In early August 1291, people of three alpine cantons found that they were stronger together and they signed a Charter forging an alliance of mutual protection. This moment is considered as the very beginning of the Swiss Confederation and the First of August has become our National Day.
This is, of course, a day of festivities. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has kept us from celebrating the way we used to. Over the last months, we have had to adapt our behaviours and even our traditions. For the second year in a row, we have moved the Swiss National Day celebration online and I would be delighted if you visit www.missione1agosto.org to enjoy this moment virtually with us.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, our entire world, including both our countries, has been going through an extraordinary period and facing great challenges. Our societies are shaken to their cores by this deadly virus.
The three initial cantons, which swore eternal allegiance to one another, promised mutual help and assistance, were later joined by 23 others. Today, on our National Day, we continue to celebrate our attachment to our common values, such as our direct democracy, our federalism, our diversity, and our culture of consensus. In these trying times, I take inspiration from this founding event, more than seven centuries ago, and remain convinced that we are stronger together. Solidarity and humanity are more than just words, they are values that help us navigate and overcome crises, including the one we are in now.
With COVID-19, our days and routines have changed. For instance, we are used to wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing and, often, we are limited in our movements. That said, this new situation has also taught us about the importance of supporting each other and remaining resilient.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Switzerland has been firmly standing by Bangladesh and my country has committed 17 million Swiss Francs (BDT 160 crore) to reinforce the immediate response of the most vulnerable communities and strengthen their socio-economic resilience. In this supplement, you can learn more about some of our related projects.
The pandemic has made person-to-person contacts more complicated. But thanks to digital and social media platforms, we have found other ways to connect and exchange ideas. The Embassy has remained engaged very frequently and regularly with the people of Bangladesh, especially the youth, via our social media and other online platforms. I am happy to report that our audience has constantly shown a keen interest to learn more about our country!
Now, I am also extremely pleased to inform you that we recently revamped the Swiss Corner at the Bangladesh National Museum and I would like to invite you to visit this “small piece of Switzerland” once the museum reopens. I really hope that you will enjoy your visit. I am certain that this Swiss Corner will give you a good idea about what my country stands for: a dynamic, prosperous and liberal society that thrives on innovation and an active player in global affairs, committed to social and environmental responsibilities. If you are in rush and cannot wait to know more about Switzerland, please scan the QR code below to watch a video featuring some of our colleagues from the Embassy. Together, we are proud to introduce our Switzerland to you.
This year is very special for Bangladesh and its people. Not only is the country celebrating its 50th anniversary, it is also well on course for its LDC graduation in 2026. Over the last five decades, Switzerland has been a reliable partner of Bangladesh in development and economic progress and we remain committed to the country’s journey towards a stable, just and prosperous future that leaves no one behind. It is also our intention to strengthen our collaboration in multilateral fora. Switzerland is candidate for a seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2023-2024. This will be a great opportunity to work together for global peace and security.
To our Bangladeshi friends and to my fellow Swiss compatriots living in this wonderful country, I want to offer my warm greetings and I wish you, your family and your friends, a happy Swiss National Day! Stay healthy and stay safe!
Nathalie Chuard Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh