Roger de Weck will lecture on “Multicultural Identity in Europe: The Swiss Model.”

Switzerland has traditionally been associated with snow-covered mountains, yodelers, cuckoo-clocks and Heidi as a tourist-fantasy of harmony, purity and order. The purpose of this project is to look behind such clichés that depict Switzerland as a complacent island of wellness and stability in a chaotic world and to critically reflect on the Swiss model of multicultural and multilingual identity, neutrality and direct democracy.

Three prominent Swiss guests have been invited discuss the future of the Swiss model, the Swiss relationship with the European Union, and immigration as a challenge and incitement to rethink the model and the question what it means to be Swiss in the 21st century. What is typically Swiss, what makes Switzerland tick and why do so many people fail to understand the fine inner working of this multilingual country: la Suisse, die Schweiz, la Svizzera? During the course of this lecture, these questions will be addressed. To do so, Switzerland’s current state, its past and aspects of its society will be discussed. This brief and comprehensive Tour de Suisse seeks to explain the nature of the Swiss people, the country’s unique political system and, most crucially, the country’s relation with its own past.

Roger de Weck was born in Fribourg in 1953. He is currently chairman of the Board of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges and Warsaw. He worked as the Paris correspondent for various Swiss newspapers before becoming editor-in-chief for the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger and German weekly paper Die Zeit. He still works for German, French and Swiss newspapers as a columnist. He regularly appears on television and anchors the discussion program Sternstunde for the German TV-channel 3Sat.

Reception to follow in German Library.