Young, engaging, extraordinary Ambassador to Switzerland Bernard Faustino M. Dy
Betsy Jance von Atzigen, Switzerland FB Photo courtesy of Bernardo Faustino Dy (left), with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo The Philippine Commission on Appointments confirmed in December 2022 Bernard Faustino Dy as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Confederation with concurrent jurisdiction over the Principality of Liechtenstein. Ambassador Dy is a valued public figure, a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) changemaker, past president of the Junior Chamber International (Jaycees International is a non-profit international non-governmental organisation of young people between 18 and 40), The Outstanding Young Men Award ( TOYM ’18), father and husband. On the 125th Anniversary of Philippine Independence and Nationhood at the Philippine Embassy in Berne, Switzerland, Ambassador Bernard Dy graciously responded to on spot questions by Betsy Jance von Atzigen, Roots & Wings (Rawmags) editor in chief. Betsy von Atzigen: Welcome to Switzerland Ambassador Bernard Dy! Ambassador Dy : It is a pleasure and an honour for me to meet and be with our Filipino Community here in Switzerland as we commemorate our 125th Philippine Independence Day. This is my first post. I’m not a career diplomat from DFA. I come from the local government as Mayor (of Cauayan, Isabela) for 9 years and it’s a totally new ball game for me, coming from the local, and now international. I’m looking forward to it and feeling the warmth and hospitality of the Filipino community here in Switzerland. Have you met the Filipino community of Switzerland earlier? Yes, I already attended the Philippine Independence Day celebration in other parts of Switzerland and have met Filipino communities. It’s been a wonderful reception, feeling the warmth of the Filipino community. Roots & Wings readers from the Filipino communities across Europe are trending this interview. What message have you got to everyone on the 125th Philippine Independence celebration? I personally as well as the (Philippine) President always mention this that we have the utmost respect for our Filipinos abroad because they are really the ambassadors of our nation. And now as we celebrate 125 years of nationhood, it is just but right and necessary for us to really acknowledge the Filipinos living abroad because they are the epitome of Filipinos. They have the resiliency despite the challenges that they face - despite being away from their families, Filipinos are still putting in a good name in front of the global community. With that, I want to express my utmost respect and I salute all Filipinos across the globe. Talking about Filipinos bringing families abroad, may I ask, Is your family with you ? Would you tell us about your family? My family is not physically with me here in Switzerland. They’re in Vienna and hopefully they’ll follow in the summer holidays. My kids are 5 and 8 years old, both boys and mostly German now because the mom is German. They have been residing in Vienna but the kids still have that great Filipino blood in them, enjoying adobo, pansit and lumpia! One final question and perhaps the most important. What plans have you got for the Filipino community here in Switzerland? What can we expect from your ambassadorship, from your leadership? Coming from the local government, I’m really geared towards enhancing the sustainability aspect, which is also aligned with the President wanting a digitalized and innovative nation. It’s a blessing in disguise that I’m posted here in Switzerland. This is the most innovative country. Apart from that, we see the resiliency of Filipinos coming from different sectors and industries. So far I’ve seen that we can build …our nation and make it stronger. Some of our Filcom leaders I met earlier are worried that the second generation are not as active anymore. I think this is one of the things which I can bring on as I am part of the youth sector. If I engage them, there’s a possibility that we can make them live the values of our Filipino people. With that, and on behalf of the Roots & Wings Team, Betsy thanked Ambassador Bernard Dy and wished him all the best in his new assignment among approx. 18,000 Filipinos in Switzerland. May we maintain the love for our Motherland, wherever we are in the world!