Example “Integration of minorities”

Visitors: representatives of armed groups and political parties preparing for a constitutional process. In search of  inspiration for the constitutional process, the delegation wants to get information on approaches for the integration of minorities. For this they are especially interested in federalism and other power-sharing approaches.

Objectives of the visit: obtain an understanding of Switzerland with its cultural and linguistic diversity, especially Swiss federalism, reflection on  the Swiss experience in light of other international experiences and contexts. At the same time, the study visit shall also contribute to trust-building among the participants and offer a platform for them to discuss their future constitution and possible solutions in a neutral environment.

Program overview

Day 1: Introduction to the Swiss political system

  • Official reception of the delegation
  • Presentation by experts with discussion: diversity in Switzerland, a brief insight into the history, Swiss federalism, the political institutions and elections at the different state levels direct democracy, management of migration-derived diversity
  • Combination of sight-seeing and presentation, e.g. in the form of a tour of the city

Day 2: The Swiss federal system; confederation and cantons, distribution of competencies, resources, financial equalization

  • Meeting with members of the two chambers of Parliament, the National Council and the Council of States
  • Visit to the parliament: the architecture of the Houses of Parliament as an expression of the diversity of Switzerland, followed by lunch
  • Visit to the conference of the cantons, the role of the cantons in the Swiss state system, cantonal autonomy, financial equalization between the cantons
  • Official dinner

Day 3: Multilingualism and education; time for internal discussion and reflection

  • Visit to a multilingual canton, discussion with the officials responsible for culture and education, competencies in the education area, managing multilingualism
  • Visit to a primary school in a multilingual municipality
  • Opportunity for internal exchange and reflection

Day 4: Army, police, and cultural diversity

  • Input on the distribution of competencies in the security area, federalism, and defense, organization of the Swiss Army, supervisory role of the parliament
  • Distribution of competencies and organization of the police, visit to a cantonal police office

Day 5: Prevention of conflict in the federal system: decision-making procedures, consultation, balancing of interests

  • Meeting with the Federal Chancellery, the elements of consensus-oriented democracy, introduction to the instruments of direct democracy
  • Meeting with representatives of an initiative committee and representatives of the administration
  • Visit to a municipal administration. discussion of consultation/decision-making powers of the populace, Approaches to balance different interests

Day 6: Conflict resolution in the federal system with the founding of Canton Jura as an example

  • Meeting in Bern with representatives of Canton Bern and the Bernese Jura (the Jura conflict from the Bernese perspective)
  • Travel to Canton Jura, meeting with representatives of Canton Jura (the Jura conflict from the perspective of the modern Canton Jura, the foundation of Canton Jura as model of conflict resolution?)
  • On the return journey, stop in Moutier: the Jura question continues.

Day 7: Time for internal discussion and reflection

Day 7: The Swiss system in context, approaches of other multilingual countries, experiences with constitutional processes

Day 7: Joint reflection