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Switzerland or Swaziland?

The comic will be available in Swiss embassies around the world swissinfo.ch

Switzerland has launched a new information campaign to make teenagers abroad more aware of what Switzerland is all about.

This content was published on July 28, 2002 - 10:57

The information campaign - which is costing around SFr450,000 ($310,000) - takes the form of a comic book printed in 13 different languages and destined for distribution to Swiss embassies all over the world.

"We communicate basic information about Switzerland and our target group for this comic is young people worldwide. We want to attract their interest," Peter Fankhauser, the information officer of Presence Switzerland, the body charged with promoting the country abroad, told swissinfo.

Pretty alien

The comic's main character is a pretty female alien whose travels across Switzerland are designed to provide young people aged between ten and 20 years old with more information about the Swiss and their country.

"About 60 per cent of the global population has no idea about Switzerland. People often mix it up with Sweden or Swaziland," Fankhauser explained.

The comic, with illustrations by the Swiss cartoonist Franz Zumstein, will be available in Swiss embassies and two-thirds of the 150 consulates have already put in their orders.

Saving the future

The book tells the unusual tale of an alien who travels to Switzerland in the year 3000 in order to save the country's future. The female traveller visits Zurich, Geneva, the Jura region and Ticino.

"Young people are always interested in the future, and time as a theme was ... a perfect link to Switzerland itself and its knowledge," Fankhauser told swissinfo.

By adding four travelling companions, who speak the four national languages - German, French, Italian and Romansch - to the story, it is hoped the young readers will learn more about Switzerland's linguistic jungle.

by Billi Bierling and Scott Capper

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