OSA centenary: major celebration in Berne

The festivities marking the 100th anniversary of the OSA reached their climax on 5–7 August in Berne. Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter congratulated the OSA on the Bundesplatz, the Council of the Swiss Abroad held a meeting in the Federal Palace, and a plenary session discussed the topic “Switzerland: a part of the world”.

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter speaks to the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad on the Bundesplatz on 5 August. Photo OSA

In the highlight of this jubilee year, numerous spectators and 170 invited young Swiss people from abroad gathered on the Bundesplatz in Berne on Friday 5 August to hear Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter praise the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad and watch him cut a cake together with OSA President Remo Gysin to mark the start of the jubilee party. “Young Swiss Abroad: our world needs you!” Burkhalter told the young people assembled in front of the podium. The festivities having thus been duly opened, the square was given over to a series of activities focusing on 100 years of the OSA as well as free concerts that continued well into the evening.

The centenary celebrations were held under the motto “Switzerland: a part of the world”. How important are the Swiss Abroad in today’s globalised world? What are their needs? How can the OSA support the mobility of the 762,000 Swiss men and women living and working abroad? What visions does the organisation have for the future? These questions were also raised at the plenary session at the Kultur Casino in Berne on 6 August. Six speakers addressed the topics of migration, mobility and networking and their significance for the Swiss diaspora. The young people also heard a speech from their peers in the shape of Davide Wüthrich and Wanja Kaufmann from the Swiss Abroad Youth Parliament, before OSA Directors Ariane Rustichelli and Sarah Mastantuoni finished with a presentation of the biggest challenges facing the OSA. “Ecoutez les jeunes!” (Listen to the young people!) Remo Gysin said at the end of the event, bringing to a close the festivities that had been opened by Federal Councillor Burkhalter.

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