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Paediatrician becomes Swiss of the Year

Dr Beat Richner in front of his children's hospital in Cambodia

(Keystone Archive)

The Swiss paediatrician and musician, Dr Beat Richner, has been crowned "Swiss of the Year".

On Saturday night, the inaugural "Swiss Awards" were given to seven outstanding Swiss personalities.

Richner, who also works as a musician under the name "Beatocello", was one of 18 nominees and received 21.3 per cent of the television audience's votes.

The 56-year-old spends much of his time in Cambodia, where he set up three hospitals which offer free treatment to sick children. He mainly finances his projects through his work as a cellist.

Swiss Award

The Swiss Award was also handed out in six different categories - politics, economics, culture, sports, entertainment and society.

Ruth Dreifuss, Switzerland's former interior minister, became "politician of the year", Simon Amman, ski jumper and Olympic champion, bagged the award in the sports category and Swiss comedian Viktor Giacobbo was crowned Swiss entertainer of 2002.

Kurt Wüthrich, scientist and Nobel Prize winner, received the award in the society category, the banker Joe Ackermann won the economics category and two architects, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, came top of culture.

The Swiss Award was sponsored by Swiss-German television SF DRS, Swiss-German radio DRS1, the German-language newspaper "Blick", the weekly magazines "Bilanz" and "Schweizer Illustrierte" and SwissLos, an association of cantonal lotteries.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Paediatrician Dr Beat Richner becomes "Swiss of the Year".
Former interior minister Ruth Dreifuss is politician of the year.
The Swiss Awards were handed out for the first time ever.

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