The Democracy Without Borders initiative was launched in 2014 by then Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter. To raise public awareness of SDC projects and key development cooperation issues, the initiative enlisted the help of Swiss celebrities, known as 'project ambassadors', including some 20 former politicians and artists, journalists and entrepreneurs. The Democracy Without Borders initiative was completed on schedule in 2018 four years after it was launched. Through its activities on issues like the promotion of democracy, support for civil society, vocational education and training, and the fight against violence against women, the initiative has enriched the public discourse on Switzerland's cooperation with developing countries.
Ten Democracy Without Borders events have been held, mainly in Switzerland, but also in SDC partner countries. A major highlight of Democracy Without Borders was a concert given by Swiss pop star Bastian Baker with Egyptian musicians in Cairo in 2016 under the banner of cultural exchanges. During his tour of Egypt, Bastian Baker also visited Swiss water projects on the Nile.
Another Democracy Without Borders milestone was a visit by Honduran partner organisations of the SDC to the International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training in Winterthur and to several Swiss industrial enterprises. The Honduran delegation gained insights into the Swiss dual vocational education and training system, which has now been introduced in the Honduran construction and hotel sectors with adjustments to local circumstances. Another highlight was an event organised with the University of Zurich on the possibilities for and limits to the promotion of democracy in developing countries.