"My goal is to move our country forward," said Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at the opening of the Ambassadors' Conference in Bern's Stade de Suisse. "Daring to innovate" was thus the key message of his welcome address: "moving forwards means adapting to a changing world; in short, it means changing". Accordingly, he called on the 470 ambassadors, consuls general, honorary consuls and heads of international cooperation present to dare to innovate, while stressing that this also requires a level of risk-taking.
The participants in the Ambassadors and International Network Conference are discussing current foreign policy issues in Bern this week. Each of the three days of this year's conference focuses on a different overarching theme with a view to leveraging future opportunities and addressing challenges:
- The 'Switzerland in the World 2028' report, which presents a working group's vision of Switzerland in 2028, is also intended to give the FDFA additional impetus for shaping foreign policy. The Ambassadors' Conference will focus on ways in which the vision set out in this report can provide inspiration to the FDFA.
- Formulating foreign policy strategy for the period 2020-23, in which the Federal Council will set out Switzerland's specific foreign policy priorities for the next four years. Various topics will be explored in greater detail at workshops during the Ambassadors' Conference.
- Defining the career profile of diplomatic staff, concentrating on the skills needed by diplomatic staff to address the challenges of the 21st century and exploit these challenges in Switzerland's interests. Here, too, a number of workshops will be held to explore particular aspects of the career profile of diplomatic staff.
The Ambassadors' Conference will also feature a number of events in which several members of the Federal Council and the Federal Chancellor will discuss issues relating to foreign policy in their areas of work.
This year, the Conference of Swiss Honorary Consular Representatives is taking place at the same time as the Ambassadors' Conference, from 26 to 28 August 2019. This is the third time that this event has been held, with the first two such conferences taking place in 2011 and 2015. The event provides a platform for passing on specialist knowledge and sharing insights and experience.
The Ambassadors' Conference will also be followed by an event dedicated to international cooperation: the managerial staff of Switzerland's representations and head office will meet on Friday 30 August and Monday 2 September to discuss the vision and strategic priorities laid down in the dispatch on Switzerland's strategy and international cooperation for the period 2021-24.
As in other years, the Ambassadors and International Network Conference will conclude with an excursion, which will also be attended by President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer and Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis. The highlight of this year's excursion to the canton of Zug will be Crypto Valley and new technologies.
Address for enquiries:
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53