From 25 to 31 March, a delegation from Libya will be visiting Switzerland, as part of a programme implemented by the Peaceful Change initiative (PCi). The programme aims to build partnerships between local authorities and community groups in Libya with a view to mitigating conflict and building social peace. The Programme is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK Government, by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and by the EU.
The delegation includes representatives of civil society groups from the three main geographic regions of Libya, who are active participants and stakeholders in the above programme. The visit focuses on approaches to diversity management, social cohesion, and public participation in Switzerland, and aims to provide opportunities for learning and reflection to the members of the delegation. Once back home, they will be expected to apply this learning by designing and implementing social peace initiatives in their respective areas, collaborating with other stakeholders from local authorities, civil society and beyond.
During this week, the Libyan delegates will interact with the Cantonal Parliament of Bern, gaining insights into the functioning of parliament and the balancing of political interests, and will meet with the Police of the Canton of Bern to learn about risk assessments, prevention, and community policing. They will then visit the municipality of Herzogenbuchsee to learn about experiences of citizens’ participation, the Forum of Bilingualism in Biel to hear about approaches of dealing with linguistic diversity, and the municipality of Wohlen to learn about the partnership between the municipality, the church and civil society for the accommodation and integration of immigrants. The delegation will also meet representatives of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as members of international organisations in Geneva.
We are looking forward to meeting the members of the delegation during this rich and inspiring week of activities. We would like to thank all those who have made this visit possible through their generous support and contributions.