FDFA Consular Directorate awarded Multilingualism Seal

Press releases, 10.11.2023

On 10 November 2023, the FDFA's Consular Directorate was awarded the Multilingualism Seal in Bern at a ceremony attended by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis. The award, conferred by the FORUM for Bilingualism foundation in Biel/Bienne, certifies the FDFA's commitment to multilingualism and the harmonious coexistence of Switzerland's different cultural and linguistic communities. The long-standing commitment of the FDFA and its head to multilingualism has produced positive results.

FORUM president René Graf today presented Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis with the Multilingualism Seal for the FDFA's Consular Directorate. A thorough review over several months showed that the Consular Directorate had fulfilled the requirements for the seal of approval: its staff demonstrated that they actively use Switzerland's three official languages and promote respect for and the peaceful coexistence of the country's cultural and linguistic communities. The Consular Directorate has 58 employees, 65% of whom are German speakers, 22% French speakers and 11% Italian speakers. FORUM's analysis rated the communication services provided by the Consular Directorate as excellent, with documents and information published in all three official languages, in addition to English and even in other languages such as Spanish.

«This is the first FDFA directorate to receive this award. I take great pride in this. Promoting Switzerland's cultural and linguistic diversity is a key priority for me, not least because it is thanks to the unremitting efforts to foster intercultural understanding that our nation over the centuries has been able to bolster our capacity for dialogue and the search for compromise,» noted Cassis. The head of the FDFA thanked the Consular Directorate's staff for the work they do every day for the benefit of Swiss citizens, in all official languages and in every corner of the world.

One-stop shop for the Swiss abroad

The Consular Directorate provides support to Swiss citizens abroad in a variety of areas: it provides administrative services to some 800,000 Swiss citizens living abroad and assistance for Swiss tourists and business travellers around the world. It also serves as the official point of contact for Swiss associations and clubs worldwide and provides useful information for Swiss citizens planning to relocate abroad or move back to Switzerland. Consular services have faced new challenges in recent decades as people have become more mobile. The more than 16 million trips abroad undertaken by Swiss tourists each year are just one example of this. This is also why the FDFA Helpline is on hand around the clock. «This year we are celebrating the 225th anniversary of the opening of our first consulate. The world and technology are undergoing rapid change, but the human factor is just as much at the centre of our work as it ever was,» said David Grichting, head of the Consular Directorate.

FDFA's commitment to multilingualism

Multilingualism, the promotion of minority languages, equitable representation of the four language communities and intercultural dialogue are core values in an internationally active department such as the FDFA. 'Equal opportunities in the workplace: FDFA Action Plan 2028' is specifically aimed at strengthening this plurality, with positive results so far. For example, in the last few years, the proportion of Italian speakers on the payroll has increased and the number of staff taking Italian courses has doubled at the FDFA. Furthermore, three years ago the FDFA launched the Piccolo Erasmus project, aimed at promoting exchanges between its employees and those of the cantonal administrations of Ticino and Graubünden. Swiss plurality is also constantly promoted abroad through the extensive network of external representations, for example, on the occasion of the Weeks dedicated to the different national languages.

Further information:

The Consular Directorate
Travel Admin App
SwissInTouch App
Address by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis

Address for enquiries:

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


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs