Swiss Event at ICD House: Swiss Culture in nearly all of its Aspects

(ICD House, September 23rd, 2011)

The event was co-organized by Pierce Lohman & Vincent Mabillard

The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy provides its interns with the opportunity to regularly set up internal events. Pierce Lohman and Vincent Mabillard, two Swiss citizens working as interns at ICD, undertook the initiative to organise a “Swiss Evening”, focusing on their country’s culture. They tried to cover a wide range of what Switzerland can offer when it comes to culture and arts.

Recently, votes on immigration and religious issues in Switzerland have damaged the country’s image abroad. Aware of that bad development, and assuming the fact that Switzerland is not a well-known country, especially because of its small size and neutrality, Pierce Lohman and Vincent Mabillard have decided to organise an internal event at ICD. In doing so, they were pursuing a twofold goal: firstly, to restore the Swiss image and secondly, to provide the audience with more detailed information about the country. About 70 people attended the event, most of them being ICD interns, making it a great success.

After a brief introduction by Pierce Lohman, including a short video on local traditions in Southern Switzerland during the carnival, Vincent Mabillard made a presentation on the aspects of multiculturalism in Switzerland. The presentation focused mainly on the linguistic and religious issues, as well as on the minorities’ rights in the country. The second part coped with the institutional solutions provided by the Constitution and the federal system. Finally, the challenges faced by the political and social system, with regard to a rising diversity in the Swiss society, were tackled.

Following that introductory part, the first star guest, Katherine Oggier Chanda, made a brilliant presentation of her work. A Swiss artist based in Berlin for six months, through the “Artists in Residence” program, she showed her video-performance and gave some explanations about her artistic approach of her work. This has been really appreciated by both the audience and the organisers of the Event. The second star guest, Emilie Duss, offered an exceptional concert. The musician is preparing a Master diploma at the Conservatory of Lucerne. Currently, she is a member of the Swiss Youth Symphony Orchestra. She performed two songs (Opus and Metamorphoses) written by a Swiss composer, Alexandre Rydin. She travelled from Switzerland for the opportunity to share her talent with the audience. On a side note, the author personally requested this artist to participate in the creation of a classical music album.

The event itself would have never been able to take place without the various supports and sponsoring that we received. The Swiss club in Berlin offered support at different levels. It helped us with acquiring the Swiss food of quality in Berlin. Moreover, they also offered us some manpower for the logistics and organization throughout the event. Mövenpick was another cherished sponsor for the event. The company offered Swiss wine bottles which enabled us to share an aperitif with the audience. Moreover, the Swiss embassy supported the Swiss event by providing us brochures and documentation about Switzerland.

If you have questions about the event, please feel free to ask.

Vincent Mabillard

Pierce Lohman