3–2–1 . . . Swiss Touch
Mid-January 2017 marked the launch of the Swiss Touch campaign. To inaugurate our campaign, we took advantage of one of Switzerland’s most iconic locations. On a sunny Monday morning, we shared Swiss Touch with the world, live from Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn. Specialists and experts from various fields joined Ambassador Dahinden for a discussion on climate change and its impact on the melting of glaciers.
In December 2016, in preparation for the launch of the Swiss Touch campaign, Ambassador Dahinden visited the one and only Matterhorn in Zermatt to find the perfect location to host such an exceptional event. The emblematic Swiss mountain was the ideal setting to host the discussion. In fact, since Switzerland is a country which deeply cares about the environment, the dialogue at the table revolved around climate change and its impact on glaciers. Surrounded by snow, glaciers and mountains is how the Swiss Touch table’s adventures began.
In the beautiful setting, at the foot of the Matterhorn, at 8471 ft. (2,582 m) at a frosty -20 degrees F (-29 degrees C), on the sunny morning of January 17, 2017, the Swiss Touch campaign was officially launched. On that day, Martin Dahinden, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States of America, invited five experts to sit at the table and discuss the phenomenon both from an empirical and theoretical point of view, as well as to address people’s questions and concerns about the impact of climate change on nature. It was interesting to see how the discussion revolved around its observed and predicted effects.
A few minutes before the discussion began, we wanted to share the event with the United States and Switzerland via social media. What we hadn’t planned on was the effect of the extreme temperature up there on our live video feed of the event. We were therefore forced to postpone the broadcasting since nature beat technology. But despite the freezing temperature, our team and the experts did not give up and their smiles did not fade. That morning, thanks to our crew, the beautiful sunlight and pulling together, we found a solution which allowed us to mitigate the cold and offer viewers some wonderful footage of the launch of the campaign.Ambassador Dahinden was joined at the table by Nicholas Bideau, head of Presence Switzerland, Dr. Gian-Kasper Plattner of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Gerold Biner, CEO of Air Zermatt, Major Thomas Zeltner, Commandant Adjoint of the Patrouille des Glaciers, Géraldine Fasnacht, Wingsuit Pilot and Snowboarder, and Lisa Leishman, our marvelous moderator. All the experts agreed that glaciers were melting even though one would not have guessed it by seeing images from the discussions on that cold and sunny January morning. We are proud and honored to have had such great experts at our table discussing such a topical issue and we are looking forward to fostering further exchanges on this topic and many others in the United States.