The SDC celebrates its first 50 years on the Bundesplatz

Bern, Press release, 20.05.2011

On 25 May 2011, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, joined by the Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) on the Bundesplatz in Bern to inaugurate a number of public open-air events illustrating Switzerland’s work in the area of cooperation and humanitarian assistance. In celebration of its Jubilee (1961-2011), the SDC has decided to present its many activities to the public in several Swiss cities. After Geneva in April, the SDC’s street actions moves on to Bern, 25-27 May 2011.

The President of the Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, will be present at the Bundesplatz in Bern on 25 May 2011 to join the street action organised to celebrate the SDC Jubilee. On 17 March 1961, the first delegate of the SDC’s forerunner, the “Service for Technical Cooperation”, was appointed by the Federal Council, initiating the new era of Swiss development cooperation.

“For 50 years there has been a consensus in Swiss society which holds that this country wants to and must contribute to the elimination of poverty and injustice in the world”, said the SDC Director-General, Martin Dahinden, who will launch the street action in the Bundesplatz. Under the banner “50 years of the SDC – more than aid” the SDC Jubilee is a unique opportunity for the public to learn about Swiss development cooperation. After beginning in the streets of Geneva, the SDC celebration will move to the heart of the Swiss capital, May 25-27 2011. 

In the framework of the celebrations, SDC professionals will explain the Agency’s endeavours to the public. It will also be possible to participate in simulations of a typical search for the victims of a natural disaster by the Swiss Rescue team, learn more about the operations of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit in a disaster area, and techniques employed in Pakistan for the treatment of drinking water.

Other street actions are planned as follows:

  • 30 June - 2 July 2011, Piazza del Sole, Bellinzona
  • 14 - 15 October 2011, Barfüsserplatz, Basel

The public will also be able to learn about current challenges and the results of Swiss development cooperation thanks to a number of other events scheduled throughout the year. In particular, public discussions are to be held in the framework of the Political Forum of the Confederation in Bern (Käfigturm).  

The SDC’s long-term commitment is also featured in a travelling exhibition entitled “The other side of the world – a history of humanitarian Switzerland”, which delves more deeply into Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition. This project of oral history based on interactive documentary films will be on show until 25 June at the Political Forum of the Confederation in Bern. It will also tour other Swiss cities.

Invitation to the media:
Media representatives are cordially invited to be present at the launch of the public celebrations:

  • 13.30: Official opening with an address by the Director of the DSC Martin Dahinden in the presence of representatives of the Bern municipal authorities and other guests.

  • 14.00-14.30: Arrival of the President of the Confederation, Mrs Micheline Calmy-Rey, who will join in the celebrations.

Carole Waelti
Spokesperson FDFA
Tel. +41 31 324 32 03

Further information:

Animation on the street (fr)
50 years of the SDC – more than aid
Käfigturm – Political Forum of the Confederation
Exhibition: “The other side of the world – a history of humanitarian

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