Switzerland eyes Qatar and Gulf markets

DOHA - "This year 2004 is a symbolic date for the development of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Qatar," according to the Swiss non-resident ambassador to Qatar, Jean-Philippe Tissieres.

By From Gina Coleman

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Published: Sun 22 Feb 2004, 12:16 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 11:55 PM

He was speaking after the inauguration of the first Swiss Educational Fair in Qatar, an event opened by Qatar's Minister of Education, Shaikha Al Mahmoud.

Ambassador Tissieres, speaking to Khaleej Times, said: "We want to dynamise bilateral relations in business, culture, education and health, where we both share ambitions for excellence. We see Qatar as a platform in the Gulf, as is Switzerland in continental Europe; our experiences can benefit each other."

Based at the Swiss embassy in Kuwait, Tissieres is also non-resident ambassador to Bahrain. So far, in his one year tenure (he presented his credentials in February 2003), he has visited Qatar six times. "I have had very friendly and intense contacts with my counterparts, and with the various ministries here in Doha. We were delighted to have strong representation at the recent Doha Jewellery and Watch Exhibition, organised by Qatar's Ministry of Economy and Trade, and now we have summer schools, colleges, Cantonal (regional) and FederalÊ(national) universities from Switzerland represented in this Educational Fair. Next year it is my ambition to hold a Swiss Health Fair here. Bilateral relations in that sector have already moved through two phases - individual contacts between people living in Qatar and Swiss companies and institutions; and company to company contact. Now we want to progress the institutiuon to institution discussions."

He would, he says, like to facilitate visits to Qatar by Swiss Trade Missions and ministerial delegations. "We are ambitious for the development of strong long-term bilateral relations, which means we must be active now, here and in the rest of the Gulf."

Qatar's Minister of Education, Sheikha Al Mahmoud, at the opening of the Education Fair, said that Qatar places great importance on the development of education, stressing the growing social awareness of its importance among the Qatari population. "This fair is excellent; it has variety and it gives parents a good idea of studies and courses available in Switzerland. I am very interested in the Summer Courses being offered, andÊI hope parents will find the fair interesting and useful."

Ambassador Tissieres said he would hope for future co-operation between Swiss higher education institutions and the Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development, which opened a huge Education City in the Qatari capital last October. "The foundation aims for academic excellence, and has already entered into agreements with a number of prestigious universities which have campuses in the Education City. Situated as we are, at the heart of Europe, our universities offer courses that are taught in either English, French, German or Italian, while we also offer curricula that match those of the UK, Europe, America and the Commonwealth. Some of our Cantonal Universities are deeply rooted in history. In 1550, the University of Geneva was the first school to teach modernity in the Renaissance.

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