«Watch the Swiss», Avenir Suisse’s latest book, is special in three ways. First, it is being published exclusively in English. Second, it has not been written by our staff, but by outsiders from around the world. And third, it does not contain recommendations for reforms, but comprises a series of essays.

Self criticism has a long tradition in Switzerland – just think back to the Switzerland’s slogan at the 1992 Seville Expo «La Suisse n’existe pas» (Switzerland doesn’t exist). Because often, after gazing too extensively at one’s own navel, it’s essential to gain an outsides view,  we wanted to learn what the world thought about our country. What’s special about Switzerland?  Where are its strengths and where are its weaknesses? For «Watch the Swiss», we’ve asked people from all over the world about their opinions on Switzerland.

We’re delighted that, among many others, contributors as diverse as Udo Di Fabio, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Wolfgang Schüssel, Lim Siong Guan, Jonathan Steinberg and Helen Zille agreed to participate. The collection also includes an essay, originally published in 1950, by the Hungarian author Sándor Márai, that is now appearing in English for the first time and is based on his experiences in Switzerland on a journey from home to the US. And to prevent the book from seeming too serious or uncritical, we asked some young artists to enrich it with cartoons.

For us, the book is more than just a gift to our guests from abroad and friends all over the world. That’s why we’re particularly pleased our foreign minister, Didier Burkhalter, has contributed the Foreword.

Reviews of the book: