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Ambassador's message
"Swiss Weeks in Seoul" and Others Take Place
Foreign Minister Burkhalter Meets Mr. Kim Sung-Hwan
Mr. Thomas Kupfer, Swiss ambassador to South Korea

Dear Readers!

The month of March brought us two important Swiss highlights to Korea:
- The visit of Federal Councillor (Swiss Foreign Minister) Didier Burkhalter,
Head of Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
- The start of the "Swiss Weeks in Seoul" to launch
the celebrations of 50 Years of diplomatic relations
between Switzerland and the Republic of Korea
and our participation at the Expo 2012 Yeosu

Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter attended the important Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, together with other leaders of 58 countries and international organizations, at invitation of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak.

During his stay, he holds also a bilateral meeting with his Korean counterpart, Mr. Kim Sung-hwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Their discussion gave opportunity to confirm our in 50 years steadily growing partnership and friendship between the two countries.

Mr. Burkhalter, accompanied by his spouse Mrs Friedrun Sabine Burkhalter visited also the DMZ and met with our NNSC-Delegation in Panmunjom and participated also at the "Swiss Weeks in Seoul"where he could also meet the Swiss Community and Business leaders.

I was happy with my spouse Fiorella that Mr. and Mrs Burkhalter found in their very busy schedule also a moment of time to visit the Embassy and meet with the entire Embassy staff. The warm words of recognition for the work all year round to promote Swiss interest in Korea were highly appreciated by the personnel.

The "Swiss Weeks in Seoul" with a big number of events of Swiss Art & Culture, Design, Sustainability as well as Innovation showed to the Seoul people a modern and forward looking Switzerland. The Swiss presence at the Sejong Center, in the heart of Seoul, with "Nights of Sound and Lights," Music and the Swiss Design Exhibition was a very special moment.

The preparations for the opening of Expo 2012 Yeosu on May 12 (until August 12) are at their final stage, and the Swiss Pavilion, organized by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, Presence Switzerland under the theme "The Source. It's in your hands" shall provide all the visitors a unique and interactive Swiss experience.

A major event will be the official Swiss Yeosu Nation Day on May 21 with the participation of an official delegation from Switzerland, headed by the President of the National Council of the Swiss Parliament, Mr. Hansjorg Walter. I hope to see many of you there at the Swiss Pavillon.

Thomas Kupfer, Ambassador of Switzerland

Participation at the events of Swiss Weeks in Seoul

Swiss Counsellor Raoul Imbach (right) performs with others at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul on April 5, 2012.

Federal Councillor Burkhalter took part during his visit in Seoul at the closing night of the "Swiss Nights of Sound & Lights." This event together with a Swiss Design exhibition was presented during four days outside and inside the Sejong Center of Performing Arts and was one of the highlights of the cultural program "Swiss Weeks in Seoul."

After delivering a speech at the VIP reception organized in his honor at the Sejong Center Hall, Mr. Burkhalter and his spouse took a tour of the Swiss Design Exhibition "Design Prize Switzerland 2011." The entertainment on that evening included the performances of the Swiss Jazz group Albin Brun Alpin Ensemble and the Korean Alpinrose Children's Yodel Choir.

Representatives of a Basle Carnival troupe accompanied in full costumes Federal Councillor Burkhalter and the guests to the presentation of the 3D lightshow on the facade of the Sejong Center. This innovative lightshow made especially for Korea served as an introduction to the Seoulites for the themes of the Swiss Pavilion at the Expo 2012 Yeosu which will open next May 12th.

Nuclear Security Summit, Seoul 2012

Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter represented Switzerland at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul (26.-27. March 2012). This mega-event (4,000 delegates from 58 nations and international organizations, 3,700 media representatives, 40,000 security personnel involved) was the follow-up of the Washington Summit of 2010 and addressed the dangers and concrete actions against nuclear terrorism.

The main issues during the Summit were security (malicious acts by non-state actors), safety (natural disasters, technical errors) and safeguards (check possible diversion of nuclear material for military purposes by states).

In his statement to the assembled world leaders, Federal Councillor Burkhalter stressed that nuclear disarmament is a key element in achieving nuclear security and that the ratification of existing international conventions is the best way for states to demonstrate and live up to their commitments concerning nuclear security.

The Nuclear Security Summit was also an excellent occasion to meet other Heads of Delegations or Foreign Ministers present, establish new contacts and discuss numerous pending issues. Federal Councillor Burkhalter used the Summit for a very intensive series of such meetings and met with more than 10 delegations.

Bilateral ministerial meeting with Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Before the Nuclear Security Summit, on Sunday March 25, Federal Councillor (Swiss Foreign Minister) Burkhalter met his Korean counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Kim Sung-Hwan. This meeting was held under special auspices: 50 years of diplomatic relations and our participation at the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea. Our two nations enjoy strong and friendly relations.

There are three main pillars: economy (dynamic development of trade; Free Trade Agreement since 2006), security (NNSC, political engagement to find a peaceful resolution of the conflict on the Korean peninsula) and Science and Technology (bilateral agreement since 2008).

Both sides also welcome the intensification of our political contacts and last year¡¯s resumption of a political dialogue between the two Ministries. Other areas for more intensive co-operation are Green Growth : a partnership of Switzerland with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in Seoul is planned.

Visit to Panmunjom

On Monday March 26, just before the start of the Summit, Federal Councillor Burkhalter and his delegation visited the DMZ and our NNSC delegation in Panmunjom. The Federal Councillor was impressed and noted with concern the current stalemate and almost complete lack of contacts and co-operation between the parties involved. He highly appreciated the work and engagement of the NNSC, in particular also of the Swiss delegation, led by Major General Urs Gerber.

The UNCMAC (United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission) representatives from the USA and the Republic of Korea expressed to the Federal Councillor their gratitude for the strong commitment, independence and positive role that NNSC plays for the armistice on the Korean peninsula.

In 2013 we will celebrate 60 years of our presence in the NNSC. More than 1,000 Swiss military officers have served in Panmunjom during this period.

Concert Francophonie at the Sookmyung Women’s University

Laurent Brunetti & Mario Pacchioli

Every year around March 20 the French language is celebrated by the Francophonie in the world. This year in Korea the Embassy of Switzerland invited a Swiss French Duo “Laurent Brunetti & Mario Pacchioli” for two concerts in Sookmyung Women University on April 5 and in Busan Lotte Concert Hall on the 6. Theduo impressed the public not only with their interpretation of famous French standards by Piaf, Brel, Becaud etc. but with some beautiful original compositions. As opening group “Raoul & the Xpats” offered the audience a very colorful and lively show. Mr. Raoul Imbach, Cultural Counsellor showed once more his talents as a singer and songwriter in addition to his daily skills to organized and promote Swiss Culture in Korea.
Extracts of the Busan concert can be found on You Tube link:
Part 1 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS16XRQbBmU
Part 2 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvHq3PsC3ZY


Symposium on Drivers of Green Innovation and
Entrepreneurship at SKKU

In the context of the Swiss Weeks in Seoul, a symposium was held on April 3 at Sungkyunkwan University(SKKU). The symposium focused on Drivers of Green Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Korean and Swiss Initiatives in the New World of Business“ and was co-organized with the School of Management and Law, ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Sciences), represented by its Dean Prof. Andre Haelg.

The purpose of the symposium was to raise the awareness of students on the subject of green innovation and sustainability but also motivate them to become drivers of green innovation themselves. Two leading experts in the field, Dr. Syn Mijoo of Samsung and Mr. Nick Beglinger, President of Swisscleantech held presentations and were able to demonstrate how green innovation is fostered and implemented in today’s business world. A lively group discussion followed.

Through an ideas competition, students of SKKU had the opportunity to present their ideas on green innovation and show their vision on how to make life at SKKU greener. The ideas presented were not only innovative but often simple in their implementation and hugely effective. The winners of the contest were invited on a study trip to Switzerland.

On May 15, a correspondent symposium will be held in Winterthur at the School of Management ZHAW with prominent speakers (Gerold Buhrer, President Economiesuisse, Martin Dahinden, SDC Director, Dong-Ok Cha, Vice-president of SKKU) and also Kim Il-Jong, Ambassador of Republic of Korea in Switzerland.

Opening of “Switzerland in SongEun ArtSpace

On February 17 “Switzerland in SongEun” was inaugurated with the young Swiss Artists exhibition “Reflections from Nature: Collection cahiers d’artistes”. From February 17 until April 22 the SongEun ArtSpace welcomes a series of Swiss cultural events in the fields of Art, Dance, Music, Architecture & Design, Gastronomy & Children’s program.

The Exhibition was also the first event of a larger program of Presence Switzerland called “Swiss Weeks in Seoul” meant to give Seoul citizen the opportunity to discover a few known and lesser known facets of Switzerland ahead of the Swiss participation at the Expo 2012 Yeosu, Korea.

Swiss Pavilion at the Expo 2012 in Yeosu

The World Expo with the theme 'The Living Ocean and Coast' will be held from 12 May to 12 August 2012 in the South Korean coastal city of Yeosu. The exposition site is situated in an old harbour basin in Yeosu.

The Expo 2012 fits in well with South Korea's efforts to increase its international profile in the area of sustainability with the organisers expecting around 8 million visitors, of who 500,000 will come from abroad.

The Swiss presence in South Korea will be taking the form of a Swiss Pavilion on the theme 'The Source'. Visitors to the Swiss Pavilion at the World Expo 2012 can look forward to an entertaining voyage of discovery with interactive and informative elements on the theme of water. The Swiss presence will focus on interdependence, offer food for thought and show solutions for a better, healthier and more sustainable future. A major event will be the official Swiss Yeosu Nation Day on May 21.

Joint Committee Meeting on the Korea-EFTA Free Trade Agreement

On March 13-14 the third Joint Committee Meeting on the Korea-EFTA Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Seoul. The EFTA delegation comprised representatives from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and the EFTA Secretariat and was led by Ambassador Didier Chambovey, (Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs). The Korean delegation was led Mr. Lee Yun-young, Director General for FTA Negotiations, MOFAT. The Joint Committee reviewed the status in several fields, especially customs and origin matters, trade in goods, trade in services and government procurement. Both sides agreed on the positive impact of the FTA on bilateral trade and economic co-operation. The potential for a further expansion and deepening of trade and economic relations between Korea and EFTA is there and EFTA can be nefit from the long experience and good relations with Korea as we are free trade partners for more than five years.

Swiss Education Fair 2012

On February 25, a Swiss Education Fair was held for the first time in Korea (D Cube city, Seoul), organized by SBH Korea, under the motto “The Excellence in Hotel Management & Private Boarding Schools”. A total of 14 Swiss or Switzerland based Schools (Hotel schools, boarding school and a University) participated in the event. The well attended event successfully promoted Swiss education by underscoring Switzerland’s outstanding qualities in terms of education.

NNSC change of command

On February 22 the change of Command of the Head of the Swiss Delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) took place at the Yongsan Army base.
After more than four years of dedicated services to the NNSC, Maj. General Jean-Jacques Joss relinquished his command to Maj. General Urs Gerber during a ceremony high in colors and emotions. Maj. General Joss will be missed in Korea but will remain in close contact with the country as he has been named President of the Swiss-Korean Association in Switzerland. We wish Maj. Gen. Joss, his spouse Christine and their Korea born daughter Noel all the Best in Switzerland and welcome Maj. Gen. Gerber in his new position.

For details or inquiries contact Swiss Embassy in Seoul at 739-9511 or visit its website at
http://www.eda.admin.ch/seoul




 

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