Christine Schraner Burgener becomes the new State Secretary

The Federal Council appointed Christine Schraner Burgener as the new State Secretary for Migration at its meeting on 24 February 2021. On 1 January 2022, she took over as head of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) from Mario Gattiker.

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Christine Schraner Burgener, 57, has a wealth of professional experience in Switzerland and abroad. She has a deep understanding of both the Federal Administration and international diplomacy, along with exceptional leadership, communication and negotiation skills. In appointing Ms Burgener, the Federal Council recognises the increasingly interconnected nature of migration policy among European countries as well as the importance of working with countries of origin and transit.

Ms Burgener grew up in Tokyo until the age of ten. She studied law in Zurich before joining the FDFA diplomatic service in 1991. After working as an attaché at the Swiss Embassy in Morocco, she came to Bern to take up a position as deputy head of the Human Rights Section. She then worked at the Swiss Embassy in Dublin as a counsellor to the ambassador to Ireland, a job-sharing role she held together with her husband. Back in Bern, Ms Burgener joined the FDFA's Directorate of International Law, initially as head of the Human Rights Policy section with a focus on Asia and later as deputy director and head of the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law division. She was ambassador to Thailand from 2009 to 2015 and then ambassador to Germany until 2018, when UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed her Special Envoy for Myanmar.

Curriculum vitae of Christine Schraner Burgener

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Born on 25 September 1963 in Meiringen BE (place of origin: Dübendorf ZH, Wil AG and Visp VD

Lived in Tokyo

Primary education at the German School of Tokyo

Primary and secondary school in Winterberg and Grafstal, canton of Zurich

Cantonal school in Winterthur, Academic Baccalaureate

Master’s degree in law from the University of Zurich Thesis on ‘The welfare rights of foreign nationals in Switzerland’ under Professor D. Thürer

Worked during studies for Weber Cie. Zurich, responsible for developing the computerisation of vending machine repairs and accounting

Legal clerk at the Horgen District Court with a focus on juvenile criminal law, inheritance law and bankruptcy law; chairperson of the arbitration service for tenancy disputes, chairperson of the arbitration service for labour disputes

Joined the Swiss diplomatic service at the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs, internship in the International Law section

Attaché at the Embassy of Switzerland in Morocco (Rabat)

Deputy head of the Human Rights section (duties: developing a dialogue on human rights with China; author of the dispatch on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; member of the Swiss delegation to the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing)

Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Switzerland in Ireland (Dublin), with the title of Counsellor of the Embassy (position shared with husband)

Head of the Human Rights Policy section (position shared with husband; focus on Asia)

Staff position working for the head of the Human Security section (focus on communication and events)

Vice director of the International Law directorate, head of the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law section

Deputy director of the International Law directorate, with the title of Ambassador

Swiss ambassador to Thailand

Swiss ambassador to Germany

UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Myanmar, with the title of Under-Secretary-General

Secretary of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC); head of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Combating Terrorism; member of the Swiss Coordination Unit against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (KSMM), an interdepartmental working group within the Federal Department for Justice and Police (FDJP); co-president of the International Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Dublin (2008).

Other information:
Joint organiser of the Conference for Female Lawyers in Switzerland(Feministische Juristinnen-Tagung Schweiz)

President of the Staff Association of the Swiss Confederation (Personalverband des Bundes PVB), FDFA Section

Member of the parents’ council of Spitalacker School, Bern

Violinist in the amateur orchestra ‘Instrumentalkollegium Bern’

Civil status:
Married to Christoph Burgener, two children (Justine, born 1996, and Vincent, born 1999)

German, French, English, Japanese

Violin, cooking, reading, swimming, photography, cycling, skiing, travel