Swiss Day 2016 @ the International Culture Festival of Peking University: a focus on Innovation

October 23 could have been a dull and cold Sunday, announcing the beginning of a long and harsh winter. This was maybe true everywhere else in north China, but definitely not at Peking University where the annual International Culture Festival took place.  

Among the 60 countries promoting themselves to thousands of visitors, the Swiss booth had the honour to be the largest one. While our country benefits from a positive image in China, its achievements in the fields of innovation, education and research remain usually unknown to the general public. For this reason, our Swiss booth focused on the theme of Innovation, with a powerful slogan printed on the t-shirts of our dedicated team of volunteers from the Swiss Embassy and Peking University: “We Innovate”.

In order to deliver this message, the Swiss booth presented several explanatory panels highlighting Switzerland’s innovative strength and competitiveness, the key factors behind its success and some concrete examples of Swiss innovative projects and researches. This message was further promoted with TV screens broadcasting different videos about Swiss innovation. Furthermore, visitors also had the chance to try the smallest portable wireless scanner of the world and a cutting-edge scanner mouse invented by a Swiss start-up (Dacuda).

More than a simple exhibition on innovation, the concept of our Swiss booth was to provide both a culinary and intellectual experience at the same time. For food lovers - and no doubt that Chinese people are - we had an almost endless mountain of chocolate bars provided by our generous sponsors Lindt and Nestlé, as well as a chocolate fountain allowing our visitors to try some melted chocolate with fresh fruits. However, in order to have the right to taste our mouth-watering chocolates, visitors had first to submit a quiz about Swiss Innovation. The answers could be found on the panels with the help of our dynamic team of volunteers. At the end of the day, what seemed a never-ending chocolate mountain in the morning had disappeared.

The successful promotion of Switzerland’s innovation in a stimulating and pleasant atmosphere was not only reflected in the great smile of the thousands of visitors, but also in our guestbook where visitors could leave comments. We received some very friendly and touching messages such as « I Love Switzerland » or « Switzerland and China are forever friends », as well as many messages praising our booth to be the « best» and the «most technologically advanced» one. Lastly, many comments proved that our booth was able to raise awareness about Switzerland’s innovative strength: « Switzerland is really an innovative country, impressive! ».