The FDFA opens its doors for National Future Day

Bern, 10.11.2022 - On National Future Day at the FDFA's head office in Bern, 80 children got the chance to visit the Federal Council chamber and step into the shoes of the people who implement Switzerland's foreign affairs.

On 11 November 2022, cheerful voices echoed through the corridors of the FDFA's offices in Bern as 80 young people accompanied a parent, relative or acquaintance to their workplace to get a taste of what it is like to work in foreign affairs for the Swiss Confederation. They were welcomed by Secretary General Markus Seiler. A meeting was arranged with President Ignazio Cassis at the Federal Council chamber in the early afternoon. The head of the FDFA had already met some of the participants in the corridors of the Federal Palace. "I knew it was going to be an exciting day when I saw Ignazio Cassis leave the Federal Council session this morning", said ten-year-old Ella.

The young people spent the morning getting acquainted with the work of the Swiss foreign ministry in five workshops organised by different FDFA divisions. The workshops were full of interesting experiences for the children: "Now I know what my mother does while I am at school," said Selana (12) after the workshop at the Communication Division. "I have seen a lot of cool things and have been looking forward to the tour of the Federal Palace", said Sofia (11). They also learned about the different ways in which the FDFA communicates with the Swiss public.

Do they think it's just mountains, snow and chocolate?

What do people in other countries know about Switzerland? How do they see Switzerland? Do they think it's just mountains, snow and chocolate? At the Presence Switzerland workshop, the young participants learned the answers to these questions and found out about the world expos, the House of Switzerland at Olympic Games, visits by foreign journalists and experts, and about social media and communication.

What to pack?

At Swiss Humanitarian Aid, the children learned how Switzerland helps out in humanitarian situations around the world. Using the recent floods in Pakistan as a concrete example, the children saw what humanitarian aid looks like in action. But what would you need to pack if you were joining a humanitarian operation? In the game 'What to pack?' the young participants packed their own backpack in the Whitebox, Swiss Humanitarian Aid's storage room for humanitarian equipment. They also tested the satellite phones which are used in areas where telecommunications infrastructure has been destroyed or is non-existent, and tried to set up a connection.

Eating insects, and a hazel tree for sustainable development

At the workshop run by Global Cooperation at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the children got to know the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. They discussed the impact of our food consumption on our climate, health and the environment, for example meat and alternatives to eating meat. The children also had the chance to sample insects from a Swiss company.

Later, they learned what the SDC is doing in the areas of climate change, water and forests. Then they planted a hazel tree in the corridor of the SDC building. The SDC will send them updates on how their tree is doing, and they received a packet of Swiss organic popcorn as a thank you.

Disassembling computers and x-raying parcels

The workshop at the Directorate for Resources presented the FDFA's apprenticeship programmes and the work of the IT, logistics, mediamatics and commercial apprentices. With the business school apprentices, the children learned how to edit a PowerPoint presentation, at FDFA IT they saw how to disassemble a computer and with the Courier service how to X-ray parcels. The mediamatics technicians showed them video productions. These were just some of the many practical and interactive experiences prepared by FDFA apprentices to give the children an insight into their work.

Insight into opportunities and issues in the world of work

National Future Day at the FDFA is organised every year by FDFA Equal Opportunities. The aim is to help the children think about what they would like to do when they leave school. They learn about opportunities and issues relating to the world of work and get an insight into what it is like to work at the FDFA. Elina's verdict: "I learned a lot today and discovered a few places here that I didn't know about".

This press release was prepared in the FDFA Communication workshop with the active participation of Margherita, Charlotte, Mia, Sofia, Julia, Daniel, Ella, Nora, Kasimir, Elina, Siméon, Livio, Dalia, Johanna, Selena and Claire.

Address for enquiries

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs