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"TODAY is a special day for Switzerland in Singapore as Swiss Confederation President Johann N Schneider-Ammann makes the first Swiss state visit to the Republic of Singapore. It is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to President Schneider-Ammann and to the important official and business delegations that accompany him.
After President Tony Tan Keng Yam's successful visit to Switzerland in 2014, President Schneider-Ammann is visiting the Republic to strengthen the excellent relationship between our two countries, and to bring them to a new higher level. Next year, Singapore and Switzerland will be celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations, which have been very fruitful for both countries.
In its earlier days, Singapore often looked at Switzerland as a model for its development. Today, we are pleased to see that our both countries can mutually learn from each other in many fields. In the past, those ties have been mostly focused on trade and economy and then finance, but over the last year areas such as education, science and innovation - as for example, Smart Cities - have also developed significantly.
I am convinced that this important state visit will be the occasion to identify new avenues for collaboration within these areas. Among them is certainly the topic of vocational training and life-long learning which will be addressed at today's Switzerland-Singapore Business Forum: "Skills Future - Developing a future ready workforce" by the Swiss President and Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Strong ties are also reflected in the significant Swiss presence in Singapore with about 5,000 Swiss citizens and more than 400 registered Swiss companies. Our four pillars of the Swiss community - Swiss Business Association, Swiss Association of Singapore, the Swiss School and the Swiss Club - play a key role in strengthening and building these ties from social to business.
This special Swiss state visit supplement in The Business Times, which succeeds the Swiss National Day specials on Aug 1 in the past years, reflects in my view the very prominent and strong Swiss presence in Singapore and our successful bilateral relations. My most sincerest thanks go to all who have contributed to this supplement.
We look forward to this exciting and promising state visit!"
Ambassador of Switzerland
Highlights of the state visit programme: