Introducing the consul of Switzerland, Daniel Oswald29-Apr-2019
Daniel Oswald is the former President of the Utah Consular Corps and the Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Utah. His role as an Honorary Consul first became a possibility in 2008 after the former Swiss Honorary Consul in Utah had moved with her family to Switzerland. The post was vacant for some time, until the Swiss government determined that Utah was a valuable and strategic location for their interests and set out to find a replacement. The Swiss government identified suitable candidates for the position, who were also dual Swiss-US citizens living in Utah, and invited them to interview for the position. Throughout the selection process, Mr. Oswald stood out as an excellent candidate. He came highly recommended by government and community leaders in Utah as well as his peers. After an in-depth and lengthy confirmation process, first by the Swiss Government and then the United States State Department, Mr. Oswald received his official accreditation and was formally inaugurated in the Salt Lake City and County building by the Consul General of Switzerland in the Spring of 2009.
Switzerland has long been recognized for being the home to some of the world’s largest international organizations and governing bodies. Among the long list of organizations headquartered in Switzerland is the International Committee of the Red Cross. The close relationship that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains with the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations throughout the world is one of the reasons Utah is an important partner for Switzerland. Aside from their shared humanitarian efforts, Utah is a common destination for many Swiss tourists who are drawn to the state’s natural beauties and national parks who sometimes need help when they are in distress. In addition, the people in Switzerland share a lot of common interests with people in Utah, such as outdoor recreation, healthy life styles, expertise in similar industries, excellent health care, and focus on education, to mention only a few.
One of the many rewarding experiences he has had while serving as Honorary Consul of Switzerland during the past decade involved the creation of a documentary film. Several years ago, a documentary film crew came to Utah to produce a film on family history. They were tracing a group of families that originally came through Ellis Island. The crew followed their story to show how they grew, adjusted to life in the United States, and what happened to their posterity. The film crew was interested in Utah because of the vast resources and services available in Utah to people interested in conducting family history research.
Daniel also has fond memories of his experiences with the Swiss athletes that competed in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games prior to his service as Honorary Consul. He explained that many countries, including Switzerland, had their own ‘house’ during the Olympics, from where they would conduct TV broadcasts for those watching in their respective home countries, featuring their countries’ athletes, serve food prepared by chefs flown in from their own countries, and be a magnet for people interested in that country. The broadcasts were especially popular for countries that are known as winter sports destinations. He expressed the sentiment that the 2002 Olympics were a wonderful opportunity to showcase Utah in Switzerland, build lasting friendships and connections and further peace. He hopes that Utah will host the Games again in the not too distant future.
Utah is also a great place for Swiss, and other international companies to do business for a variety of reasons. Utah has a young and highly educated workforce that speaks more than 120 languages, German, French, and Italian included (all Swiss national languages). Daniel explains that for many years, Utah was a fly-over state and was historically ignored in favor of states on the East and West coast and large cities like Chicago and Atlanta. As a result, for Swiss, Utah used to be one of the best-kept secrets in business. However, since its founding in 2001, members of the Utah Consular Corps have played an important role in reaching out and telling the Utah story. Their efforts, in combination with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, World Trade Center Utah, and other organizations have brought more and more businesses to the state, including Swiss businesses. For example, the selection of Salt Lake City as the U.S. headquarters for the Swiss company Stadler Rail is evidence that such combined efforts have been fruitful.
In addition to his role as a member of the Utah Consular Corps and the Honorary Consul of Switzerland, Daniel is active in the professional community as an attorney and businessman. He received his Juris Doctor and MBA degrees from Brigham Young University. He has been practicing law since 1988 and remains an active member of the Utah State Bar Association. He previously served in various leadership roles for for-profit firms and non-profit institutions, and as a volunteer for civic and church organizations. He is married to Tamara Bischoff and they are the parents of six children, who have all benefited from living in the beautiful state of Utah and visiting Switzerland as often as they can.
Honorary Consul to Switzerland Daniel Oswald with former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Suzan Gail LeVine