21st Extraordinary Voyages Prize awarded to six school leavers in French-speaking Switzerland

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21st Extraordinary Voyages Prize awarded to six school leavers in French-speaking Switzerland

On Thursday, Fondation Lombard Odier awarded the 21st Extraordinary Voyages Prize to six school leavers in French-speaking Switzerland. The 21st ceremony was held online and coloured by the pandemic and, more broadly, by fundamental trends such as climate change, rising inequalities and public health.

"The Extraordinary Voyages Prize has always encouraged self-discovery and reflection, an understanding of the world around us and entrepreneurial spirit, values that our Group holds dear," says Patrick Odier, Chairman of Fondation Lombard Odier. "In light of the current pandemic and, more broadly, trends in the areas of climate change, rising inequality and public health, the 2020 winners will voyage in a world undergoing a seismic transformation. This experience will, without doubt, enrich their personal awareness and feed into their professional life."

The Extraordinary Voyages Prize has always encouraged self-discovery and reflection, an understanding of the world around us and entrepreneurial spirit, values that our Group holds dear

The prize was awarded to six French-speaking Swiss school-leavers from Canton Vaud and Geneva. The purpose and content of their proposed trips impressed the jury and the projects were carefully selected from 40 applications submitted by school leavers. The prizes were awarded via a live streaming event on Thursday, 25 June, in the presence of Patrick Odier and Pierre Jaccard, founder of the travel agency Au Tigre Vanillé – Le Cercle des Voyageurs. This digital ceremony offered an opportunity for the students and panel to discuss travel and its new forms in light of environmental and social considerations.

The 2020 winning projects include a hiking trip in America to reconnect with nature and oneself, a journey following in the footsteps of a great-grandfather deported to Siberia, a modern-day adventure along the ancient Silk Road in China, a quest in search of family roots in Russia, and a pilgrimage across the five sacred mountains of China. The projects will be an opportunity for these young people to grow and discover themselves.

My project is to complete the Pacific Crest Trail, a long hike of 4,260 kilometres joining the Mexican border to the Canadian border

Created on Lombard Odier's bicentenary in 2000 and aimed at all school leavers in French-speaking Switzerland, the Extraordinary Voyages Prize has enabled more than one hundred young people to make the journey of their dreams in more than 60 different countries, while sharing their stories with the public on the Fondation Lombard Odier’s website.

Follow the winners and read their travel diaries here: www.prixdesvoyagesextraordinaires.ch

5th prize – "A spiritual voyage of discovery and (re)discovery – 2,800 km by train and foot across the five sacred mountains of China"

Ms Lou Schweizer, Collège Claparède, Geneva

"During my gap year, I plan to travel across China to discover Chinese culture and the places of pilgrimage known as the five sacred mountains. By covering this route, I aim to hone my hiking and painting skills. Ultimately, I want to find myself."


4th prize – "Dreams and roots"

Ms Alexandra Lagutova, Collège Claparède, Geneva

"I would like to travel by train through the places where my roots and dreams lie, accompanied by my sketch book. The journey starts from Switzerland and involves visiting Russia – one of my roots – and discovering Japan, the country of my dreams."


3rd prize – "The new Silk Road by land, sea and air"

Mr Sasha Gutenmacher and Ms Julie Bron, CEC Emilie Gourd, Geneva

"Two students' dream to cross Asia, following the thread of the ancient Silk Road, now revived by present day by China. A journey planned around exploring diverse cultures and experiencing the unexpected. A pilgrimage with bags on backs and heads full of dreams."


2nd prize – "Deported to Siberia"

Mr Marcin Kroczak, Gymnase de Nyon, Vaud

"Retracing the steps of my great-grandfather and visiting the place of his death will be like putting a full stop at the end of this chapter in my family's history. Far from forgetting the past, this will complete the story so that it can be read and understood by generations to come."


1st prize – "4,260 km on foot"

Ms Alexandra Coutau, Collège Voltaire, Geneva

"My project is to complete the Pacific Crest Trail, a long hike of 4,260 kilometres joining the Mexican border to the Canadian border. While walking, I hope to reconnect with nature, with others and with myself."

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