• Sweden edition
 
Thanksgiving in Sweden
'I'm thankful to be US ambassador to Sweden'
US Ambassador Mark Brzezinski greets Barack Obama during the US president's visit to Stockholm. File photo: AP

'I'm thankful to be US ambassador to Sweden'

Published: 28 Nov 2013 07:51 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Nov 2013 07:51 GMT+01:00

As Americans in Sweden and around the world celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, US Ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski explains why he's thankful for the United States' "special relationship" with Sweden.

Every November in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with friends and family, enjoying good food and to give thanks for all that is important in our lives. This November, as I mark my two-year anniversary as the US Ambassador to Sweden, I am particularly thankful for the special relationship between the United States and Sweden. Indeed, as President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt put it in their joint statement in September: “Sweden and the United States are very special friends.” 
 
During the past two years, I have traveled around the country and have met with Swedes from all regions of the country and from all walks of life. What I’ve found is a partnership anchored not only in policy, but in people. Whether it’s addressing climate change, advancing human rights and democracy, or promoting greater prosperity, I am thankful for the work our governments and people do to meet global challenges and promote human dignity.
 
One critical area is the environment. During President Obama’s visit to Stockholm earlier this year, he made one of his highest priorities a visit to KTH in Stockholm to see examples of groundbreaking, clean-energy innovations. His visit also underscored our collaboration on clean technology and combatting climate change. Through the Swedish American Green Alliance (SAGA), a joint initiative between the US and Sweden, we have launched a number of exchange programmes for students, organized conferences and workshops, and built links between American and Swedish companies and universities. 
 
Similarly, in the Arctic, we are working together to safeguard this delicate region. This past May, Sweden concluded its highly successful chairmanship of the Arctic Council - a success we hope to emulate when the US becomes chair in 2015. Last month, I traveled to the Abisko Scientific Research Station, where 110 years of data demonstrate the effects of a warming climate on the Arctic. At the station, I attended a workshop with Fulbright scholars to discuss climate change, governance, and security in the Arctic. US Secretary of State John Kerry said it best earlier this year at the Arctic Council Ministerial in Kiruna: “There is nothing that should unite us quite like our concern for both the promise and the challenges of the northern-most reaches of the earth.” 
 
Promoting human rights and democracy is another shared priority. As former US Secretary of State Clinton noted during her June 2012 visit to Stockholm, “Sweden brings its diplomatic heft and its development expertise to nearly every corner of the globe.” In both Afghanistan and Kosovo, Sweden has worked alongside the United States and our Nato allies and partners to support stability and prosperity. We also cooperate closely on development assistance. Just last week, Dr. Raj Shah, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), visited Sweden to sign two partnerships: one with the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) for 2.6 billion kronor ($397 million) over five years for collaborative development projects and another with both Sisa and Volvo Group to provide vocational training in Sub-Saharan Africa.
 
Around the world, Sweden and the United States are following the legacy of the heroic Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews during World War II by refusing to be indifferent and advancing the rights of women, gays and lesbians, and others who are persecuted or oppressed. During his recent visit, President Obama also highlighted Wallenberg’s legacy at a commemoration ceremony in Stockholm’s Great Synagogue.
 
Our cooperation in safeguarding the climate and promoting democracy and human rights is mirrored by our common commitment to advancing economic prosperity. Globally, with half the world living on less than 16 kronor a day, we aim to expand economic opportunity not only through development programmes, but also through increased access to markets and freer and fairer trade. 
 
At the same time, our solid commercial relationship is expanding economic opportunity and creating jobs in Sweden and the United States. Our annual bilateral trade in goods and services is valued at over 162 billion kronor. Sweden is the 13th largest investor in the US and the 273 billion kronor of cumulative Swedish investment has created nearly 200,000 jobs in the United States. The US is also one of the largest investors in Sweden, responsible for an estimated 75,000 jobs. These numbers are good, but they can get better. That’s one reason why the United States and Sweden are two of the strongest advocates for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Treaty - the proposed free-trade agreement between the United States and European Union. The US embassy has also brought together many leading US and Swedish business representatives. We have supported numerous trade delegations over the past two years from Alabama, Virginia, California, and Minnesota as well as from several US cities.  
 
In closing, on this Thanksgiving Day in the US, I’d like to echo the words of President Obama: “I want to thank Sweden and the Swedish people for being such strong partners in pursuit of these values that we share.”
 
I’m thankful for the opportunity to advance our strong relationship to new levels over the past two years and look forward to continuing our hard work in deepening and expanding our relationship during the rest of my tenure as ambassador here in Sweden. 
 
Mark Brzezinski
US Ambassador to Sweden

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
House keys: Shutterstock.

On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends

Finding somewhere to live when you move to Sweden is a challenge. With changes afoot The Local caught up with an expert from letting agency Residensportalen to find out in what direction the market is going, and how Google Glasses may just help you find your dream home. READ () »

The Local List
Ten most disgusting Swedish foods
Salty liquorice, anyone? Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Ten most disgusting Swedish foods

Swedish food is, of course, a matter of taste. But it's mostly disgusting. Our loyal followers on Twitter and Facebook shared what they thought were the worst of them all. READ () »

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'
Defence Minister Karin Enström. File photo: TT

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'

The Swedish government has announced plans to beef up its defence forces by fitting its fleet of Gripen fighter jets with long-range cruise missiles. READ () »

Swede of the Week
Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'
Swedes vote in the 2010 elections. File photo: Dan Hansson/TT

Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'

Gösta Arvedson, 89, is the oldest Riksdag candidate in Sweden, but our Swede of the Week explains that the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) had to make some unusual promises for him to put his name forward. READ () »

Elections 2014
Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
The Green Party is one of only two parties devoting their websites to the EU elections. Here campaign manager Emma Rung presents the party's posters. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

The majority of Swedes feel the country's political parties are not doing enough to inform them about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Only two of the eight parties have dedicated their homepages to the May 25th polls. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping Brawl
Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders
Swedish police on the scene following Monday's fatal brawl. File: TT

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders

The Syrian-Orthodox Church in Ektorp had tried to quell tensions between two rival families just hours before bad blood spilled into a massive brawl and two brothers lost their lives. READ () »

JobTalk Sweden
'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'
The bridge that connects Sweden to the European continent. File: L.E. Daniel Larsson/Flickr

'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'

The Swedish agency that helps Europeans fight impediments to the EU principle of free movement has revealed an increase in complaints, including one from a foreign citizen unable to open a bank account in Sweden. READ () »

Eurovision 2014
Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip
Sanna Nielsen in the new clip. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip

Sweden's Eurovision hopeful Sanna Nielsen released the official video for the song Undo on Wednesday, a clip featuring leather, slow motion destruction, and a frozen pig's heart and some violence. READ () »

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds
Swedish apartments. File: The Local

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds

A Swedish landlord suspects that a property fixer has set up a software robot to sign up for new flats on the market within seconds, and is charging house hunters to use the service. READ () »

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'

Twenty-five fire fighters were on hand on Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a southern Sweden animal park. The vast majority of the animals were unharmed, but the cluster of spiders wasn't so lucky. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 23
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Advertisement:
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

726
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com