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Travel Digest / swissinfo.ch
SWI swissinfo.ch - swiss news and information platform about Switzerland, business, culture, sport, weather. swissinfo covers Switzerland from every angle in English with news and up-to-date information for a worldwide audience.
Culture - SWI swissinfo.ch
  • A photographic journey into the unknown
    In April 2013, Swiss photographers Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato, who have worked together for more than 12 years, jumped into an old Land Cruiser and headed east. They had a rough route and stops in mind, with the final destination being Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.  It was a real expedition, a departure into the mystical kingdom of the East: Eurasia, Central Asia, the foothills of the Himalayas, the forests of Siberia, the various “Stan” republics, the gigantic breadth of the former Soviet Union. They covered half a continent, a land mass of which only a few images have stuck in our heads.  The countries and regions they visited are undergoing a shift from the Silk Road, post-communism and religious, territorial and ethic turmoil to the pressing desire to become part of global capitalism. This search for identity is palpable and is reflected in the photo album Continental Drift.  The images also describe a journey along the border between documentation and fiction. The ...
  • Swiss abroad keep yodelling tradition alive
    Some people will go an awfully long way to yodel: the “Wildrose” yodel club, for example, has come all the way from Canada to take part in this weekend’s Federal Yodelling Festival in Brig-Glis, canton Valais. (Julie Hunt, swissinfo.ch) The Wildrose club was formed in Alberta 20 years ago by ten Swiss emigrants. Now there are 15 members of all ages and from all walks of life, some of them second generation Swiss.  Ahead of the festival, the group, together with the local Riederalp yodel club, gathered for a sing-song on the Eggishorn, overlooking the Aletsch glacier. swissinfo.ch talked to some of the Wildrose members about why they love Canada, what they miss about Switzerland, and whether it’s important to keep Swiss traditions alive when living abroad.  Yodelling almost died out in Switzerland when cheese production moved from the mountains to the valleys. Alpine herdsmen and dairymen used to yodel to keep each other posted with the latest news or to drive cattle home, at a ...
  • Building peace with rock bands, orchestras, and theatre
    Could art and culture be the future tools of diplomats and peacebuilders? A Swiss woman’s initiative is helping to make it happen, step by step. People have long turned to stories, painting, music and theatre as a way of coping with hardship and fear. But when it comes to conflict mediation, art is often held at arm’s length, seen as a cultural asset not to be confused with the “real work” that goes on behind closed doors. Lea Suter founded the PeacePrints initiative to show that art can play more of a role in the areas of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Suter, who comes from Switzerland, wants to show that cultural activities are not merely “decorations” for mediation processes but can be “active tools and agents of peace processes themselves”. Sitting outside the Palais des Nations where she is currently working on a mandate for the United Nations, Suter recalls a recent trip to Kosovo where she visited the School of Rock in the city of Mitrovica. There, young people ...
  • Making money from yodelling
    While some people find yodelling a cacophony of clichés and others consider it a living art form, it is a welcome business opportunity for the people of canton Valais, where the National Yodelling Festival will be held this year. (SRF, swissinfo.ch) The National Yodelling Festival is organised by the Swiss Yodelling Association and takes place every three years in a different location in Switzerland. It is the climax of a series of local yodelling festivals. The Swiss Yodelling Association was founded in 1910 in Bern. Among its activities are training, courses, publications and organising national competitions for yodelling, alphorn playing and flag throwing – all Swiss customs that will feature at this year’s event. The first official National Yodelling Festival was held in Basel in 1924. This year will see the 30th edition held in Brig from June 22-25. Up to 15,000 yodellers, flag throwers and alphorn blowers will be cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd of an expected 150,000 ...
  • The ‘slightly different’ Alpine festival
    Aymann, a Syrian refugee, deftly flips his opponent into the sawdust. But the opponent just manages to turn and land on his stomach rather than his back, which would have meant losing. Urged on by the audience, Aymann tries to turn him over but can’t. Both begin to laugh. They stand up and try again.  Swiss wrestling, known as Schwingen, is one of the many customs that the church charity HEKS wants to introduce to refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea or Sri Lanka who live in Switzerland.  Swiss traditions are explained and passed by professionals and well-known figures, for example champion wrestlers, alphorn players and yodellers.  The highlight of this campaign took place on June 17, National Refugee Day in Switzerland: an old-school Alpine festival outside Bern train station. People yodelled, threw flags, played traditional card game Jass and blew alphorns.  The 700 or so visitors celebrated not only old Swiss traditions, but also intercultural dialogue and solidarity. 
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Swiss Benevolent Society
of San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States of America
assistance@sbssf.com

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The United Swiss Societies of Northern California (USSNC), founded in 1912, merged with the Swiss House Association of California, which had incorporated on July 21, 1930, the merger created the new name, United Swiss House of Northern California, Inc., which on February 11, 1983 incorporated to its current name. United Swiss Societies of Northern California, Inc., organized as a California Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation, 501(c)(4), tax ID 23-7126939