Perspectives on displacement at the National Museum Zurich

Article, 28.10.2016

DISPLACED opens on 29 October 2016 at the National Museum Zurich. The exhibition gives visitors a glimpse of what it means to have to give up one's home, family, work and country. The SDC is taking part in the exhibition.

A woman in a Syrian refugee camp holding a child.
The DISPLACED exhibition illustrates the realities of life as a refugee and gives visitors a glimpse of what it means to leave one’s home behind.

There are currently 65 million displaced people in the world – the highest number since the Second World War. The DISPLACED exhibition at the National Museum Zurich sheds light on the issue from different perspectives and presents typical biographies that show visitors the journeys endured by refugees.  Director Mano Khalil, himself a refugee, illustrates in a video installation the various stages of these journeys into the unknown. 

DISPLACED provides insight into Switzerland's activities and international aid and explains the international legal basis and the gaps in refugee protection. Visitors also learn how decisions in Switzerland's asylum process affect the futures of asylum seekers. 

The exhibition is a joint project by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Swiss Federal Commission on Migration (FCM), the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Switzerland creates prospects for people close to home


The report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees detailing global migration trends gives the following figures: 


  • Some 65.3 million people are currently displaced. To put this in perspective, the total number of people who live in Switzerland is 8.3 million.

  • 24 people worldwide are displaced from their homes every minute.

  • Over half of those forced to flee are children.

  • On average, people who have to flee spend 17 years in an uncertain situation which neither allows them to integrate nor return home. 

For people fleeing their homes, humanitarian aid does not give them their old life back. But it helps keep them from dying of hunger and thirst. What people need are long-term prospects for a dignified life for themselves and their children. This is what Switzerland tries to address. 


Creating prospects close to home, slideshow (PDF, Number of pages 169, 9.1 MB, German)

Foreign policy on migration: collaborative efforts between different departments

An interdepartmental structure for international cooperation on migration issues which the Federal Council established in 2011 coordinates Switzerland's migration policy. Alongside the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the main government departments involved are the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP), the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) and the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). 

Eduard Gnesa, Switzerland's special ambassador for international cooperation on migration, represents Switzerland in bilateral and international bodies.