In a national day address to the Swiss abroad, the Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, has told expatriates about some of the country's domestic and foreign successes, as well as the challenges it faces.This content was published on August 1, 2000 - 14:46
Speaking against a background of church bells in his home town of Kandersteg, Ogi expressed confidence that the Swiss were prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.
He expressed confidence in the future of the country. Switzerland is "evolving; it's moving; it's progressing," he said.
In his message to the more than 500,000 Swiss who live abroad, Ogi said Switzerland had much to be proud of from its past.
"We have enjoyed peace and freedom for more than 150 years. We can also be proud of a century and a half of democracy and federalism. This is much more than a tradition: it is a way of a life, a choice of society, a force for the future and represents modern values.
"Our four cultures, our four language regions, and the 26 cantons are demonstrating every day the will to live together despite our differences, and turn these differences into an asset."
As an example of Switzerland being able to progress, despite internal differences, Ogi cited the clear "yes" vote in May by the Swiss people to the bilateral treaties with the European Union.
"Another example of Switzerland's openness and solidarity is its involvement in the Balkans to try to stabilise the situation and promote peace," he said.
Addressing Swiss expatriates directly, he said: "Whatever the reasons for moving, you have to show creativity, courage, confidence and tenacity to succeed. These are the qualities behind our country's reputation, and I would like to see them as the qualities that unite all Swiss people, whether at home or abroad."
He ended his statement by wishing the Swiss abroad well. "I hope the celebration of our national day is a happy occasion and a time for reflection, and that it strengthens your ties to the home country."
swissinfo with agencies
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