On Sunday 6 September 2009 the World Trade Organization opened its doors to the public for the first time. Over 5,000 people came to visit us to find out more about who we are and what we do. Throughout the day there were guided tours of the building as well as special activities for children.

> A word of thanks from the Director-General
Photo gallery
> Slideshow
> Success for WTO’s Open Day

World Trade Organization
rue de Lausanne 154
CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland
 (facing the Botanical Gardens)


See also:
Wikipedia page on the Centre William Rappard
> More on the WTO building: Centre William Rappard


> Winners of the drawing contest

> Winners of the tombola

A short film about the WTO was shown at regular intervals in the Council Room, the main meeting place for the 153 members of the WTO. This was followed by a question and answer session.

Guided tours of the building revealed the many works of art donated by countries over the years while new display areas helped to bring the story of the WTO up to date.

On the main terrace, food stands gave a flavour of the worldwide membership of the WTO and provide the opportunity to sample regional specialities.

Activities for children: Throughout the day, children were able to participate in face painting workshops, enter a drawing contest on the theme “Draw me globalization” and/or “Draw me the WTO”, and play in an inflatable castle (outside in the park).

WTO graphic designers held a workshop where children transformed photographs of themselves into works of pop art. The pictures were printed and given to the children in the afternoon.



Opening ceremony and welcoming remarks (Council Room)

The WTO opened its doors to the public at 10 a.m. Welcoming remarks were made by the following key figures:

The following activities were on offer throughout the day,
from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m


Film, “Les routes du commerce”:
This film was shown every 30 minutes in the Council Room and was followed by a question and answer session with WTO experts and the Deputy Directors General. The first showing was attended by the key figures who were present at the opening ceremony.

What can we see at the WTO?
  • Tour of the WTO building and its works of art. The cultural and historical heritage of the WTO.
  • Exhibition on the history of the WTO and the international Geneva community (Council Room lobby).
  • Exhibition on international trade and the role of the WTO (Salle des Pas Perdus).
  • Exhibition, “The Continents”: an opportunity to meet representatives of WTO Member countries. Members explained how their countries have benefited from WTO membership. Both developed and developing countries gave their views on the WTO and its benefits (Rooms A, B, C and X).
  • Tour of the Director-General's office and the library (first floor).

WTO staff acted as guides on the tours. Each guided tour took approximately one hour.

“Interpreter for the Day”:
WTO interpreters offered an insight into their profession. During a debate on safeguarding multiculturalism in the face of globalization, members of the public had the chance to try out their own interpreting skills. Beginning at 11.30 a.m. and ending at 4.30 p.m., this activity took place every 30 minutes (Room W).
Preventive health:
The WTO Health Service focused on two health issues: the importance of washing your hands properly (using fluorescent cream and blue light to produce some astonishing results!); and how to keep fit (measuring blood pressure, weight, height and body mass and making nutritional recommendations). There was also be a blind tasting of a variety of products (Council Room lobby).
International buffet:
An international buffet on the terrace overlooking the lake offered specialities from the Member countries. All proceeds from the buffet went to the Geneva-based association “Païdos”, a centre which helps children and adolescents in difficult situations or with behavioural problems come to terms with themselves and feel at home in their family, school or community (outdoors in the park).


18:00 End of the day

> Geneva-based association  “Païdos”