Ambassadors introduce some ‘Swissness’ to Blacktown City Libraries


Picture: (left to right) Mrs Yasmine Chatila Zwahlen, Ambassador of Switzerland to Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Special Envoy of Switzerland for the Pacific Region, and Mr Pedro Zwahlen, Ambassador of Switzerland to Australia, with Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, and Manager of Library Services, Laurence McDonnell, at the Max Webber Library in Blacktown.

Blacktown is now home to a small piece of Switzerland thanks to a generous donation to Blacktown City Libraries’ ‘Books from Every Country’ collection.

Mayor of Blacktown City, Tony Bleasdale OAM, recently welcomed Swiss Ambassadors, Mr Pedro Zwahlen and his wife Mrs Yasmine Chatila Zwahlen to Blacktown City during a visit to the Max Webber Library.

Mr Zwahlen is the Ambassador of Switzerland to Australia, while Mrs Chatila is the Ambassador of Switzerland to Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, and is the Special Envoy of Switzerland for the Pacific Region.

The Ambassadors were welcomed to Blacktown City as part of an invitation to foreign embassies in Australia to donate to Blacktown City Libraries’ ‘Books from Every Country’ collection.

Blacktown City is proud to be home to residents from 180 countries of origin who speak a total of 182 languages. The aim of the collection is to have a book from the country of origin and in the first language of every resident.

The Ambassadors donated 5 modern literature books published in the 4 official languages of Switzerland – French, Italian, German, and Romansh – and one written in the dialect of Berne.

The ‘Books from Every Country’ collection now contains 484 books representing 158 languages and 199 countries.

Mayor Bleasdale said he was honoured to welcome the Ambassadors to Blacktown City.

“I’d like to thank Ambassador Pedro Zwahlen and Ambassador Yasmine Chatila Zwahlen for their generous and thoughtful donation to our ‘Books from Every Country’ collection,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

“It was a pleasure speaking with the Ambassadors about their wonderful work in Australia and around the Pacific Region, as well as the many projects and enormous growth underway here in Blacktown.

“I am sure Blacktown City’s friendship with Switzerland will continue for many years, and it is my hope that anyone in our community with ties to this great country can now access a piece of their heritage through our wonderful Libraries.

“The Books from Every Country’ collection is a recognition of our City’s diversity, and of the importance of language as the key to communication, connection, and community.”

Ambassador Pedro Zwahlen said he was pleased to bring some ‘Swissness’ to Blacktown City.

“With this book donation we wish to emphasize the importance and value of multilingualism and multiculturalism in the global society,” Mr Zwahlen said.

“Learning a foreign language and diving into foreign literature fosters appreciation, openness and respect towards other people and cultures.”

The Swiss books donated to the ‘Books from Every Country’ collection include:

• L’adieu à Saint-Kilda by Éric Bulliard (French)

• Lutto Alle Pompe Funebri by Diego Bernasconi and Simona Torriani (Italian)

• Culan da Crestaulta by Toni Halter (Romansh)

• Schmucktruckli: Es Dotze Wiehnachtsgschichte by Irene Graf (Swiss German Bernese)

• Heimelig: Warum Nelly aus dem Altersheim spazierte und nie mehr wiederkam by Blanca Imboden (German).

Blacktown City Council libraries also offers an extensive range of books and publications for borrowing in 30 different languages, the largest number of languages in a public library in NSW.

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