Acceptance speech by Swiss Ambassador, Mr. Stéphane Rey at the Diplomat of the Year Awards Ceremony 2024

Diese Seite ist nicht auf Deutsch übersetzt. Bitte wählen Sie Ihre bevorzugte Sprache aus:

Position, 25.03.2024

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am deeply humbled and honoured to stand before you today as the recipient of the Diplomat of the Year Award. 

To be recognised among such distinguished colleagues is a true privilege. Much more than just a testament to my efforts, this recognition is a celebration of my team, here present. But I should like to see it more as a tribute to diplomacy itself—a craft that often operates in the shadows, where its impact may be profound but its practitioners remain largely unseen.

Diplomacy, at its essence, is the art of serving without seeking recognition. And we Swiss people have particular difficulty with individual recognition. Diplomacy is about advancing the interests of one's country while striving for peace and understanding in a world often fraught with discord. It's about navigating through complex webs of international relations, negotiating with grace, and mediating crises with empathy.

Yet, as we gather here tonight to celebrate diplomacy, I can't help but reflect on the irony of being honoured for a role that demands invisibility. Diplomats, by nature, are meant to blend into the background, to be working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the smooth functioning of our interconnected world.

In an ideal world, the best diplomat would be the one you never hear about—a silent force for good, a conduit for dialogue, and a catalyst for cooperation. When you read about one, it is usually because he or she has been thrown under the bus. And while I am deeply grateful for this recognition, I cannot help but question the necessity of shining a spotlight on a profession that thrives in the shadows.

However, in acknowledging this award, I am reminded of the importance of diplomacy in an increasingly volatile world. Now more than ever, we need skilled diplomats who are committed to the principles of peace, dialogue, and understanding. We need individuals who are willing to work tirelessly behind the scenes, bridging divides, and building bridges of cooperation.

So, while I stand before you tonight as the "Diplomat of the Year," I do so with a sense of humility and a profound awareness of the challenges that lie ahead. Let us use this moment not to celebrate individual achievements, but to reaffirm our collective commitment to the principles of diplomacy and to the pursuit of a more just, peaceful, and harmonious world. It is in this spirit that I will continue to offer my services to my beautiful host country, Zimbabwe.

Thank you once again for this honour. May we all continue to serve and disappear, working quietly and diligently towards a brighter future for generations to come.

Thank you.