National Future Day at the FDFA: Carpets in the Federal Palace, mobile-phone free Federal Council Chamber, and a Federal Councillor with time for visitors

Press release, 08.11.2018

To mark National Future Day 2018, a group of some 80 children and young people spent a day at the workplace of their parents or relatives, getting a glimpse behind the scenes at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. They met Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis who showed them the room where the Federal Council holds its meetings and explained how the Federal Council works. That mobile phones are not allowed in the Federal Council Chamber surprised quite a number of the young visitors.

Around 80 children pose for a group photo. In the middle is Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis.
The Future Day gives children the opportunity to experience everyday working life at the FDFA first-hand. © FDFA

A Federal Councillor who is "not so serious"; a Federal Council aeroplane that transports relief equipment for people in need in Indonesia; the Federal Palace, whose interior is furnished in a more modern style than its exterior would lead one to expect; countries that work together to solve global problems, and texts that are instantly transmitted around the world via the internet: The impressions created by National Future Day at the FDFA among the approximately 80 sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, and friends of FDFA employees were manifold. With National Future Day, the FDFA aims to give young people an idea of the possibilities and variety offered by working life in general and those at the FDFA in particular. "I was impressed by all the languages that the people speak here," Stella remarked, while Marie found the atmosphere among parents and their colleagues especially friendly. Thomas was impressed by the time "that Mr Cassis took to meet and talk to us". After the day at the FDFA, Arris was keen "to become a federal councillor or president even though they work from 7 in the morning to 11 o'clock at night. "

These impressions were compiled for this press release by the 18 young people who took part in the workshop organised by the FDFA information service. The Section for Equal Opportunities and Global Gender and Women's Issues of the FDFA, which designed the programme for the children and young people, also organised workshops in other areas of the department.

- At the workshop organised by Swiss Humanitarian Aid (SHA), which is part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the participants were shown how Switzerland helps people in need, for example with rebuilding their livelihoods following a natural disaster. "We found it very interesting to find out how the materials that the people of Nepal needed after the earthquake in 2015 were provided. They distributed the materials to each family in need and saved a lot of people," said Maya, Virgile, Elise, Meliha, Anna Léa and Nathan when describing their impressions. In addition, they learnt how a rapid response team operates and about the kind of clothing that SHA workers wear. 
- In its workshop, the Directorate of Resources explained to the young people what apprenticeships could be done at the FDFA, the working day of an IT apprentice, diplomatic passports and why it is necessary to X-ray packages.
- At the Presence Switzerland workshop they explored the question of what people in other countries know about Switzerland and the approach Switzerland takes to presenting itself abroad. Simona, Mia, Emily, Cristina and Clarissa learned that "Switzerland is not just about cheese, chocolate, watches and mountains". And Gabriele, Naim, Cristian, Laila, Elena and Kajsa found out that "Switzerland always participates in the Olympic Games".

The following group of young people contributed to this press release:   Lea, Thomas, Arris, Alicia, Alena, Vanja, Hanae, Rahel, Lina A., Lina B., Igor, Marie, Delina, Laureta, Marjeta, Hannah, Stella, Tobias sowie Simona, Mia, Emily, Cristina, Clarissa, Inès, Tejal, Basile, Eléa, Gabriele, Naïm, Cristian, Laila, Elena, Kajsa, Maya, Virgile, Elise, Meliha, Anna Léa and Nathan.

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Information
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs