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WorldSkills 2017 – High-ranking visitor at embassy reception

Debrunner Acifer WorldSkills Competitions 2017 SwissSkills Team

After a few days gathering their energies in the pre-camp in Al Ain, the SwissSkills team has now arrived in Abu Dhabi, location of the upcoming WorldSkills competitions. Simon Furrer, a plant electrician, is impressed by the dimensions of the team hotel Aloft, directly adjacent to the competition grounds. “Everything is so gigantic, so huge. I didn’t realize the size when we landed on Sunday, because it was already dark and we continued on immediately to the pre-camp.” In the afternoon, the team travels to a Bedouin town located some 60 kilometres to the southeast, in the Al Khatim Desert. The 1,300 or so competitors meet up there for the first time and are treated to a programme of Arabian entertainment.

But first, there’s time to marvel at the imposing hotel, check in to the rooms, and look forward to a special highlight in the evening: the exclusive reception at the Swiss Embassy.

Debrunner Acifer WorldSkills Competitions 2017 SwissSkills Team

“Greeting so many highly qualified people from Switzerland here all at once is a rare opportunity,” says Maya Tissafi, Swiss Ambassador in Abu Dhabi. The Swiss Residence is illuminated to magical effect. A promenade of sparkling lights leads to the open gardens, a beautiful pool under a starry sky, and splendid cuisine in a gracious ambiance. For one special evening, the Swiss team can enjoy the Arabian dream before the tough competition begins.

Switzerland’s political scene is also paying its respects to the SwissSkills team this evening. The highest-ranking Swiss politician, National Council President Jürg Stahl, has come to the reception to deliver a message: “We have a right to be proud of our vocational education and training system, thanks to you and your extraordinary achievements.” He referred to the team members as ambassadors not only for their professions but for the whole country. “Be brave and go your own way, because then anything is possible, and not only in the competitions.” Along with his National Council colleague Christa Markwalder, he didn’t hesitate to combine an official mission in Kuwait with a detour to Abu Dhabi to offer words of encouragement to the Swiss competitors.