Swiss ambassador visits Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

Left to right: Dora Fitzli, Urs Ziswiler, and Brett Tyler.

Left to right: Dora Fitzli, Urs Ziswiler, and Brett Tyler.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 28, 2007 – The Swiss Ambassador to the United States visited the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) on Nov. 9, 2007, as part of a two-day visit to Virginia Tech.

His Excellency Swiss Ambassador Urs Ziswiler and Dora Fitzli, counselor for science and technology at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C., were given an overview of the activities of the institute by VBI Professor Brett Tyler before taking part in facilities tour. The tour included a visit to research laboratories and data centers, an overview of VBI's Core Laboratory Facility by Director Rick Jensen, as well as a demonstration of VBI's video conferencing facility led by Guy Cormier, VBI's chief information officer.

Ziswiler was appointed ambassador of Switzerland to the United States on March 25, 2006.

He most recently served as head of the Directorate of Political Affairs at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland, and as senior diplomatic advisor to the minister of foreign affairs. Since joining the Swiss Foreign Service in 1979, Ambassador Ziswiler has held a number of postings both in Bern, Switzerland, and abroad, including ambassador to Canada and the Bahamas (1999-2004), charge d'affaires for Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (1993), as well as deputy chief of mission of the Swiss embassies in Buenos Aires (1994-95), Tel Aviv (1988-90), Kinshasa, Lagos and Oslo (1980-85).

Ziswiler holds a law degree from the University of Geneva and the University of Zuerich, Switzerland, and has a post-graduate diploma on developing countries from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

The Ambassador also visited Virginia Tech's System X supercomputer facility at the Corporate Research Center before participating in several meetings with students and staff of the University to discuss Virginia Tech initiatives in Switzerland.