• Sweden's news in English
 

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

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

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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
EXCLUSIVE
English remix of Swedish 'genitals' song released
'Willie' and 'Twinkle' are the main characters in the new song. Photo: SVT

English remix of Swedish 'genitals' song released

A Swedish children's song about genitals that went viral earlier this year has just been released in English as its makers aim to make the track a global sensation. The Local was given a world exclusive preview of the song as its composer prepared to hit the Swedish festival scene with the original version. READ  

What's on in Sweden
What's on in Sweden: March 5th - 11th
A Game of Thrones exhibition is opening in Stockholm this weekend. Photo: Helen Sloan/TT

What's on in Sweden: March 5th - 11th

From a children’s film festival in southern Sweden to an exhibition to delight Game of Thrones fans in the heart of Stockholm. Find out what's going on in your corner of Sweden with our weekly guide. READ  

Asylum seeker drop in Sweden and Denmark
Asylum seekers in Katrineholm, Sweden in February 2015. Photo: TT

Asylum seeker drop in Sweden and Denmark

The number of people applying for asylum in Sweden was cut in half in January, compared to figures from September 2014, but the country remains set to experience record refugee arrivals throughout the year. READ  

EXCLUSIVE
Swedish drug addicts seek 'better' help in UK
Castle Craig. Photo: Castle Craig

Swedish drug addicts seek 'better' help in UK

One of the UK's leading drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres is opening its doors to Swedish drug addicts and expats living in Scandinavia amid concerns that the treatment in Sweden is hampered by bureaucracy and fails to offer therapy in English. READ  

Alfred Nobel's will on display for first time
Alfred Nobel (right). Photo: TT

Alfred Nobel's will on display for first time

Alfred Nobel's will creating the prestigious awards that bear his name will go on public display for the first time in Stockholm next week, a spokeswoman has revealed. READ  

Norwegian hires rival crews as strike continues
Services out of Stockholm's Arlanda airport were cancelled on Wednesday. Photo: TT

Norwegian hires rival crews as strike continues

Budget Scandinavian carrier Norwegian has asked Small Planet Airlines to operate some of its flights in Europe after around 700 of the company’s pilots went on strike. But dozens of services from cities including Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen remain cancelled. READ  

Swedish police quiz man over apartment blast
Two men died in an apartment blast in Nyköping. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish police quiz man over apartment blast

A 30-year-old man is being quizzed by police after two men died when a bomb exploded in an apartment in the Swedish town of Nyköping, it has emerged. READ  

Swedish Princess to give birth to baby in June
Sweden's Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Swedish Princess to give birth to baby in June

Sweden’s Princess Madeleine is set to give birth to her second child in June. The Queen let slip the month during a state visit to Nordic neighbour Finland. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Lars Vilks' first talk since Copenhagen cancelled
Controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo: Bertil Ericson/SCANPIX

Lars Vilks' first talk since Copenhagen cancelled

UPDATED: The controversial Swedish artist who was the presumed target of one of the Copenhagen terror attacks last month was set to make his first public appearance on Friday. But the talk has been cancelled over security concerns. READ  

Jay Z Swedish music takeover bid blocked
Jay Z performing in Stockholm on his 2013 world tour. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Jay Z Swedish music takeover bid blocked

A 464 million kronor bid ($56m) by rap mogul Jay Z to take over Scandinavian music streaming service Wimp – Spotify's biggest rival – has been blocked by the firm's Swedish owners. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: March 4th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden needs to get its act together'
National
Just four Pegida supporters turn out to anti-Islam rally in Sweden
Accelerated for Ice Music
Dylan guitarist makes music history in Sweden
National
Could March bring record-high temperatures to Sweden?
Blog updates

27 February

Editor’s blog, February 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Our most read story this week got picked up by global media from Al Jazeera to..." READ »

 

18 February

The mysterious -s, part 2 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"-s expressing “each other” (reciprocal verbs) You have most likely used this form of the verbs..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Eknäs, Nacka
Lifestyle
Madonna set for first Stockholm gig
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Technology
How you could soon be charging your phone from Ikea furniture
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Gallery
People-watching: February 27th - March 1st
Business & Money
Ten Swedish start-ups you haven't heard of (yet)
National
How could Swedes' passion for 'fika' help cut nerve disease?
National
IN PICTURES: Swedes in 'ring of peace' protest
National
Why Copenhagen attacks led a Swedish uni to cancel artist's lecture
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Super cute sloth twins charm visitors to Swedish zoo
Lifestyle
Meet Sweden's first woman chef to win a Michelin star
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: February 26th - March 5th
Accelerated for Ice Music
What is Bob Dylan's guitarist doing in northern Sweden?
Features
How well do you know Sweden's top celebrity couples?
Business & Money
Are company boards 'too white' in Sweden?
Gallery
People-watching: February 25th
Technology
Sweden is dubbed second most 'digital' nation in European Union
National
Why more Swedes want a sex change
National
The return of Sweden's Ace of Base
National
Why has Julian Assange's case been going on for so long?
National
'21' or 'IS'? Swedish police confuse birthday with Islamist extremism
National
Spring has sprung in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Ängelholm
National
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
National
Is Sweden home to the world's oldest living cat?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The life and career of Fredrik Reinfeldt
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why are Swedish Jews worried?
Gallery
People-watching: February 19th-22nd
National
'Racist' bird names banned in Sweden
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Nobel prize to go under hammer
National
Swede named 'Fanny' banned from getting UK loyalty card
National
Spotlight on the Swedes that could be funding Islamists
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Gallery
People-watching: February 18th
National
Is a chocolate crime wave sweeping across Sweden?
National
What we know about the Copenhagen shootings suspect
National
Danish Ambassador: 'We'll live our lives the way we always have'
National
What does this '90s pop act have to do with a former minister?
Lifestyle
How to embrace Sweden's creamy semla bun tradition
Sponsored Article
'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

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 Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

976
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se