treaty of Ghent, U.S. Minister to France and Britain, and the first president of the Council of New York University, among other distinctions.
In honor of Albert Gallatin’s 250th birthday year, the Swiss Confederation has launched the Gallatin250 Project, including the Gallatin250 Roundtables. The Gallatin250 Roundtables will be organized as a series of events throughout the U.S. to address the topic of public debt and fiscal responsibility.
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