Delicious Graubünden specialities kick off third edition of Romansh Language Week
Today sees the start of the third international Romansh Language Week ('Emna rumantscha'), an initiative promoted by the FDFA in cooperation with the canton of Graubünden and the Lia Rumantscha. This year's scheduled events include a cookery workshop in Bern, a themed evening in London and language courses in New York. The aim is to raise awareness abroad of multilingual Switzerland.
Swiss representations have also taken steps to promote knowledge of the Romansh language and culture in their respective countries. © FDFA
From Bern to the Swiss representations around the world: the annual rendez-vous with Romansh Language Week is an opportunity for the FDFA to make our country's linguistic diversity known abroad. On 20 February 2023, at 9 o'clock in the morning, representatives of the Swiss embassies in Italy, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, as well as the ambassadors of Spain and Austria in Switzerland, arrive in Rüfenacht, a stone's throw from Berne. Andreas Baselgia, chef from Graubünden, welcomes them. They are all wearing aprons bearing the words “Emna rumantscha". Flour and potatoes are laid out on the kitchen counter. The recipes of the day: Maluns, Pizokels and Capuns.
In the kitchen in Bern, bringing Romansh culture to the world
"In 2022, the two school classes from Savognin and Scuol that I met in Bern shared with me a lot of ideas on how to promote their language and culture. They proved that our linguistic diversity gives rise to innovative ideas: and this year we wanted to develop one of those ideas in particular, together with our Swiss representations abroad," explains Cassis. The idea of a cookery workshop, organised in cooperation with the canton of Graubünden and the Lia Rumantscha, was the starting point for this third edition, in Switzerland and around the world.
Representatives of the Swiss embassies in Italy, France, Belgium and the UK, as well as the ambassadors of Spain and Austria in Switzerland, accepted the invitation to participate in the cookery workshop, run by Graubünden chef Andreas Baselgia. The aim: to discover more about Romansh culture, and then take that knowledge back to their own representations and countries. «“Participating in the Emna rumantscha has allowed me to unveil the flavours of our childhood in Romansh-speaking Switzerland and to spread my language and culture beyond our borders," said Andreas Baselgia. In addition to Mr Cassis and Mr Candinas, the event also included Jon Domenic Parolini, state councillor of the canton of Graubünden.
The Swiss embassy in the UK will waste no time in putting what it has learned into practice at a Romansh evening to be held in London during Wales Week on 27 February. “With traditional dishes and information about the Romansh world, the embassy will link Swiss linguistic diversity to the preservation of the cultural heritage of Wales in the UK” explains Alexandra Müller-Crepon, Head of Cultural Affairs at the Swiss Mission in London.
Learning Romansh in New York
Other Swiss representations have also taken steps to promote knowledge of the Romansh language and culture in their respective countries, in particular through events and digital content. The Swiss consulate general in New York is organising the first Romansh course in the city's history. The course with Chasper Pult will take place in a Brooklyn gallery where locals and others who are interested can learn more about the language and sample specialities from Switzerland. The consulate is also rerunning a series of 'crash-course in Romansh' videos made in iconic New York locations, including the subway, Times Square, Wall Street and the UN headquarters.
The FDFA and multilingualism
Romansh Language Week is part of a series of events – in addition to Multilingualism Week and the activities organised during the Italian, French and German language weeks – which underline the importance of multilingualism for national cohesion, but also for opening up to the outside world. Switzerland's linguistic diversity is indeed a characteristic of the country that is appreciated around the world.
As part of the Emna Rumantscha, more than 130 FDFA employees from all over the world will attend a course entitled "Il moviment rumantsch", given by Giuanna Caviezel, who is responsible for translations into Romansh for the Federal Administration. The FDFA has also translated some of the content of the travelling exhibition "Rumantsch è", which was initiated by the canton of Graubünden in collaboration with the Lia Rumantscha. The FDFA also provided Swiss representations abroad with six thematic panels on the Romansh language and culture.