The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is the centre of expertise on all matters concerning Swiss citizens living abroad. It s a politically and religiously neutral, independent, non-government organisation.
It was founded in 1916 by the New Helvetic Society. In 1918 the first Conference for the Swiss Abroad was held during the Basel Trade Fair. In 1919 a permanent secretariat was established in Geneva. In 1923 it moved to Fribourg and then in 1928 to Bern where it is located at 26 Alpenstrasse since 1957.
The Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) is the legislative body of the OSA. Day-to-day business is handled by the Executive Board and the Secretariat.
The OSA works in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, Switzerland Tourism and is supported by some 750 Swiss expatriates’ associations and Swiss institutions all over the world.
The OSA cooperates closely with the federal, cantonal and communal authorities. The FDFA has concluded a service-level agreement with the OSA in which the OSA's tasks are defined on the basis of the ‘Swiss Abroad Act‘. The Confederation provides financial support.
The OSA maintains close relations between Switzerland and its citizens abroad. It supports the cross-border mobility of Swiss citizens and encourages exchange between Switzerland and its diaspora. It also focuses in particular on young Swiss people abroad. In the implementation and delivery of the youth program, the OSA works in partnership with the Foundation for Young Swiss Abroad (FYSA) and educationsuisse.
The mission of the OSA is to provide support and services to Swiss expatriates world-wide and represent their interests before Swiss authorities and the public. The delivery of this mission is segmented into four pillars:
Keeping Swiss Abroad informed and in touch with current affairs and politics in Switzerland.
Providing a wide range of specialised services to promote good relations between Swiss living abroad and strengthen their ties with Switzerland.
Representing and defending the general interests of Swiss citizens living abroad before the Swiss authorities and with the public at home.
Providing free, up-to-date advice to Swiss living abroad as well as to Swiss citizens wishing to emigrate or return to Switzerland.
Click on the icon for more details about the mission or visit the website of the OSA.
CSA elections in 2021: because the Swiss e-voting systems are on hold until further notice, direct election via e-voting of the CSA delegates (as per pilot projects in Australia and Mexico in 2016) will not be possible. The CSA Delegates in Australia will have the job to organise the next elections without certainty of assistance at this stage. Importance is given to umbrella organisations in countries where they exist, which will have the task to organise fair and democratic elections. Default solution is the ‘old System’ each country carried in the past.
The 50th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Summit took place in Tuvalu from 13 to 16 August, 2019.
Switzerland is a success story, but it will have to evolve under fast changing international conditions. Therefore, foreign policy will become more important for Switzerland’s prosperity and security. Starting from these reflections, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis established the AVIS28 working group in 2018 with the aim to define a coherent and adaptive foreign policy vision for Switzerland for 2028. AVIS28 is a source of inspiration and new ideas, and at the same time, it should initiate a broad discussion on the future of Swiss foreign policy. Switzerland needs the courage to change. Its foreign policy must become more focused, networked and agile. Switzerland should also work more closely with like-minded states, like Australia and New Zealand, towards their common goals.
A lot has happened lately with regards to e-voting. There has been growing resistance and a fair bit of scare-mongering in Switzerland regarding the introduction of e-voting. Whilst the advantages are obvious to the government and the Swiss Abroad, sceptics argue that the trust in the democratic process is compromised due to e-security uncertainty and the cost of developing a secure system is also a concern. Earlier this year, a broad alliance of political parties has been collecting signatures for a popular initiative. Their aim is to ban the introduction of e-voting for at least five years.
The legislative body of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), met for its biannual meeting at the town hall in Bern on 23 March 2019. For the second time, the meeting followed on an exchange with Swiss parliamentarians for an update on political issues with relevance for the Swiss Abroad.
From 13 April to 29 September 2019, the Swiss Abroad will be featured in the Swiss History Forum in Schwyz as part of the exhibition ‘Switzerland elsewhere’.
Canton Geneva has announced it can no longer afford to bear the cost of an e-voting system and plans to abandon the project, according to Swiss public radio, RTS. This leaves only one other e-voting project still standing in Switzerland run by Swiss Post.
Read the full Swissinfo report here
The Consulate General of Switzerland in Sydney and the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington inform that they plan to visit the following cities with the mobile passport station:
• Auckland (May)
• Northland (May – only if sufficient interest)
• Perth (first half of April)
• Melbourne (October)
Saturday, 15 September saw the ‘Young Swiss Citizen Celebration’ being held for the third time in Victoria. 15 young Swiss who recently celebrated their 18th birthday, and therefore have become fully-fletched Swiss citizens with all the rights and obligations that this entails, followed the invitation by the Hon. Consul, Manuela Erb, to a luncheon at the Swiss Club of Victoria. They were accompanied by their mums and dads, grandparents and brothers and sisters.