It is with extreme sadness that we had to take leave, on 23 June last, of Professor Pierre du Bois who died suddenly at the age of 64. He was a core member of the teaching team at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (HEI) from 1992, visiting professor at the Rober Schuman University (Strasbourg), at the Diplomatische Akademie (Vienna) and at the Fondation européenne Titulescu/Ministère des Affaires étrangères de Roumanie, as well as President of the Association Rencontres Suisses - Treffpunkt Schweiz from 1996 to 2001.
All those who had the privilege to come in contact with him will keep the memory of a highly knowledgeable, kind, thoughtful and cheerful man. During the funeral service on 28 June, his former colleagues, Federal Minister Pascal Couchepin and the former national minister of Canton of Vaud and deputy, Philippe Pidoux, spoke highly of his qualities of the heart and the spirit, making this ceremony particularly heartbreaking and warm at the same time.
His fields of research covered European integration, East-West relations, international economic relations and Swiss external relations. In particular, he published: « Switzerland and the economic area » and « Swiss-German and Swiss-French between unity and discord ».
For the Rencontres Suisses he was a worthy successor to Professor Jean-François Bergier, pursuing a critical but admiring analysis of the evolution of our country. In this respect, in 2001, he wrote: « Even when eroded, its identity resists uniformity. Based on almost institutionalised equilibria, its legendary political stability thus continues to exert its strength in the competition between nations. Direct democracy, disconcerting though it is, remains exemplary. The economy, despite the problems, remains solid, efficient and credible. Special case? Normal case? In the end, faced with challenges for the future, it is on the constructive dialogue between change and permanence, between tradition and renewal, that the future of the Confederation depends. ».
Contact, Rencontres suisses, Nouvelle société helvétique
1st year, No. 2, October 2007