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Monuments and racist heritage in public areas

In November 2020, the City initiated a far-reaching thought process concerning the question of the homage paid in public areas to personalities who encouraged racism and colonialism.

First phase of the project

The first phase of the project involved commissioning a study from professors Mohamed Mahmoud Mohamedou and Davide Rodogno of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID). This study identified the monuments and symbols present in public areas within the City of Geneva referring to personalities who encouraged racism, in particular anti-black racism, and colonialism.

This first phase, overseen by the Agenda 21 – Sustainable City Service and the External Relations and Communication Service, was monitored by a working group comprising representatives of the Collectif Afro-Swiss (CAS), the Carrefour de réflexion et d’action contre le racisme anti-Noir (CRAN), the Université populaire africaine en Suisse (UPAF) and various services of the City of Geneva. This group determined the scope of the IHEID study and accompanied its implementation until its publication on 1 March 2022.

Second phase of the project

The second phase of the project aims to define the solutions that could be introduced to meet remembrance needs while combating the racism represented by the monuments identified, and to implement these solutions gradually within a framework of open dialogue which will continue to bring together all the associations directly concerned by the issue.

By the end of 2022, the first tangible actions will be opened to consultation by the City of Geneva, calling on the civil society, the academic and political milieus, the heritage sector and the public administration of the City, the Canton and any other municipalities interested.

In the meantime, the City intends to promote the ongoing thought process publicly through temporary artistic happenings focusing on certain monuments. These events, still to be defined, should help make the general public more aware of these issues.


Discover all the actions carried out so far within the framework of the project:

  • August Christoph Carl Vogt (1817-1895): following renovation work on the Bastions university building initiated by the Canton of Geneva, the bust of Genevan scientist and politician Carl Vogt has been temporarily removed from its usual location, in front of the entrance to the building. In March 2023, an information panel was installed near the site to inform the population about it. The panel can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.


Between March and May 2021, four public events were organised by the City of Geneva to initiate dialogue on the issue, within the framework of Equality Week and Anti-Racism Week in the City of Geneva, bringing together different cities facing similar situations at the Musée d'ethnographie de Genève (MEG).

To accompany the launch of the second phase, two round tables will be held on 7 March 2022 at the Maison de la Paix, as part of the Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), and on 23 March 2022 as part of Anti-Racism Week in the City of Geneva.

The programme was initiated within the scope of the mayoral year 2020 of Mr Sami Kanaan, Executive Councillor responsible for Culture and Digital Transition. It is overseen by the Agenda 21 – Sustainable City Service in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Digital Transition (DCTN).


Service Agenda 21 - Ville durable - Diversité

Bertrand Cassegrain

Chargé de projet

5, rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville




Tél. 022 418 23 89


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Article modifié le 26.07.2023 à 11:38