‘Good offices: A Swiss specialty’
Updated on 07 August 2022
Lecture by Swiss Minister in Malta is livestreamed for DiploFoundation participants worldwide
Safeguarding foreign interests, and mediation and facilitation, are two types of good offices offered by Switzerland. Both types are about bridge-building, and reflect the Swiss ‘specialty’ in contributing to peace and security.
Good offices and Switzerland’s role in international relations was the subject of a lecture delivered by Swiss Minister Didier Burkhalter during his visit to Malta on 9 March 2016. The lecture, held at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, was livestreamed online for DiploFoundation’s alumni, and participants who are currently attending online courses worldwide.
Minister Burkhalter outlined the main features and success factors of the Swiss policy on good offices. ‘As a multi-ethnic country with four national languages, Switzerland has relied on dialogue and compromise to ensure its domestic cohesion for centuries.’ Trust, impartiality, and credibility are essential elements.
Referring to the new foreign policy strategy which the country has adopted for the next four years, the minister explained that the Swiss contributions to peace and security remain a cornerstone of this strategy.
With a dose of realism, the minister added that resolving today’s complex crises is exceedingly difficult. ‘There are limits to what we can accomplish from outside, which is why we should be guided by a spirit of humility in this regard. But our efforts should also be characterized by perseverance and stamina. No conflict is unresolvable, and Switzerland remains committed to advancing peace and security – both in the Mediterranean region and elsewhere.’
More than 60 alumni and participants who are currently attending an online course with DiploFoundation engaged in an online discussion following the minister’s lecture.