The SDC reaches out to the public to celebrate its 50th anniversary

Bern, Press release, 05.04.2011

Switzerland has been committed to the fight against poverty for fifty years. To highlight its action and enable the public to discover its many activities, Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC) is organising street events in several Swiss cities. The first event will take place on 7 April in Geneva in the presence of Toni Frisch, Deputy Director-General of the SDC. Other cities will follow. Under the motto "Fifty Years SDC – More than Aid", the SDC's jubilee will also be marked by discussions, lectures and film series throughout the year.

Over the past fifty years, Switzerland has been fighting hunger and been committed to improving the situation of populations around the world: on 17 March 1961, the Federal Council appointed the first Delegate for Technical Cooperation, giving birth to Swiss development cooperation. As part of this jubilee, the SDC plans to reach out to the public. It will introduce itself to the public in the streets of four Swiss cities. The first street event will take place from 7 to 9 April in French-speaking Switzerland at the Place du Rhône in Geneva.

SDC professionals will explain their work. Members of the public will also be able to take part in simulated searches for victims of natural disasters led by experts assisted by rescue dogs, to familiarise themselves with the realities faced by members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid in their operations in disaster areas, or to observe the techniques used in Pakistan to treat drinking water. 

Toni Frisch, Delegate for Humanitarian Aid of the Swiss Confederation, will inaugurate the street event in Geneva. Other events will follow the timetable below:

· 7 – 9 April 2011, Place du Rhône, Geneva
· 25 – 27 May 2011, Bundesplatz, Bern
· 30 June – 2 July 2011, Piazza del Sole, Bellinzone
· 14 – 15 October 2011, Barfüsserplatz, Basel

To present its current challenges and the results of its work to the public, the SDC will also organise other events throughout the year in Switzerland. Public discussions will be held in Bern (Käfigturm). In Geneva, three debates will take place on 7, 12 and 14 April starting at 7 p.m. at the Maison communale de Plainpalais. 

SDC's commitment over the years is also presented in the travelling exhibition "The other side of the world – a history of humanitarian Switzerland", which invites visitors to explore the Swiss humanitarian tradition in greater depth. This oral history project based on interactive documentary films was inaugurated last March 10 at the Political Forum of the Confederation (Bern). The exhibition will subsequently travel to other cities in Switzerland. In Geneva, it will be shown from 1 June to 31 August, 2011 at the Bibliothèque de la Cité (City Library). 

An official evening event will be held on 8 April in Geneva in the presence of the President of the Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, to mark the jubilee of the SDC.

Further information:
Carole Waelti, FDFA spokesperson: 031 / 324 32 03

Further information:

50 Years SDC – More than Aid
Käfigturm – Political Forum of the Confederation
Exhibition: "The other side of the world - a history of humanitarian Switzerland"

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs