The Club Suisse de Monaco together with the Consulate General of Switzerland hosted a conference to discuss the history of Swiss neutrality and future perspectives.
Numerous guests met at the Fairmont Hotel to discuss Switzerland’s role in conflict situations and the history and future prospects for neutrality.
Drawing on his own experiences and Switzerland’s role as host to international diplomacy, institutions and peacemaking, Alexandre Liebeskind explored this topic at the talk organised by Club Suisse de Monaco on Wednesday, May 17.
Mr Arik Röschke, President of Club Suisse de Monaco, welcomed the participants and introduced Alexandre Liebeskind and his impressive background: Swiss citizen and graduate of the Institute of International Relations in Geneva, he spent his early career at Paribas Bank before joining the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1997. He undertook assignments in many countries, including Darfur from 2004 to 2006. He then coordinated Horn of Africa operations in Geneva and served as secretary of the committee.
Mr Liebeskind joined the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) in Nairobi in 2013 leading peacemaking efforts in Francophone Africa as regional director since 2015. From 2010 to 2019, he was an elected board member of the Médecins Sans Frontières operational centre in Brussels and was appointed vice-president of the organisation in 2015.
Originally imposed after Napoleon’s wars, Switzerland’s neutrality evolved as the country realised it had more to contribute to humanity by acting as an impartial intermediary than by joining wars. But the very notion of neutrality is challenged whenever global powers deem they are leading just wars, and now, with the conflict in Ukraine polarising world powers, neutrality is seen as veiled sympathy for Russia by NATO and its allies.
As the conflict comes closer to home, neutrality is again being challenged within Switzerland itself. Some consider it cowardice. Others see it as vital – or contrary – to the nation’s interest.
Alexandre Liebeskind stressed the importance of keeping dialogue open in order to be able to resolve conflicts.
The highly interesting and interactive discussion, where participants took the opportunity to ask questions, was followed by a dinner at the Fairmont Hotel, during which the exchange with Mr Liebeskind was further deepened. Among others, the Swiss Consul General of Switzerland, Andreas Maager, and the Consul of Switzerland, Jacqueline Graf, were present.
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) works to prevent and resolve armed conflict through mediation and discreet diplomacy. An impartial and independent non-profit organisation based in Geneva, HD runs peacemaking projects in more than 80 percent of the world’s violent conflicts.
Since 1999, HD has built global reach, multi-track methods and extensive networks to operate beyond the constraints of traditional diplomacy and engage all parties in pursuit of peace.
The Club Suisse de Monaco was founded in 1949, being one of the oldest Associations in the Principality. Its aim is to maintain social and cultural relations between Swiss and Monegasque people, as well as other nationals living in or visiting Monaco. By organising informative events in the fields of economics, politics and health with high-level personalities, the Club wishes to promote exchanges providing a showcase of Swiss know-how and values.
Please visit Club Suisse de Monaco’s website for all the updates about upcoming, exciting events: www.club-suisse-monaco.com
PHOTO: Alexandre Liebeskind (taken by Maciej Wdowiak)