Barn owls and art feature on diplomatic corps excursion to the canton of Fribourg

Press release, 27.06.2018

A farm in the Sense district of canton Fribourg and the Espace Jean Tinguely-Niki de Saint Phalle in the town of Fribourg itself were the sites of this year’s excursion for the diplomatic corps. The farm in Bösingen FR was chosen because it is home to barn owls; these much-prized birds of prey are at the heart of a science diplomacy project in the Middle East.

Professor Alexandre Roulin from the University of Lausanne, a leading ornithology expert, spoke to the ambassadors about the advantages of barn owls as biological pest controllers. He also told them about the ‘Barn Owls Know no Boundaries' project, the aim of which is to strengthen scientific dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East. A number of Swiss representations in the region are lending their political and diplomatic support to the project. President Berset cited it as an example of global involvement on the part of Swiss civil society.

In Fribourg, the diplomatic corps also toured the metamechanic artworks created by Jean Tinguely (1925-1991) and the ‘Nana' figures sculpted by Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002). Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) also took part in the excursion. The ambassadors were greeted by representatives from the canton of Fribourg.

The hosts this year are President Berset and his wife Muriel Zeender Berset. The invitation, which is extended to all foreign ambassadors accredited to Switzerland and their partners, is a perennial fixture in the diplomatic calendar.

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