Webinar «Bilateral Relations Portugal/Switzerland»

Portugal/Switzerland bilateral relations - history and current affairs from a social and economic perspective

Format: hybrid, via webex, managed by the Diplomatic Institute of the MFA
Date: 21 November 2023 - from 3 to 6 pm (Bern time / minus 1 hour in Lisbon)
Venue: Bern - Swiss Federal Archives - Archivstrasse 24, 3003 Bern
Languages: French and English




  • Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Portuguese diplomatic presence in Switzerland with the signing of the first trade agreement between the two countries (which took place in Bern on 6 December 1873), promoting better knowledge of the historical reasons that led to the start of the bilateral relationship in a more structured way.
  • Publicize the availability online of new historical documents relating to the bilateral relationship, based on joint work carried out by the Swiss Diplomatic Documents (Dodis) research group and the MFA's Diplomatic Institute, publicizing events in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
  • Reflect on the role of the Portuguese community in local society and economy and the importance of maintaining Portuguese in Switzerland as a language of contact, work, and academic and personal enrichment.
  • Contribute to deepening trade and investment ties, from a perspective based on innovation and entrepreneurship.


Target audience:

  • Historians, researchers, Swiss and Portuguese companies, university students, chambers of commerce, employers, trade unions, entrepreneurs, the Portuguese community.



Opening – 3 pm.

  • Sacha Zala, Director of Diplomatic Documents Switzerland
  • José Freitas Ferraz, Director of the MFA's Diplomatic Institute (*)
  • Júlio Vilela, Portuguese Ambassador to Switzerland
  • Denis Knobel, Swiss Ambassador to Portugal (*)


1st panel – 3.20 pm / 4.30 pm
The bilateral relation and the Portuguese identity in Switzerland: from the beginning until today

  • Sonja Hürlimann, Head for Bilateral Relations at the Europe Division of the FDFA
  • Soraia Milene Carvalho, PhD student in History at the University of Lisbon (*)
  • Reto Monico, historian and researcher
  • António Cunha, President of the Federation of Portuguese Associations in Switzerland
  • Lurdes Gonçalves, Coordinator of Portuguese Education in Switzerland
  • Moderated by Rui Correia, Political Counsellor at the Portuguese Embassy in Bern


2nd panel – 4.45 pm / 5.45 pm
Innovation and entrepreneurship as tools for a successful bilateral economic relationship

  • Brigitte Chassot, Head of SECO's Europe and Central Asia Division
  • Cristina Pucarinho - member of AICEP's Board of Directors (*)
  • René Cotting, CFO of Smartenergy (*)
  • Paulo Gonçalves, CEO of Delta Suisse
  • Moderated by Ana Rosas, Economic Counsellor at the Portuguese Embassy in Bern


Closing – 5.50 pm

  • Secretary General of the MFA, Ambassador Francisco Ribeiro Telles (*)