BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

BD Zoom 2020 prize: over 700 pupils select three finalists

27 February 2020

The BD Zoom prize seeks to raise awareness among school pupils of the amazing richness of French-language comics in Switzerland. The event has moved up a gear this year, with record numbers of pupils (740) taking part and a brand-new weekend celebration of comics to mark the fifth anniversary of the prize.

Almost 50 classes of pupils in their late teens are taking part in the 2020 event. Between November and February, pupils had a chance to discover the amazing richness and diversity of selected works written or published by a French-speaking Swiss author or publisher. The project culminated with the authors making around 130 class visits, which sparked a whole host of poignant conversations. In the end, the classes selected the three finalists, one of which will receive the prize after the final vote on 24 April.

The three finalists are:

  • Femme sauvage by Tom Tirabosco (Futuropolis)
  • L’enquête de l’inspecteur Mc Cullehan by Pierre Schilling (Les requins marteaux)
  • Saccage by Frederik Peeters (Atrabile)

To celebrate the fifth year of the prize, enrolled classes will take part in a weekend comic extravaganza to be held in Carouge on 22-26 April 2020 before the final vote, where they will have a chance to see original work by the six selected authors (A. Baladi, F. Peeters, I. Pralong, P. Schilling, T. Tirabosco, Vamille) on display in the six galleries of the Vieux Carouge district.

Over the weekend, members of the public can also visit the exhibitions and take part in events including meet-and-greet sessions with the authors, screenings, quizzes, debates and even an open-air comic market (detailed schedule to follow).

An innovative partnership

The BD Zoom prize, which includes a cash sum of CHF 10,000, is the result of an innovative partnership between the Department of Public Education, Training and Youth and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation, which is a founding partner. After an initial three-year commitment to the project, the Foundation has extended its support for a further three years. This collaboration dovetails with the Foundation’s other work to foster accessible culture for all and education in Switzerland.

Through the visibility it offers the selected authors, the BD Zoom prize shines a spotlight on the region’s comic book scene and supplements efforts to support reading in the Canton of Geneva. The prize continues the tradition of Illustration, comics and poster art in Geneva, which the Confederation selected for its list of the 165 ongoing traditions that embody the intangible cultural heritage of Switzerland.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

The BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation – Edward Hopper exhibition partner

11 February 2020

From 26 January to 17 May 2020, the Beyeler Foundation is presenting a collection of works by Edward Hopper (1882-1967), one of the foremost American painters of the 20th century.

The BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation is this year’s “multimedia partner”. The exhibition takes the form of a 3D short film entitled Two or Three Things I Know about Edward Hopper directed by famous film director and photographer Wim Wenders.

A retrospective on the theme of landscapes

The Beyeler Foundation exhibition focuses on Hopper’s iconic depictions of the infinite expanses of America’s natural and urban landscapes. This is an aspect that is rarely at the forefront of exhibitions devoted to Hopper, yet it is key to understanding his work and its reception. The exhibition features watercolours and oils from the 1910s to the 1960s, offering a broad and fascinating panorama of the many facets of Hopper’s painting.

Video homage by Wim Wenders

Further enhancing the visitor’s experience, the Beyeler Foundation intends to show a 3D short film by Wim Wenders entitled Two or Three Things I Know about Edward Hopper in one of the exhibition rooms. Intended as an immersive journey into Hopper’s world, the film will offer visitors an extraordinary experience as it delves into the heart of his paintings.

Digital interaction is central to the partnership between the Beyeler Foundation and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Having worked in partnership for many years, in 2018 the Beyeler Foundation and the PNP Paribas Swiss Foundation decided to take their co-operation to a new level. After collaborating on the restoration of major works of art, two years ago the two foundations opted to put new technologies to good use in cultural interpretation.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Polar Access Fund: BNP Paribas supports research on climate change

2 December 2019

For the second year, BNP Paribas is supporting young scientists with their research into climate change. An exhibition in the Bank’s Geneva offices outlines the expeditions sponsored in 2018.

3 years of partnership in support of research

In 2016, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation joined forces with the Swiss Polar Institute to help young researchers take part in an expedition to Antarctica. They embarked aboard the Akademik Treshnikov, a Russian ship, for the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE). This 3-month expedition took them on a complete tour of the Antarctic continent, during which they were able to measure and quantify the impact of environmental changes and pollution in the Southern Ocean.

The Polar Access Fund: open access to the Poles for young researchers.

In 2018, building on the success of this important project, the Foundation and Swiss Polar Institute launched the Polar Access Fund in order to provide vital funding to young scientists conducting research into climate change. Every year, the Polar Access Fund helps between 5 and 10 doctoral and post-doctoral students with grants for as much as CHF 20,000. These grants allow these young researchers to undertake their first scientific expedition in extreme environments like the Polar latitudes.

Discover the expeditions sponsored in 2018

Within the framework of its partnership, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation is committed to supporting and promoting the work of young academic scientists who benefit from the PAF grant.

From 29 November until 20 December, an exhibition, open to the public, has been set up in the Bank’s entrance hall in Geneva. There, you can discover the  5 researchers, their projects and the various expeditions they went on.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation: Official Tanzhaus Zürich partner

21 November 2019

The BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation is delighted to announce a new partnership with Tanzhaus Zürich for the creation of a new contemporary dance troupe: The Field. This is the Swiss Foundation’s first partnership in Zurich and in the field of contemporary dance.

The Field

In 2019, the BNP Paribas Foundation joined forces with Tanzhaus Zürich to support the creation of contemporary dance in Switzerland. A group of five young dancers from Switzerland and abroad will be hosted at Tanzhaus, in order to refine their art form in an optimal environment. The dancers will be free to create performances and various forms of outreach, enabling them to interact with and be inspired by the world around them. The group will be trained by dancer and choreographer Marisa Godoy and Romain Guion throughout the 2019-2020 season.

Fanfare opening

At 6.00 pm on 6 September, a crowd of dance enthusiasts arrived at the institute’s new facilities next to Untere Letten and the Barozzi/Veiga architectural firm, to participate in the first day of the Tanzhaus opening weekend.

Performances were given all throughout day one of love and dance, in three different Tanzhaus studios and in the main foyer. At 8.45 pm, the new company The Field gave its first mini-performance.

For many, such as Zurich’s Mayor Corine Mauch, who gave the opening speech, the evening was an immersion in another world. In addition to opening its doors to the public, Tanzhaus has also opened the public’s eyes to this salle de danse that is already bringing joy to Zurich and its residents.

©Helen Ree

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

The BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation and Realise are committed for the jobs of tomorrow

17 October 2019

On Monday 14 October, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation and réalise signed a three-year partnership agreement jointly founding “OPPORTUNITY, Training today for tomorrow’s job”. Thanks to this programme, an innovative training model that has already proved a success in Geneva will be rolled out across Switzerland.

Together, réalise and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation embody the values of commitment and support for a transition towards a more sustainable, connected and shared growth.


The OPPORTUNITY programme has been jointly set up by the two partners with the aim of introducing the adult education model created by realise with the wish to spread it up to five swiss cantons. It focuses on the most promising economic sectors for present and future employment.

The OPPORTUNITY programme has three main strands:

  1. Understanding the key sectors of the future economy (which will be sustainable and connected)
  2. Identifying employment opportunities related to these growth sectors
  3. Creating hands-on training courses that are accessible to all, including those who currently lack the skills expected by the market


“OPPORTUNITY, Training today for tomorrow’s job” thereby promotes equal opportunities in the shift towards a sustainable, digital and inclusive economy. The programme is the result of the genuinely collaborative approach adopted by its two partners, réalise and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation, and will be developed over a three-year period with the possibility of renewal.

réalise is well-known in Geneva for its work in the field of professional integration for those on the margins of the labour market. Over more than 30 years, réalise has developed a pioneering, pragmatic and effective adult education and return-to-work model. This model is based on the principles of workplace learning, a unique skill identification process, and continuous adaptation to labour market changes.

Created in 2002, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation’s mission is to foster cultural, social and environmental dialogue between the banking world and its local environment. Its aims include promoting education and social inclusion.

The first phase in the OPPORTUNITY programme, which is already underway, consists in rolling out the digital training initiative launched by réalise in Geneva in 2018 across Switzerland. This will be done with the help of Simplon – a social enterprise with strong links to the BNP Paribas Group. Simplon’s aim is to offer free in-person training with certification in digital technical professions to individuals who have “dropped out” of the labour market.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Help2Help: valuing employees’ dedication

29 August 2019

BNP Paribas is committed to supporting our employees who dedicate their time and energy to volunteering causes. The Help2Help programme sponsors our staff to work on voluntary projects within solidarity organisations.

The Help2Help programme across the world

Since 2003, the BNP Paribas Group has been supporting employees who volunteer through the Help2Help programme. Employees working in the volunteering sector in around thirty countries may receive financial assistance to work on a project. The fields of activity include humanitarian aid, healthcare, the environment, and local solidarity. In 2018, a total of EUR 940,000 was spent on 260 projects worldwide.

Help2Help in Switzerland

In Switzerland, the Help2Help programme holds a call for projects once a year. The bank’s employees in Switzerland can submit a project on behalf of the association they volunteer with. A committee of the bank’s employees then meets to select the winners. Since 2004, almost 200 projects have received support from the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation. The projects are rolled out both in Switzerland and abroad. Below are the two winners from 2019.

2019 winner: EVE (Enfant-Vélo-Ecole)

After having been volunteers for several years in an NGO active in South-East Asia and Africa, Magali and Florence decided to set up their own organisation in 2015 with concrete projects for underprivileged groups in Asia: EVE (Enfant-Vélo-Ecole). Their aim is to promote children’s access to education by distributing bicycles in Vietnam and renovating schools in India, as well as providing supplies to a number of schools. They visit the locations as soon as possible to assess logistics, monitor the implementation of projects and track the results on-site.

In 2019, the organisation decided to help a school in the village of Jhenjipani, at an altitude of 1,640 m in the Uttarakand region of India. Accessible only on foot, the village is home to a very poorly equipped primary school. In addition to providing school supplies at the beginning of each school year, the EVE association helped them renovate their furniture and kitchen. This year, thanks to the Help2Help programme, the school will be able to clean up its playground to avoid water accumulating during seasons when heavy rainfall and snow melt occur.

2019 winner: MAA (Maasai Aid Association)

Didier has been a volunteer with the Maasai Aid Association (MAA) for over 15 years as an active member and, more recently, as an auditor. The NGO works for education, health and children’s rights in Maasai countries in Kenya. Recognised as a non-profit, the organisation actively campaigns for the eradication of forced genital mutilation of Maasai girls and receives the support of the canton of Geneva for its awareness-raising initiatives in the villages concerned.

The MAA association received the support of Help2Help in 2019 to build a nursery school for around sixty children in the village of Ilgenchere. An information campaign opposing forced genital mutilation will also be deployed in the region targeting approximately 200 people.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Volunteering hours in support of local organisations

19 July 2019

Since 2018, BNP Paribas Suisse employees have had the option of converting 8 working hours into volunteering hours. The aim is to use these paid hours to help local organisations and boost their impact. As the bank for a changing world, we strive to shape the future and make the world a better place. By promoting solidarity at an individual level, BNP Paribas hopes its employees will share its ambition of making a positive and sustainable impact on society.

A stronger local presence

The bank aims to strengthen its presence and that of its employees in the local community, raise awareness of local issues, and offer meaningful activities. Organisations often need assistance in pursuing their objective.

Last month, around twenty employees from Geneva lent a hand at the Partage food bank. Over two mornings, the teams sorted the food donations that came from the Samedi du Partage. It was the perfect opportunity to learn about Partage, which promotes sustainable development through combating food waste, professional reintegration, and the circular economy.

In Zurich, around a dozen employees assisted a farming family through the Volontaire Montagne (or Bergversetzer) organisation. Over a full day, they supported the family by carrying out repairs, working the land and giving advice on the farm’s marketing and sales strategy for its products.

CSR at the heart of BNP Paribas’s activities in Switzerland

Volunteering hours are part of the bank’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) strategy in Switzerland, which is based on the four economic, social, civic and environmental pillars established by the Group.

For more information, see “A responsible bank”.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

The BD Zoom 2019 Award inspires animated discussion

7 May 2019

For three years, BNP Paribas (Suisse) has been working alongside the Department of Public Education, Training and Youth (Département de l’instruction publique, de la formation et de la jeunesse – DIP) in the canton of Geneva to explore the amazing variety of comic books in French-speaking Switzerland.

This year, three finalists stood out in particular owing to the topics they deal with.

20 years ago, no-one would have asked me into classes to promote reading. They would have invited a novelist.”


An award promoting the amazing variety of comic books in French-speaking Switzerland

The BD Zoom Award aims above all to encourage reading among young people in French-speaking Switzerland, while casting a spotlight on the rather unique format of comic books.

“It is an incredible public-private partnership that is extremely beneficial,” stated Nadia Keckeis from the DIP.

Over the past few months, secondary school students in the canton of Geneva have had the opportunity to meet and interact with authors, and to read and critique their work. After studying their work, the students shortlisted three comics:


The three authors visited classrooms across Geneva to talk to students about their comics and the job of a comic book author and storyteller. The conversations were just as rewarding for the students as for the authors – a reminder that books are created with and by the reader.

After studying for five years, I felt it important to speak about a serious and personal topic. I wanted to share my family’s experience, but using humour rather than pathos.”

Emilie Gleason

Championing difference, recognising unhappiness and raising awareness about protecting the environment

The finalists covered major, yet very different, topics ranging from autism and the existential quest to the importance of protecting the environment. However, they all shared one common theme: loneliness.

Also drawing inspiration from her personal experience, Maurane Mazars speaks about her hero, Piet, who suffers from anxiety and lives and breathes music. “This comic is inspired partly by my own experience, but transposed into another context: music”.

For Zep, The End stems from an African story about antelopes being poisoned by trees that were defending themselves against a growing antelope population. This story was a factor that prompted research into the intelligence of trees. It inspired him to write a fictional story that sometimes bears a close resemblance to reality.

TED, a firm favourite among the young audience…

Around 300 students were given the opportunity to attend a meet-and-greet with the three finalists at the Geneva Book Fair. The authors fielded questions in a Q&A session and even sketched out a few comic strips for the audience. At the end of the event, the students chose their favourite comic from the three finalists.

The BD Zoom 2019 Award was presented to Émilie Gleason for Ted, drôle de coco in the presence of Anne Emery-Torracinta, State Councillor responsible for the DIP and Igor Joly, delegate general of the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation.

…And BNP Paribas in Switzerland’s employees

BNP Paribas in Switzerland staff also participated in the students’ BD Zoom Award activities. After finding out which three comics had been shortlisted, they selected their own favourite comic book last Thursday after a special meeting with the three authors.

As was the case for the students, Émilie Gleason’s comic TED, drôle de Coco was the most popular among staff.

They were moved by the young author’s story and the messages conveyed through her comic strip.

This meeting between staff and authors inspired some animated discussion. One colleague at BNP Paribas in Switzerland said, “In addition to introducing us to books that we would not otherwise look for, the BD Zoom Award allowed us to get to know the authors and have a real dialogue with them.”

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Polar Access Fund: 2018 in review

In 2018, the Polar Access Fund awarded scholarships to students engaged in research on global warning for the first time. We take a look back at a busy year for the PAF, a programme designed to ...

8 January 2019

In 2018, the Polar Access Fund awarded scholarships to students engaged in research on global warning for the first time. We take a look back at a busy year for the PAF, a programme designed to give students from leading Swiss research centres the opportunity to visit the most far-flung corners of the planet.

The PAF: a demanding programme

The Polar Access Fund calls for applications from students engaged in doctoral or post-doctoral studies at Swiss universities and research facilities. These students, working in a variety of fields, are all united by a scientific interest in the phenomena observed at the world’s poles as a result of global warming. After the cut-off date for applications, a panel of experts meets to select the winning projects and divide the available funds between these expeditions. The judging criteria focus primarily on the value added by the research projects, and the scientific benefits of each expedition.

Covering a broad array of topics

The 2018 programme awarded grants to five researchers, including three women, from four Swiss institutions (the University of Zürich, ETH Zürich, Paul Scherrer Institute and the Federal Institute for Research on Forests, Snow and Landscapes). The successful applicants travelled to Greenland, Siberia and Bhutan during the summer of 2018, collecting samples and observing natural phenomena.

The research topics covered include glacial melting, microbial populations in frozen lakes and aerosol concentrations in the Arctic. All are affected by global warming, and serve as clear indicators of climate change in action. Studying these phenomena is essential to understanding the scale of the disruption which climate change is wreaking upon our planet.

Eef van Dongen finally got to witness ice calving at close range, an impressive experience: “After studying the theory of calving glaciers for almost a year, it was very impressive to see a calving glacier in reality. I did not expect the sound of icebergs breaking off and falling into the sea to be that loud. It is almost like hearing a thunderstorm”.

Applications open now for 2019

The application window for this year’s round of funding is open until 15 January 2019. Grants of up to 20,000 CHF are awarded to eligible projects.

For more information on the 2018 expeditions, visit the SPI website.


In 2016, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation joined forces with the Swiss Polar Institute to help young researchers take part in an expedition to Antarctica. In 2018, building on the success of this important project, the Fondation and SPI launched the Polar Access Fund in order to provide vital funding to young scientists conducting research into climate change.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Engagement Week : Our employees are committed!

While the bank organised a week devoted to the themes of BNP Paribas' Company Engagement from 19th to 23rd November in Switzerland, nearly 200 employees committed to using sustainable transport ...

30 November 2018

While the bank organised a week devoted to the themes of BNP Paribas’ Company Engagement from 19th to 23rd November in Switzerland, nearly 200 employees committed to using sustainable transport for their commutes to and from work. Together they saved the CO2 equivalent of 10 return trips between Paris-Geneva by car! The Commitment Week presented an opportunity for BNP Paribas in Switzerland to highlight its strategy to be a more responsible bank and its positive impact initiatives developed locally, as well as some of the major challenges relating to sustainable development such as the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) or the socio-professional integration of migrants in Geneva. The Engagement Week provided the chance to meet up, exchange ideas and debate issues in direct relation to current affairs. Themes such as positive economy, inclusion, positive impact and the environment were at the heart of these discussions during the conferences, sharing sessions, forum and screening of short films. Approximately 20,000 kilometres were covered by soft mobility, thanks to the efforts of employees in Geneva, Zurich and Lugano who came to work by carpooling, by bike, by foot or by public transport. Perhaps an invitation to permanently change our modes of transport?