22.05.2019 - Bringing together ambassadors and other representatives of the Berne and Geneva diplomatic communities, members of the Swiss local government, heads of intergovernmental organizations and staff, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) held a tree planting ceremony at its Berne headquarters on 21 May.
The event was held as part of the yearlong celebrations of the UPU’s 145th Anniversary and its long historical involvement with both the City of Berne and Switzerland. In 1874, 22 countries came to the Swiss city to sign the Treaty of Berne, and to take the first steps towards the international postal network that spans the globe today.
In opening remarks at the ceremony, the UPU’s Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz offered a special welcome to the diplomatic community and said, “The linden tree we plant today, has a long association with the international postal sector, and in particular, letter writing.”
He noted that the linden tree’s bark, which is easily folded, was once used to write some of the first letters and was a representation of the organization’s own work. “Such a tree is a fitting motif for the UPU’s own 145-year history and the emphasis we place on communication, and on building cooperation globally,” Mr Clivaz said.
Earlier, Felix Peijnenborgh from the University of the Arts Bern, played Gustav Mahler’s famous post horn solo from Symphony No. 3 after a short introduction about the brass or copper instrument. In writing about the solo, Mahler had specified the solo should be in the style of the post horn, which has no valves and was used by mail coaches to signal the delivery of mail. The image of the post horn is also the logo of many postal operators.
In a fitting end to the ceremony, Mr Peijnenborgh played a number of signals on the post horn and explained their use in mail delivery.
Afterwards, participants attended a special toast to the UPU given by the Mayor of Berne, Alec von Graffenried. During his remarks, the Mayor of Berne affirmed the importance of the UPU and said that, in an age of parcels and e-commerce, postal services were needed today more than ever.
Introducing the Mayor of Berne, Mr Clivaz reinforced the importance the UPU places on its relations with the Swiss local government and diplomatic community. He also congratulated the Secretary General of the Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF), Wolfgang Küpper, who was present, on his recent election.