Portrait – Romanshorn to Switzerland in the US – Christoph Sommer is a diplomat in Washington


Romanshorner to Switzerland in the US – Christoph Sommer is a diplomat in Washington

He served as deputy chief of mission in Washington for more than a year. In one of the most powerful countries in the world, the Romanshorn campaigns for the interests of Switzerland.

Swiss Embassy in Washington DC, USA – workplace of Christophe Sommer.

Photo: Martin Roche / Keystone

Christoph Sommer puts his finger on the pulse of world politics. The son of former city councilor Max Sommer served as deputy chief of mission for a year and worked for Switzerland in the United States. Its mission is to represent the interests of Switzerland in the United States.

According to the diplomat, the focus of his work in most cases is on good cooperation, especially when it comes to adhering to common core values ​​such as peace, democracy, rule of law, and human rights. But the intense and mutually beneficial economic or scientific exchange is also a priority for him.

Christoph Sommer is in the USA for Switzerland - he's a diplomat at the Swiss Embassy in Washington.

Christoph Sommer is in the USA for Switzerland – he’s a diplomat at the Swiss Embassy in Washington.

Photo: PD

Regarding the new president Biden, Sommer is practically in the front row and closely follows the political activities of the world’s most powerful man:

“It’s very cool to watch and analyze how the Biden administration is reorganizing the United States’ course in many areas, but it also shows continuity in some ways.”

Diplomats are like nomads

Sumer has worked in the diplomatic service at the Federal Foreign Office (FDFA) since 2003. According to Sumer, life as a diplomat is similar to that of a Bedouin: on average, you change locations every few years. Since taking office, he has worked in Bern, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Brussels, at the Swiss Mission to the European Union, and most recently in Lima, Peru.

Christophe Sommer in front of a plane for the March 2020 return campaign for stranded Swiss travelers in Lima (Peru).

Christophe Sommer in front of a plane for the March 2020 return campaign for stranded Swiss travelers in Lima (Peru).

Photo: PD

According to the summer term, FDFA advertises internally vacancies about one year in advance of the Transfer Round. In the second step, diplomats can apply for various positions. Ultimately, the FDFA will decide the transfer process, as your profile and wishes are ideally aligned with the requirements of the particular job.

“If this works, this lifestyle can be a great enrichment.”

Sumer not only moves from the workplace to the workplace: he is with his wife and two children, whose needs also must be taken into account.

Much works well in Switzerland

Romanshorn maintains contact with Switzerland not only in the USA. Regardless of the location, he spends some time in Switzerland every year. In addition to professional meetings and discussions in Bern, a long stay with the family on Lake Constance is always on the agenda. He has a “pied-à-terre” in Romanshorn, and his parents and siblings also live here.

“This connection is very important to me and my family, and we are raising it consciously.”

Of course, he does not just enjoy family life. The diplomat appreciated Switzerland as a place to live for many factors, especially since he was able to get acquainted with the realities of other countries. Despite all the wonderful and beautiful experiences, he realized how many things worked in Switzerland.

As an example, Sommer mentions high-quality public schools, including the vocational training system, which Switzerland is envied of all over the world. The dense and efficient public transportation network – especially in times of pandemic – a reliable healthcare system is by no means a norm. But it’s not just the infrastructure that a diplomat in Switzerland values:

“At this time of year, I personally miss Oberthurgau’s landscapes with the glistening white fruit trees against the deep blue background of Lake Constance.”

To a person

Christoph Sommer was born in Romanshorn. After receiving his degree in physics, he served as a delegate to the International Committee of the Red Cross for nearly four years, including in Afghanistan, Colombia and the former Yugoslavia. The main focus there was on the humanitarian principle, but there were many similarities with diplomacy. It was also important to quickly orient oneself in new contexts, to negotiate and represent interests – in this case the interests of the victims of the conflict. The conversion to FDFA has already been mapped to some extent.

He has been in the service of the EDA since 2003. He holds a diploma in physics and belongs to a minority in the diplomatic corps. Most of his classmates had training in law, politics, international relations, or economics. FDFA consciously cultivates this variety.

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