The new generation is ready!

The new candidates from the 2024–25 cohorts are ready to embark on their first postings abroad. On 21 May 2024, four of these newly recruited transferrable staff – Bernhard Bieri, Nicol Serafina Lovisi, Sebastian Kempf and Janina Zürcher – met with Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at the Bernerhof to share their motivation as they prepare to take on challenges in Africa, South America and Asia. These young professionals, specialising in diplomacy, international cooperation, consular affairs, operations and finance, will be trained to represent Swiss values on the world stage in the coming year. They discuss their expectations as they prepare for their first postings.

The 2024–25 cohort members and Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis standing together.

The new FDFA staff will represent Swiss values around the world in the coming years. © FDFA

The 44 members of the 2024–25 cohorts will represent and promote Switzerland's foreign policy, economic and legal interests around the world. The candidates have undergone a rigorous selection process and are set to complete their two-month basic training in Bern. Before being definitively admitted into the diplomacy, international cooperation, consular affairs, operations and finance career paths or as specialist consular staff, the candidates will complete 12 months of practical training in the FDFA's external network. After that, as transferable staff, they will change posting every three to four years. 

Implementing Swiss foreign policy in today's unstable, crisis-ridden world is a challenging task.  The Federal Council's new Foreign Policy Strategy 2024–27, based on the pillars of shared responsibility in Europe, global cooperation, international law, multilateralism and innovation, serves as a guiding framework for the new staff.

The candidates' profiles are as diverse as Switzerland itself, mirroring our country's innovative strength.

How are these new staff members approaching the challenges that await them on three continents? Four members of the 2024–25 cohorts share their motivation and expectations:

"I look forward to discovering a new working and living environment every four years"

Photo of Bernhard Bieri
Bernhard Bieri, IC career path candidate © B.B.

With a degree in political and international economics from the University of Lausanne and an MA from the Geneva Graduate Institute under his belt, 26-year-old Bernhard Bieri has already gained work experience at the World Bank in Dakar. He is in the international cooperation (IC) career path.

He will take up his first posting at the SDC cooperation office in N'Djamena, Chad. "Switzerland's commitment to international cooperation aligns with my personal values and I look forward to working with like-minded colleagues to implement the IC strategy."

And what does he say about the transfer regime? "I look forward to discovering a new working and living environment every four years and learning from colleagues from Switzerland and other countries." When asked if he has any concerns, he says: "Yes, I do have some concerns about my family life, but fortunately the FDFA's Family Office is there to support us."

"I had to push myself to fulfil my dreams"

Photo of Nicol Serafina Lovis
Nicol Serafina Lovisi, candidate to become transferable consular specialist © N.S.L.

Nicol Serafina Lovisi, a 26-year-old from Ticino, will soon be promoting Swiss values as a consular specialist in Caracas, Venezuela. "I'm delighted to have the chance to improve my Spanish and get to know the culture. But given the current situation in Venezuela, I'm also interested in working in a particularly challenging context."

Lovisi began her career with a commercial apprenticeship and federal vocational baccalaureate at the social insurance office in Bellinzona. After several years at the disability insurance office, she decided she wanted to work abroad, learn languages and travel. "I realised I love Switzerland but also other cultures and travelling. This sparked my desire to work for the FDFA."

"After several attempts and a lot of hard work, I finally managed to realise my dream this year!" 

"I'm excited to improve my Mandarin"

Photo of Sebastian Kempf
Sebastian Kempf, diplomacy career path candidate © S.K.

Sebastian Kempf will fly out to Beijing. "I'm excited to get to know Beijing better and improve my Mandarin," he says.

As a diplomat in Beijing, Kempf will draw on his previous experience in fintech, AI, business consulting and banking. He looks forward to using both this expertise and new insights to tackle complex challenges.

"I'm very interested in geopolitical issues and have a great passion for travel and discovering foreign cultures. The opportunity to represent Switzerland makes this a unique combination that only the FDFA can offer."

Regarding his future plans, he says: "I'd like the opportunity to take responsibility for an exciting initiative or project." Any concerns? "It could be challenging to make friends with locals outside the international community."

"I hope to bring about positive change through my work"

Photo of Janina Zürcher
Janina Zürcher, consular affairs, operations management and finance career path candidate © J.Z.

Janina Zürcher's first posting will be in Beirut. "Beirut is particularly exciting for me because of its rich history and central role in geopolitical dynamics. I'm very grateful and motivated to start my career in such an important, interesting location," says the 30-year-old consular affairs, operations and finance career path candidate.

Zürcher most recently gained experience in various roles at an international auditing firm:

"I'd now like to broaden my professional horizons and play an active role at the interface of diplomacy, finance and operations. I see it as a unique opportunity to apply my professional skills in an international context while helping to represent Swiss interests and values abroad."

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