• Sweden's news in English
 
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

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
More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014
Christmas elk lights in Stockholm. Photo: TT

More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014

Swedes have shown a massively increased interest in travel this year, with up to 300,000 more people taking a flight over the Christmas period compared to last year. READ  

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion
Photo: The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis (ASIM)

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion

The Swedish-language press flourished in the US in the late 19th century as Swedes moved in, and a new project to archive and digitize the wealth of historical material is set to go live in 2015. READ  

Thailand's tsunami: Ten years on
The wave Sweden will never forget
Tsunami "Wall of Remembrance" in Mai Khao in northern Phuket. Photo: TT

The wave Sweden will never forget

The Local looks at how Swedes are remembering the tidal wave that shook South-East Asia exactly ten years ago, leaving 543 Swedes dead. READ  

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise
A family of lynx. Photo: Shutterstock.

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise

An extensive European study has found that the numbers of carnivorous animals are on the rise across the continent, with Sweden seeing a hike in the populations of bears, lynxes, wolves, and wolverines. READ  

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: TT

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report

The government and opposition parties are reported to be conducting negotiations in a bid to avoid government chaos, putting the new March election in doubt, according to a media report. READ  

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds
An elk, known as a moose in northern America, crosses the road. Photo: TT

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds

Police in northern Sweden have urged holiday motorists to be careful after reports of unusually large herds of migrating elk. READ  

My Swedish Career
Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future
Filippo Vanzo. Photo: Private

Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future

For this week's My Swedish Career, The Local chats to Filippo Vanzo, a freelance illustrator who started to picture life in Stockholm after meeting his Swedish girlfriend online. READ  

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas
Photo: TT

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas

The Swedish weather agency has issued a warning for icy roads across the country as many city-dwellers head out to the countryside for Christmas. READ  

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård
Photo: TT

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård

Police suspect that a rental dispute is behind a twin explosion which rocked the area around Ramels Väg in the Rosengård area of Malmö over the weekend. READ  

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win
Photo: TT

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win

A Romanian man who slept under a bridge in a Swedish city and lived by begging recently landed a 210,000 kronor ($27,000) lottery win after buying a ticket on impulse, saying he now wants to build himself a house. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas
National
Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine
Gallery
People-watching: December 20th - 21st
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 18th to 25th
National
'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Blog updates

22 December

A Tale of Three Cities (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today I am pleased to welcome a guest blogger on my blog, Sir David King, The..." READ »

 

19 December

-t or no -t? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! There are many things in the Swedish language that can give you a grey hair or two,..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Interview: The Local chats with Melinda Gates
Society
VIDEO: Stockholmers try out some Swedish tongue twisters
Society
Eight things to do when it gets dark in Umeå
National
Inside Sweden's first 'light therapy' school
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: December 17th
Estelle through the years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Society
Why are there so many 100-year-olds in one Swedish town?
Society
Is it time to better celebrate Sweden's diverse identity?
Gallery
Property of the week: Huddinge
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
CATCH UP: Russian plane in Baltic near-miss drama
Lifestyle
How my compass drew me to Sweden
National
The man whose memory you need to remember
Gallery
People-watching: December 13th - 14th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
Politics
'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Society
The Local chats to Ruben Östlund, director of Golden Globe nominated Force Majeure
Lifestyle
Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 12th to 19th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The 2014 Nobel Banquet
National
The Local's guide to the Nobel Prizes 2014
Education
Introducing... Education in Stockholm
Society
The Swedish Christmas market with a twist
Lifestyle
Why do so many Swedes have tattoos?
Society
Get 20% off Swedish Christmas decorations
National
Dewani family: We only heard half the story
Business & Money
Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Swedes hosting festive feasts for 'lonely' guests
Gallery
TIMELINE: Swedish honeymoon killing murder trial
Gallery
People-watching: December 7th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: What's it like to fly planes in Sweden?
National
Submarine hunters 'robbed' of reward cash
National
The Local's Countdown to Christmas
National
'Dangerous' USB charger recalled in Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King and Queen wrap up France tour
National
Analysis: Should Snowden get asylum in Sweden?
National
Swedish schoolboy in female saint role row
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's political crisis unfolds
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
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

837
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
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options