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By Rutagengwa Claude Shema

Regional Coordinator

Great Lakes Peace Initiative (GLPI)


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     Daniel JeanRichard (1665 - 1741) was a descendant of French
Protestant refugees (the Huguenots) who came to Switzerland during
the Huguenot Wars of 1562-1598.  He was trained as a blacksmith.
At a relatively young age, he is said to have met a British
traveler whose watch was broken.  He begged to see if he could
repair it, and succeeded.  He then began to design and manufacture
watches, and recognized the value of mechanization to cut parts,
and of specialization to have several workers produce parts of
watches that could be assembled.  Together with his sons, he
perfected the watch making industry in Switzerland.

     Many apprentices learnt in his manufacture, becoming
independent later, and training other apprentices themselves.  In
this way, JeanRichard, as the son of refugee immigrants, made an
enormous contribution to Swiss industry.  Three centuries later,
watches are still one of Switzerland's main exports.

     Countries would do well by being more generous in opening
their borders to refugees, because refugees and their descendants
can make major contributions to science, culture and industry.


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