The 41st Annual General Assembly and Reunion, Novotel, Geneva,
11-13 May 2018


41st Annual General Assembly and Reuion
Join us in Geneva in May 2018


Geneva here we come! The 2018 Reunion promises to become a very exciting event in the BAFUNCS calendar with Dr Kofi Annan as our star speaker and the three very appealing excursions we have lined up for you. The venue will be the Novotel, a modern hotel at 19, rue de Zurich in the centre of Geneva, close to the Cornavin main railway station (trains from the airport) and to cafes, restaurants and small shops. It is close to the shores of Lake Geneva and its lovely promenade which we are sure you will want to go and see within minutes of arrival and settling in. In addition the hotel has given us a very special rate for early bookings.

The Friday afternoon programme will see the registration in the hotel lobby accompanied by the usual cup of tea or coffee and the meeting of old and new friends. Registration for the excursions will take place on the floor below where we have procured a special little room for this, close to our main meeting room. The hotel also has a fitness centre which is free for hotel guests to use.

Geneva is an interesting city which apart from housing a large number of UN Organizations and specialised agencies with which we are all familiar for one reason or another is also known as the City of Calvin, and those that decide to go on our city tour will of course be shown the famous monument in the parc des Bastions commemorating the leading figures of the Reformation. The Geneva coat of arms is another example of the city's valiant history which started off in 1293 as two gold keys on a red field symbolising sovereignty within the Holy Roman Empire. In the 15th century the imperial eagle was impaled with the keys with the result that only half of each was shown. It was meant to demonstrate the city's imperial freedom as well as the bishop's sovereignty.  It led however to the local population (and everyone else) making fun of the holy symbols and calling Geneva's coat of arms "Le demi poulet et la clé de la cave" (The half chicken and the key of the (wine) cellar)! The "Light after darkness" (Post tenebras lux) was added at the time of the reformation.


 (a) CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research which straddles the Swiss/French border and is one of the world's leading centres for nuclear research (e.g. the confirmation of the existence of the "Higgs boson" in July 2012). The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) instrumental in this confirmation is the world's largest and most powerful particle collider which was built between 1998 and 2008. It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres in circumference, 175 metres under the French/Swiss border. Another very interesting feature of CERN is its "Space Centre". We will be visiting those experiments that are available at the time and open to visitors, with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable guide.

 (b): A Guided Tour of Geneva: This includes a coach trip, a short walk around the old town and a one hour boat trip on the Lake). It will take in the various UN buildings, the above mentioned monument of the old city. The boat trip concludes the city tour and will cruise around the "Petit Lac" the part of the lake closest to the city.

(c) The Patek Philippe Museum, which houses an extraordinary collection of watch-making masterpieces from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Come and See how Switzerland came to dominate the international watch making industry!

Of course these excursions are only a very small sample of what Geneva and its environment has to offer to those who can spend a little more time exploring. For fear of sounding like a travel brochure, there is Lausanne with the International Olympic museum and the Hermitage museum; Vevey with the Charlie Chaplin Museum; the Castle of Chillon of Lord Byron fame, Montreux, and on the South (French) side Evian, Yvoire and Thonon les Bains. Further up the Rhone valley lies the city of Martigny with extensive Roman ruins and the magnificent Fondation Gianadda with world class temporary art exhibitions. And last but not least the Alps and the Jura all around! In May the spring flowers are at their most beautiful in the mountains. From Chamonix you can take the little cog train up to the fast shrinking (due to global warming) glacier or the cable car up Mont Blanc, Europe's highest mountain! It is all there waiting for you!  

In May Geneva is accessible by direct Easyjet flights from Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as BA and Swiss flights from London Heathrow and London City airports.

The Invitation document, together with the Registration Form,
was sent to members with the September issue of the BAFUNCS Newsletter

Updated 22 October 2017