American-Scandinavian Anniversary Gala Dinner: Speech
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Crown Princess and I are pleased to be with you this evening to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the American-Scandinavian Foundation and the tenth anniversary of Scandinavia House. Your centennial celebration will take place next year, so I understand that I serve as a warm-up act today.
I had the pleasure of visiting Scandinavia House in 2003, and again last evening when we attended the opening of the new exhibition, Nordic Models + (plus) Common Ground. The exhibition says a lot about The American-Scandinavian foundation`s ability to nurture its century strong tradition while at the same embracing the contemporary and novel.
Norways participation in the work of the American-Scandinavian foundation goes back to the beginning and Norway has played an active and integral part of The American-Scandinavian Foundation since the organization was established. In 1912, my great grandfather King Haakon VII became the ASFs first Norwegian Patron and my father King Harald V has served in this capacity since 1991.
Allow me to say a few words about Norways relations with the United States, thus setting the ASF within the framework of our bilateral relationship.
It is a relationship that reaches far back into our peoples histories, to Leif Eriksons voyage to Vinland. It reaches into the future, as both our nations have to deal with the challenges of a global and interconnected world. It reaches directly into thousands and thousands of Norwegian homes, because so many of us have family that left sea ports along the coast, passed through Ellis Island and Bay Ridge Brooklyn, and found land and opportunity in Minnesota, the Dakotas or further west. And it reaches into our economy, our security, our foreign policy and our society, because we work closely together in all these fields. These relationships are the foundations upon which our present co -operation rests, in so many areas:
Energy brings us together: US companies were vital in developing oil and gas in Norway from the early 70s. Our exports contribute to global energy stability and security. Gas and petroleum is Norways number one value earner and an engine for technological development - today increasingly for new and climate friendly technologies.
We are developing a growing web of exchange and transfers within research and higher education: Many prominent Norwegian researchers spent formative years at US universities and colleges. An increasing number of US researchers spend time in Norway. I might not be a researcher myself, but I did profit hugely from my time in California at U C Berkeley.
In the arts, the US, and New York in particular, is a magnet, attracting an increasing number of Norwegian artists, musicians, designers.
In foreign policy, Washington and Oslo work closely together to prevent conflict and bring stability, development and peace. With the Global Pension Fund, Norway has become an important financial investor in the US. Lastly, security and defence, where the US is Norways most important ally.
I hope the American Scandinavian Foundation can remain at the center of this rich and vibrant relationship between us. The Crown Princess and I are honored to be with you at this important milestone, and we wish you every success in your continued efforts.
Thank you !