Nine Australian National University language students have been recognised for their outstanding essays in French, Italian and German by the Embassy of Switzerland in Australia.
The essays were entered into the Embassy’s annual Swiss Prize competition, which this year celebrated its 20th anniversary.
His Excellency, the Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr Pedro Zwahlen described the Swiss Prize as the flagship collaboration between the Swiss Embassy and the ANU School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, adding that the cooperation “has turned from an event to a cherished tradition, underpinning the close relationship between the ANU and Switzerland as a whole.”
The topic for this year’s competition was 'Made in Switzerland'.
“The contributions we received cover a wide range of topics, way beyond the clichés generally associated with Switzerland,” His Excellency Zwahlen said.
He added that while learning another language is hard work and requires dedication, the effort to do so is worthwhile: “It strengthens your position in the world, and the additional access and trust which you gain by your proof of interest in the stranger will reward you a hundred times.”
Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Cardew-Hall echoed this sentiment, saying that learning a new language reveals “a new perspective on life that would otherwise be unobtainable.”
Professor Cardew-Hall, representing Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt at the event, informed the audience that ANU has one of the largest range of language programs in Australia, offering 29 different languages.
“By being the national university by definition means we have to be international.”
He praised the Swiss Prize, saying that “competitions like this provide us with a chance to celebrate the excellence of our students.”
“And I can't underestimate how excellent our students are.”
A total of 51 essays were entered into the Swiss Prize competition. The announcement of the awardees was interspersed with musical performances in each of the three official languages of Switzerland.
Special guests at the Swiss Prize ceremony included the High Commissioner of Cyprus, the Ambassador of Greece and the High Commissioner of Mauritius.
1st prize: Dominic Dwyer - Les grenades de type HG-85: fabriquées en Suisse, trouvées en Syrie (HG 85 grenades: made in Switzerland, found in Syria)
2nd prize: Alyssa Ellwood - Le romanche – fait et défait en Suisse? (Romansh – made and unmade in Switzerland?)
3rd prize: Laura Wood - Une Bonne Initiative: la capacité des citoyens pour appeler un référendum et changer la loi eux-mêmes (A good initiative: the ability for citizens to call for a referendum and change the law themselves)
1st prize: Ella Whitehurst - Il creare del mondo moderno (Creating the modern world)
2nd prize: Cahill Di Donato - Daniel Bovet: Lo scienziato svizzero che ha rivoluzionato la medicina per il mondo (Daniel Bovet: The Swiss scientist who revolutionized medicine for the world)
3rd prize: Brent Bridgeford - Che cosa è contribuire a questo mondo? (What does contributing to this world mean?)
1st prize: Joshua Woodyatt - Swiss Made – Was bedeutet es, Schweizer zu sein? (Swiss made – What does it mean to be Swiss?)
2nd prize: Tim Willington - Dada. Hergestellt in der Schweiz – Eine Analyse der Entwicklung von Dada in Zürich und die Relevanz von Dada in der modernen Welt (Dada. Made in Switzerland – An analysis of the development of Dada in Zürich and the relevance of Dada in the modern world)
3rd prize: Zoe Oldfield - Die endemische Flora und Fauna der Schweiz (The endemic flora and fauna of Switzerland)