University of Vermont

University Communications

Swiss Ambassador to Speak on Climate Change

Release Date: 04-18-2008

Author: Jay P. Goyette
Phone: 802/656-0726 Fax: 656-3203

Urs Ziswiler, Swiss ambassador to the United States, will speak at the University of Vermont on Wednesday, April 30, in a presentation entitled "From the Alps to the Green Mountains: An International Perspective on Climate Change Issues Affecting the World." The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Billings Center North Lounge at 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Registration may be done online at or by calling 888-458-8691.

Ambassador Ziswiler became Swiss ambassador to the United States in May 2006. Prior to his current posting, he served as head of the Political Directorate of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Bern, the second highest ranking diplomat in the Swiss Foreign Service. In this capacity, he was also vice-chairman of the Presence Switzerland (PRS) Commission, Switzerland's public outreach agency.

Previously, he served as a senior diplomatic adviser to the minister of foreign affairs, Federal Councilor Micheline Calmy-Rey. Since joining the Foreign Service in 1979, Ambassador Ziswiler has held a number of diplomatic postings both in Bern and abroad. He was appointed as ambassador of Switzerland to Canada and the Bahamas (1999-2004), chargé d'affaires a.i. in Zagreb for Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993, and deputy head of mission in Buenos Aires (1994-1995) and Tel Aviv (1988-1990). From 1980-1985, he was deputy head of mission at the Swiss embassies in Kinshasa, Lagos, and Oslo, and also served at the Swiss Mission to the European Union in Brussels.

In Bern, Ambassador Ziswiler served as head of the Political Division for Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy and coordinator for International Refugee Policy (1995-1999), spokesman and head of the Information Department of the European Integration Office (1990-1992), and in the same office, also was the chairman of the EFTA Trade Committee (1987) and managed relationships with the EFTA countries and the former Yugoslavia (1985-1988).

Ambassador Ziswiler began his career as a junior expert for the World Bank in Madagascar and later served as a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Beirut, Gaza, Tel Aviv, and Kampala. He holds a law degree from the Universities of Geneva and Zurich and has a post-graduate diploma on developing countries from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.