Norway’s Ambassador to the United States, Kåre R. Aas, is a new contributor to Viking magazine, Sons of Norway’s hallmark publication and exclusive member benefit. Each month, “Ambassador’s Insights” will address various topics facing modern Norway and the bilateral relations between Norway and the U.S. Don’t miss the ambassador’s inaugural topic, “Norway in International Politics,”appearing in Viking’s April 2019 issue.
Dear Viking Reader,
Over the past couple of years, I’ve published a blog on various topics pertaining to international diplomacy, first on HuffingtonPost.com and then on WashingtonDiplomat.com. While I enjoyed the opportunity to get my thoughts out there, I was never sure I was reaching quite the right audience.
Recently, Sons of Norway offered me a monthly column in Viking, and I jumped at the opportunity. The Norwegian American community is the backbone of relations between the United States and Norway, and I’m delighted to address this wonderful group directly. Through this monthly column, I plan to share my reflections on various international topics and on the bilateral relations between Norway and the United States.ver the past couple of years, I’ve published a blog on various topics pertaining to international diplomacy, first on HuffingtonPost.com and then on WashingtonDiplomat.com. While I enjoyed the opportunity to get my thoughts out there, I was never sure I was reaching quite the right audience.
A major part of my job as Norway’s ambassador to the United States is to communicate with people. I don’t want my communication through this column to go only one way, so I encourage you to follow and engage with me on social media—particularly through my Twitter account (@kareraas) and the Embassy’s Facebook page (Norwegian Embassy in Washington). I invite your comments or questions, and hope we can get to know each other better this way.
One channel of communication that I thoroughly enjoy is the Embassy’s Virtual Ambassador Program (VAP). As much as I like to travel, my schedule often requires me to be at the Embassy in Washington. But with the VAP, via Skype, I’m able to reach out to students at various American universities. On a regular basis, I give live lectures, followed by a question-and-answer session. Through the program I’ve spoken with at least 2,000 students at more than 50 universities across the country. I hope to reach many more.
What do we talk about? The strong relationship between Norway and the United States and about international issues of importance for Norway. These are many of the same topics I’ll address here in Viking magazine, including:
Norway’s defense cooperation with the United States, and our membership of NATO, are of fundamental importance to all Norwegians. Norway contributes to collective security for all NATO countries by playing the role as “NATO of the North.” Northern Norway and surrounding waters are of key strategic interest.
Peace and reconciliation
Norway has been engaged in fostering a dialogue between rivaling parties in many parts of the world, including the Middle East, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Colombia. Dialogue is always a first step toward peace.
Both on land and at sea, the vast area north of the Arctic Circle is teeming with life and emerging opportunities. We know, however, that the Arctic’s ecosystems are vulnerable, and that environmental changes in the Arctic have global implications. There is no lack of challenges to be addressed in the High North.
The ocean has shaped Norway’s identity since the age of the Vikings. Today, it continues to fuel our economy. Covering more than 70 percent of the planet, it provides food, energy, and a means of transportation and trade. If pollution, climate change, overfishing and ocean mismanagement continue, we all stand to lose. Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg is currently chairing an international high-level panel that will give recommendations on how to push toward a truly sustainable ocean economy.
I hope you will enjoy my column, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these issues, too, both in the pages of Viking magazine and via the social media channels I mentioned above.
— Ambassador Kåre R. Aas