When laying down its international strategy in April 2004, Pro Helvetia decided to engage more intensively in Asia. As a first move, it sets up a liaison office in India. Next, it wishes to intensify cultural ties with China. With the country programme «Swiss Chinese Cultural Explorations», the Swiss Arts Council is preparing to encounter the Middle Kingdom and to build up its first networks there.
This project coincides with the Swiss Federal Council’s decision to take part in the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai and to launch a campaign to decide on how Switzerland is to be represented. Between the two major events, the Summer Olympics 2008 in Beijing and the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, Pro Helvetia will be present in China with its cultural programme under the auspices of Presence Switzerland.
The programme aims to achieve a rapprochement between the two countries on a cultural level. Emphasis is also placed on long-term exchanges between artists and institutions from Switzerland and China.