The “Extraordinary Voyages Prize” honours five ambitious projects


Fondation Lombard Odier awarded the Extraordinary Voyages Prize at Lausanne’s Théâtre de Vidy to seven female students. These seven young women have been honoured with the opportunity to embark on five outstanding and ambitious travel projects. The trips will cover all corners of the earth, ranging from the Mekong to Iran.

“I am happy to say that in presenting the projects of these women from French-speaking Switzerland, the Extraordinary Voyages Prize has fully achieved the objectives that Fondation Lombard Odier set itself when it launched eighteen years ago. The ambition and desire to witness and be enriched by what makes others different can leave no one unmoved”, says Patrick Odier, President of Fondation Lombard Odier.

On Wednesday 16 May, at the Théâtre Vidy in Lausanne, the 19th Extraordinary Voyages Prize was awarded to seven female students from French-speaking Switzerland. The students came from different Genevan colleges, displaying very different but equally ambitious projects. From a celebration of leisure in Japan in the footsteps of an artist, to a rediscovery of poetry in Iran, and a perspective of the status of women at the world’s highest-lying regions in China and Tibet; there’s no doubt that these journeys will be extraordinary. The winners inspired enthusiasm in the jury who, this year, had to evaluate 24 submissions by 35 candidates from Geneva, Jura and Fribourg.

Created in the year 2000 to celebrate Lombard Odier’s bicentenary, and open to all young people from French-speaking Switzerland in their last year of school, the Extraordinary Voyages Prize has enabled 95 young people to make their dreams come true and share their experiences with the general public, through the Prize’s own website or through other media.

There are five grants awarded ranging from CHF 2,500 to CHF 6,500 for the 2018 prizewinners:

5th prize: Matilde Ravano – “Engraving Japan on the go”

Fascinated by the precision and possibilities of engraving, as well as its richness and history, Matilde Ravano from Collège Claparède has decided to travel to Japan. Matilde hopes to follow in the footsteps of Hiroshige, and discover his works and landscapes. Undertaking this journey will also enable her to “physically” reproduce a work of art that is inspired by her travels. That is why Mathilde wants to journey by foot, bike or bus, which will enable her to develop a new style, in a leisurely way.

4th prize: Mauranne Falise – “Rooted in the future”

Mauranne Falise, from Collège Sismondi, has decided to visit six European cities (Freiburg im Breisgau, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo and Reykjavik) famous for their sustainable development endeavours. She will contact at least one local business or association in each city that promotes sustainable, innovative or fair values. She will spend a month with each of them, doing voluntary work and finding out how they operate, their ideas and, above all, getting to know the men and woman who are part of these change-making companies.

3rd prize: Apolline Dufeil – “Down the Mekong and into my dreams”

Apolline Dufeil, from Collège Claparède, will travel through three Asian countries – Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. She will travel by boat, along the Mekong, so that her work will capture memories made along the water. Afterwards, she will intertwine her artistic notebooks to capture the complexity of the people she will meet and of her dreams. The notebooks are a reminder of the fact that everyone has the right to dream. Every aspect of this work of art will showcase a part of her journey.

2nd prize: Rayane Chraiti and Philippine Coutau – “The way of poetry”

Inspired by Amin Maalouf’s book “Samarkand”, Rayane Chraiti and Philippine Coutau, from Collège Claparède in Geneva, have decided to travel to Iran and Uzbekistan, to discover these countries through poetry. They will travel by bicycle to enjoy the countryside and reduce their environmental footprint. They will create an anthology of poems from different sources and eras, illustrated by memories of the journey. Rayane and Philippine will keep artistic and writing journals.

1st prize: Chloé Bazin and Paola Arizzi – “In search of matriarchal societies on the roof of the world”

Chloé Bazin and Paola Arizzi, students at Collège Calvin in Geneva, want to meet matriarchal societies in China’s Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and in Tibet. They will travel mainly by foot, train, bus and bicycle to meet people from different areas, in different ethnic groups, who follow different schools of Tibetan Buddhism. In these three areas, the status of women greatly differs. Inspired by Nicolas Bouvier and Ella Maillart, they will endeavour to record their trip using photography, drawings and stories.

The 2019 Prize will be opened to applicants in the autumn. Further information is available on the website here