Switzerland takes a stand for solidarity with refugees – through dance
Using dance to break down barriers and pave the way for intercultural encounters: The third edition of the HEKS/EPER campaign «Taking a stand for a humane Switzerland» – following those of 2016 and 2017 – is again cementing a bond of solidarity and humanity between local people and refugees. To that end, various regional folk dance groups are inviting refugees to attend workshops where they learn traditional folk dances, which are a key component of Swiss tradition. This year's «Taking a stand» campaign will culminate in a huge folk dance fair (Volkstanz-«Chilbi») at Zurich's main train station.
Switzerland is justifiably proud of its humanitarian tradition. And of its centuries-old record of humaneness and solidarity towards refugees. These values must be safeguarded – all the more so at a time when over 65 million people worldwide are seeking safe haven from war, violence and destruction in their home countries. There is great need for civil society involvement, including in Switzerland.
Not only is our country marked by its humanitarian tradition, it also preserves cultural customs, which find expression in many folk dances, among other things. Once again this year, Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER) plans to use its campaign «Taking a stand for a humane Switzerland» to build a bridge of intercultural understanding and, in a recreational and light-hearted manner, pave the way for exciting and mutually enriching encounters between local residents and people seeking asylum in Switzerland. Some folk dance encounters of a very special kind will therefore take place over the coming weeks in the three regions of Basel, Berne and Zurich, where regional folk dance groups will invite refugees to attend several workshops and get to know these Swiss traditions and learn dances together.
A huge folk dance fair will be held on Sunday 10 June in the main concourse of the Zurich train station, where these culturally very diverse dance groups will be able to present what they have recently learned to a large audience. They will be supported by numerous eminent persons from the worlds of politics, sport and culture. Colourful fringe events will provide the opportunity for Swiss people and refugees to surmount all cultural barriers and strike up conversations, thereby reducing prejudices and reservations.