Click below to listen to the speech
Address to the Swiss Abroad 2013 (Audio File)
The President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer
to the Swiss Abroad on 1 August 2013
August 1st, 2013
Dear Swiss Abroad
Today is the first of August. Today is Switzerland’s birthday, and Swiss
nationals – wherever they are living – are celebrating our common
I would like to stress three points that typify the relationship between
Switzerland and yourselves:
Openness to the world, Swiss roots, and the essential role of the home
Switzerland has always been a country that is open to the world, and
the same is true of its citizens.
There is also a long tradition of emigration. In previous centuries people
emigrated to escape from poverty. Many places in North and South
America are still named after their Swiss founders.
Today the wish for new experiences and job openings in Switzerland’s
global business network are the main reasons that prompt Swiss people
to go and live abroad.
This traditional openness to the world has become their personal
lifestyle. They have left Switzerland, perhaps for a short period, perhaps
forever. Switzerland is a long way away in geographical terms but also
sometimes in mental terms.
But this does not mean that they have turned their backs on
Switzerland. They have not forgotten their roots.
I believe this is a strategy for success, for individuals and for the whole
country: Keeping your eyes open, learning new things, exploiting the
chances that arise, but at the same time knowing one’s roots and
preserving one’s roots. Because those who lose or who deny their roots
are giving up on themselves. This brings me to the valuable role played by the home country…
The home country is where we have our roots. Wherever people are living
today, they know that there is a place in the world that will always be
their home. A place. to which they feel attached, and where we are also
attached to them.
This is the essence of the home country. People can come home
whenever they want and they know there will be a welcome for them –
because they are part of our community, our Switzerland.
We have common ideals: Peace, freedom, the rule of law, and direct
democracy. Together we are this country, and this country also includes
the Swiss citizens who live outside our borders.
On behalf of the Federal Council, I send my greetings to all Swiss
citizens everywhere in the world.
Today let us rejoice in the fact that there is a small but free country in
the world that is our home.