Been living under a rock this past week? Otherwise, it’s difficult not to notice the helicopters buzzing overhead, the military boats in the harbor (a jarring juxtaposition with the swans), and the extra security presence along Geneva’s roads/borders. Maybe you’ve seen the uninviting barbed wire looped around the lakeside parks and Jet d’Eau? Or perhaps your child’s school or activities have been cancelled this Wednesday?
No doubt about it, something is definitely up in our tranquil city. The cause for all this hoopla? Yes, the US/Russia summit is coming to the ‘Capital of Peace.’ On Wednesday, 16 June, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden will be meeting at the Villa Grange (located in Parc la Grange). Starting today through Thursday, expect major disruptions to traffic flow as the city center is transformed into a security zone from 4:00 to midnight on Wednesday. Vehicles and the public will be banned from the entire area.
So why Geneva for this summit? Hosting these leaders on Wednesday represents an achievement for the city, strengthening its role as a peacekeeper and diplomatic hub. Many conferences take place throughout the year here, addressing international crises and geopolitical tensions. Switzerland is viewed as having a sufficiently neutral position, which helps attract parties who may not see eye-to-eye.
We won’t take a deep dive into geopolitics here, but for more reading, the international press corps will have you covered! And, if you must travel across town on Wednesday, you might consider packing your swimsuit and flippers (perhaps the best way to get from Geneva’s right and left bank in a timely fashion!)
Are you a long-time Geneva resident? Do you remember previous summits that brought the city to a standstill? What do you think of the city’s preparations so far? Tell us in the comments below!
We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to learn more about our activities and excursions, visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/