Period IV

Genève, Charles Pictet de Rochemont (1755-1824). Photo/Bild: TES.

Swiss Diplomacy

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is best known for its annual meetings in Davos since 1971. Business, political leaders, government en NGO’s make their way to the Alps to consider and to discuss the major global issues and to brainstorm on solutions to address these challenges. The Forum is also an institute for diplomacy, however, like Switzerland is the place for professional, discreet, reliable and impartial diplomacy at the highest level. Geneva has been the international centre of diplomacy since 1918. The cities of Bern, Solothurn, Basel, Zurich and Lucerne were much-frequented meetings points for diplomats, religious leaders and monarchs until the Napoleonic wars and their aftermath in the nineteenth century. Whenever war or crises are pending, Swiss (or Norwegian) diplomacy is wanted nowadays. The meeting between President Ronald Reagan and Michael Gorbatschow in 1985 or the recent exchange of prisoners between the United States and Iran in December 2019 in Zurich are just a few examples. The trust in and respect for Swiss diplomacy sometimes leads to unusual situations: Switzerland represents the United States in Iran but also represents Iran in Canada. Swiss (or Norwegian) diplomacy can handle it.