Chief diplomat: Alexandre Fasel appointed as next FDFA state secretary
At its meeting on 28 June 2023, the Federal Council appointed Ambassador Alexandre Fasel as the next state secretary of the FDFA. The former Swiss ambassador to the United Kingdom, whose most recent post was that of special representative for science diplomacy in Geneva, succeeds Livia Leu at the helm of the State Secretariat. Fasel will take up his new post on 1 September 2023. Leu will move to Berlin to serve as the next Swiss ambassador to Germany.
Alexandre Fasel, currently special representative for science diplomacy in International Geneva, will become the next FDFA state secretary. © Federal Chancellery
He served in Ottawa and Canberra. He headed Switzerland's Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and to the other international organisations in Geneva. He has served as deputy state secretary in Bern, Swiss ambassador in London (from 2017), and special representative for science diplomacy in International Geneva (since 2021). After a stint in the private sector, Fasel will return to the FDFA head office in Bern in the late summer of 2023.
The Federal Council appointed Alexandre Fasel as state secretary of the FDFA on 28 June 2023. The native of Fribourg will head the State Secretariat from 1 September 2023. "In taking up the key post of state secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr Fasel will head and be responsible for the State Secretariat in Bern as well as Switzerland's external network with its 170 representations," said Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at a press conference on 28 June 2023 to introduce Fasel and announce the appointment. Fasel's experience, expertise and the relationships based on trust he established through cooperation in science diplomacy were decisive factors in his selection for the post of state secretary, noted Cassis.
As state secretary, Fasel will advise the head of the FDFA on all foreign policy issues. In addition to heading the FDFA's State Secretariat and external network, he will also be responsible for implementing the Federal Council's Foreign Policy Strategy.
The state secretary's remit also includes supporting the head of the FDFA in domestic policy matters and in working with Parliament and the cantons. This applies in particular to international issues with domestic implications such as Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, relations with the EU, work in the UN Security Council and international crisis management.
Alexandre Fasel joined the FDFA in 1992 after studying law at the universities of Fribourg and Oxford. The international community is in the midst of geopolitical upheaval that is making it very difficult to find a common denominator and a common will, and to agree on a course of action, noted Fasel. "This search for convergence is in fact precisely what is a matter of routine for us in Switzerland, with our constant wrangling to achieve domestic consensus," said the newly appointed secretary of state. "Our political culture allows us to position ourselves well and to play a positive role in the concert of nations."