On March 3, 2002, the Swiss people and cantons accepted an initiative calling for Switzerland to join the United Nations and thus committed itself to the UN Charter. A little more than 20 years later, the Swiss Mission in New York commemorated this historic date by inviting the diplomatic community to celebrate this important chapter of Swiss direct democracy. The event was held in the Boathouse in Central Park, decorated for the occasion with beautiful light installations by artist Katja Loher, illustrating what Switzerland can bring to the United Nations.
Searching for Peace and a generational dialogue
The evening was opened by "Search for peace", a jazz classic performed by Head of Mission Pascale Baeriswyl on the saxophone and accompanied by Eliane Amherd and her band. The band performed several other songs dedicated to peace during the evening. Ambassador Frank Grütter, Head of the FDFA UN Division, gave a speech tracing back Switzerland's commitment to the UN and the role of democracy in this field. He notably recalled that, by saying yes to the UN, Switzerland had committed itself to defending the principles of the UN Charter and multilateralism. The guests were asked to cast a symbolic ballot on the the areas of collaborations with Switzerland in the next 20 years. Another highlight of the evening was a dialogue between generations. It brought together former president of the Swiss confederation Joseph Deiss, who led the successful voting campaign in 2002 before becoming President of the UN General Assembly in 2010, and the Swiss youth delegate to the UN, Yasemin Amorim-Esenli, who advocated for a more sustainable development of the planet. Together, they highlighted the fact that the inclusion of youth in the UN was essential to revitalize the multilateral system and meet the many challenges we face today, including climate change.