As per tradition, this year’s general meeting was planned to take place near the Congress of the Swiss Abroad, as stipulated by the bylaws. The congress was in Visp this year, so we decided to invite our guests up into the mountains. Namely, to the highest vineyard in Europe, in Visperterminen to the distinguished St. Jodernkellerei.
Luckily, everyone made the less-than-simple trip with a Postbus or car. In a small, intimate space we carried out the formal aspect of the general meeting and the elections. Daniel Heller, Fernand Schoppig, Stephan Eckert and Thomas Ziegler have been newly elected to the executive board; Eric Herren, after many years’ service, stepped back from his position on the board. A heartfelt thanks to all the new executive board members and Eric Herren for your dedication to our collective—it’s incredibly important to us!
We dare say that it’s going to be an exciting time—as always—for our collective: managing director Dr. Richard Vögeli will be stepping down from office as of the end of September 2018. While the staff and executive board regret Richards decision, they do respect it. In the last few years, Richard had led the collective back to its purpose of “joint self-help” and was able to introduce many new services for Swiss citizens living abroad. The successor of the managing position will be announced when the time comes.
Likewise, there will be some changes made to the legal structure of the entire “Soliswiss construct”: this year, Soliswiss AG will be merged with a partner company and no longer exist as such. This is taking place for auditing and strategic reasons and will be an advantage for the collective. It will be an intense year and we are all motivated to further the collective and increase membership.
After the formal part, Michael “Grosi” Grossenbacher impressed us with his exciting presentation called “Suddenly a lifesaver” about his time on the front in Greece helping refugees. It was very profound to see all the factual reports, videos and images Grosi made. None of us had ever had such a realistic report concerning the refugee camp in Greece, and this led to some lively discussions following its conclusion. Thank you Grosi for sharing your experience with us!
If you’d like more information about the formal part of the general meeting, you can have a look at the minutes or even better, join us next year in Montreux.
The transition to the celebration started with a film about St. Jodernkellerei, followed by a fantastic trip through the winery’s production into the beautiful hall of mirrors. The atmosphere in the winery is simply breathtaking, as well as the wine. The evening drew to a lovely end with Johannisberg, Heida and a wonderful collection of Visperterminen, accompanied by delicious cheese, fish and meat platters.
The next day, part of our crew spent some time at the Congress of the Swiss Abroad—and these two days also saw interesting encounters, reunions and inspirational stories from Swiss citizens abroad. It’s only through personal conversations that we learn which services are useful to our fellow citizens abroad. We’re already looking forward to to Montreaux in 2019.
Thank you to all of our members and executive board members that found their way to Wallis and celebrated our 60-year anniversary with us!
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Soliswiss –for Swiss citizens abroad since 1958
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