Swiss diplomats gather in Andermatt

Press releases, 21.06.2024

Central Switzerland has been at the centre of diplomacy this past week: after the Summit on Peace in Ukraine in the canton of Nidwalden, over 200 representatives of Swiss diplomacy met in the canton of Uri from 17 to 20 June 2024 for the annual Ambassadors' Conference. The aim of this year's conference was to discuss the challenges of Switzerland's current foreign policy and strengthen its coherence and the concrete use of diplomacy.

Once a year, the heads of nearly 170 Swiss representations abroad meet in Switzerland to discuss the current foreign policy challenges facing diplomacy in a rapidly changing world. The Ambassadors' Conference, organised by the FDFA, also provides an opportunity to meet the members of the Federal Council and assess foreign and domestic policy priorities.

By selecting Andermatt as the venue for this event, FDFA head Ignazio Cassis aimed to highlight the significance of a location in the heart of the Alps that has served as a hub for exchange and mobility in Europe for centuries. "This conference not only enables the exchange of knowledge and experience between ambassadors, but also brings the work of diplomacy closer to the population," explained Cassis. The event, which has been held in various locations since its first edition in 1887, highlights the diversity that characterises Switzerland. During the retreat in the canton of Uri, participants also had the chance to meet with cantonal and communal authorities. On Thursday, they spent the day with President of the Confederation Viola Amherd on a multi-stage tour which started at the Sasso San Gottardo Museum, where they were welcomed by authorities from the cantons of Ticino and Uri, and concluded in Brig, in Ms Amherd's home canton of Valais.

A retreat to ensure foreign policy coherence

The timing of this meeting, immediately following the Summit on Peace in Ukraine, symbolises the challenges that the current geopolitical landscape presents for Swiss foreign policy. "The new Foreign Policy Strategy 2024–27, adopted by the Federal Council earlier this year, acts as a guiding framework for the entire FDFA to navigate a reality in which advancing Switzerland's interests has become more challenging. Engaging with the heads of mission also enables us to assess the alignment between the priorities outlined in our strategy and the on-the-ground realities and ongoing developments," explains Ambassador Alexandra Baumann, head of the FDFA's Prosperity and Sustainability Division and responsible for organising the conference.

Regional workshops and thematic sessions encouraged reflection and the sharing of knowledge and experience among participants. Various topics were addressed, such as peace and security, well-being and competitiveness, innovation, democracy and governance, and scientific diplomacy. Also on the agenda was the current state of the federal government's financial resources, a factor the FDFA must consider in its daily operations. Nevertheless, innovative strategies and instruments, such as science diplomacy and the role of ambassadors-at-large in specific regions, enable the FDFA to effectively implement foreign policy, even with limited resources.

Further information:

Foreign Policy Strategy 2024–27

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs