As a diplomat for 25 years, I have served my country in several places around the world. In Washington, D.C., I have the exciting job of following U.S. politics and the shaping of policies that often affect Norway as well as the global community.
Many Norwegians visit the Embassy, and I always try to take the time to explain to politicians, business people and others how decisions are made in the United States – your federal system of government and the dynamics between Congress and the Administration and all the actors and interest groups involved. I often make a point of the important role governors play in the overall political process.
The United States is a complex country, and one needs to get out of Washington, D.C. to understand how things really work. In my two years as Ambassador to the United States, I have traveled extensively. I have met with governors, addressed state legislatures and appreciated meetings with Americans of all walks of life, many of them Norwegian-Americans. I am keenly aware of the fact that there are between five and six million Norwegian-Americans in the United States – more than there are Norwegians in Norway! They are descendents of the 850,000 Norwegians who immigrated over a period of 100 years beginning in 1840. They came with their dreams and hope for a better life.
Most of them, like my family, settled in the Midwest and Washington State. Some moved on and assimilated into mainstream America, as have the majority of Norwegian-Americans that remain in Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Washington State. Nevertheless, they are very aware of their cultural heritage. The many family bonds and contacts across the Atlantic at all levels of society form the backbone of the close relations between Norway and the United States.
In international relations, Norway and the United States cooperate closely in NATO, particularly in the Afghanistan mission. We Norwegians feel an obligation to make ourselves useful in peace efforts around the world: Sometimes there are things a mouse can do that a larger animal cannot.
Mother Earth is important to all of us, big or small. Partly because of our location, we Norwegians are especially concerned about how we can respond to climate change. The climate threat is felt more acutely in the Arctic, which is very close to Norway. We feel a responsibility to take action, also on behalf of the developing world. As in other major international matters, the United States must be in the lead in addressing this global issue.
I invite you to dive into the wealth of information at www.norway.org. If you have unanswered questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Embassy.
Ambassador Wegger Chr. Strommen
Click here to see an interview with Amb. Strommen in which he discusses the Holocaust and anti-Semitism in Norway.
Below you can watch Ambassador Stømmen talk about the Norwegian embassy and Norway's relationship with the United States: