Switzerland, through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), considers the importance of supporting local and regional, cultural and artistic projects in partner countries in the belief that culture, art, and artists, have an essential role in society. Through this, cultural identity preservation, freedom of speech, economic and social development are important factors in development. The work of the SDC is complementary to the work engaged by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. However, there are overlaps and cooperation in the area of cultural exchange and cultural dialogue with developing and transition countries. For example, based on an SDC mandate, Pro Helvetia supports and promotes the local professional art scene and regional exchange in southern Africa.
Projects are initiated and run with its liaison offices in order to facilitate direct exchange between professional cultural producers in Switzerland and the corresponding countries in various regions of the world (Arab region, southern Africa, southern Asia, China and Russia).
Swiss institutions are also responsible for inviting guests from particular countries, initiating joint projects, or awarding contracts. Professional cooperation occurs both by way of public cultural promotion and through private activities. Increasingly popular are the temporary guest residencies in studios provided by cantons, cities, or cultural associations to foreign cultural producers, enabling an exchange between the local professional scene and countries abroad.