The Fondation Lombard Odier gives the Extraordinary Voyages Prize that awarded five projects exploring spirituality, craftsmanship and passion

The Fondation Lombard Odier gives the Extraordinary Voyages Prize that awarded five projects exploring spirituality, craftsmanship and passion

The Fondation Lombard Odier awarded the 18th Extraordinary Voyages Prize at L’Abri – a cultural space for young talent in Geneva. Five travel-oriented projects submitted by seven secondary school seniors were rewarded by the jury.

On Wednesday 17 May, the Fondation Lombard Odier awarded the 18th “Prix des Voyages Extraordinaires” (Extraordinary Voyages Prize). On this occasion, it presented five prizes rewarding the projects of seven young students from French-speaking Switzerland eager to travel the world and discover diverse individuals and their culture. “Embarking on an Extraordinary Voyage can be a very significant moment on the threshold of one’s working life. The prize strives to encourage a taste for discovery and the entrepreneurial spirit of young people. Our planet encompasses an infinite diversity, and there is none better than youth with its curiosity, fresh perspective and taste for adventure to understand and experience its many dimensions,” explains Patrick Odier, Chairman of the Fondation Lombard Odier.

Peggy Bouchet, a renowned sailor and adventurer, sponsored the 2017 edition. She presented five grants ranging from CHF 2,500 to CHF 6,500 to enable each young prize-winner to carry through his or her project: “I am proud to sponsor the Extraordinary Voyages Prize. I share the values, spirit of adventure, curiosity, openness to other cultures, and sharing embodied in this award. In the present climate that can be bleak and stressful, it is more important than ever to encourage young people to cultivate their projects and give ambition to their dreams.”

Created to mark the bicentennial celebration of Lombard Odier and launched in 2000, the Extraordinary Voyages Prize aims to instil young students finishing secondary school with a sense of discovery, a better knowledge of our environment and of its protection, and the recognition of different cultures and peoples. It originated from an excerpt from Chapter XII “From the Earth to the Moon”, one of the many novels by Jules Verne. In this book of adventures, Lombard Odier is specifically mentioned among the subscribers to this imaginary expedition.

...Subscription lists were opened in all the principal cities of the Union, with a central office at the Baltimore Bank, 9 Baltimore Street. In addition, subscriptions were received at the following banks in the different states of the two contents:
...
In Geneva, at Lombard, Odier and Co.;
...
Three days after the manifesto of President Barbicane, $4,000,000 were paid into the different towns of the Union...
...
Two hundred and fifty-seven francs, this was the modest contribution of Switzerland to the American work. One must freely admit that she did not see the practical side of the matter. It did not seem to her that the mere despatch of a shot to the moon could possibly establish any relation of affairs with her; and it did not seem prudent to her to embark her capital in so hazardous an enterprise. After all, perhaps she was right.

Aimed at all young people in the French-speaking part of Switzerland reaching the end of secondary school, the 2017 Extraordinary Voyages Prize saw the participation of 40 students, with 25 applications presented. “The Prize is open to all French-speaking cantons. We have noted, however, that the majority of participants are based in Geneva, and are primarily secondary school students,” said Olivier Maradan, Secretary-General of the Intercantonal Conference of Public Education of French-Speaking Switzerland and of Ticino (CIIP) and a member of the jury. “We would very much like to see more young people from Vaud, Valais, Freiburg, Neuchâtel, Jura and Bern participate in the 2018 edition.” The 2018 applications will be opened next autumn (www.prixdesvoyagesextraordinaires.ch).

Prize-winners of the 18th Extraordinary Voyages Prize (2017 edition)

1st prize: A la rencontre d'artisans (Mongolie - Altaï) (Meeting craftsmen: Mongolia - Altai)
Tamara Bertoletti and Christophe Domec
of the Collège Calvin secondary school in Geneva would like to set off to meet Mongolian craftsmen. They will travel by bicycle in order to be not merely spectators, but also actors. They will stay with craftsmen to immerse themselves in their expertise, skill and creations. By way of writing, drawing and photography, they will be able to keep track of their encounters and of the practices to which they are exposed.

2nd prize: A la recherche du bonheur (un triptyque sur trois continents) (In search of happiness - a triptych on three continents)
Inspired by the book Eat, Pray, Love, Juliette Ruf of the Collège de Saussure in Geneva decided to set off to study the concept of happiness in three countries: India, New Zealand and Costa Rica. Keenly interested in the human element, she wants to study psychology at university. The search for happiness is a subject that she feels particularly passionate about. The first stage of her journey is to observe and immerse herself in the realisation of happiness through a utopia. By embarking on a road trip through New Zealand during a second stage, Juliette Ruf will attempt another happiness experiment and, as part of the final experiment, she will try her hand at volunteer work by supporting the conservation of a special ecosystem: that of Costa Rica.

3rd prize: L’opéra vertical (The vertical opera)
Camila Acevedo of the Centre for Professional Training in the Arts wants to travel around the world and follow her passion: climbing. To record her adventure, she will write, draw and take photos. She will set off to meet climbing communities in South America, Oceania and Africa. These places will expose her to very different styles of rock-climbing, with a variety of stone types. Her adventure will span one year: six months of travelling and seven months of preparation.

4th prize: Voyage dans les hauteurs spirituelles (Journey into spiritual heights)
Meditation is the central theme of the journey proposed by Alexis Girardet from the Collège Rousseau in Geneva. The choice of countries and places to visit clearly reflects this interest: India, Nepal and their ashrams. Although his aim is to visit the most unique places to practise meditation, Alexis Girardet also wants to explore these fascinating countries, with their rich history and civilisation, and observe the mysteries contained in them by giving priority to public transport to foster meetings with local residents.

5th prize: A la recherche de la sobriété heureuse (In search of happy sobriety)
Fascinated by the book Vers la sobriété heureuse by Pierre Rabhi, Alexandra Bolea and Leo Schmidt of the Collège Emilie-Gourd decided to visit India, Nepal and Japan. This journey is consistent with the book’s message, the goal being to experience a different way of life that is less stressful. By visiting the holy sites of each country and living with the inhabitants, they want to share a human experience that transcends a simple trip. The search for simplicity and moderation are values they will seek to reinforce in these three countries where spirituality plays a key role.