Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce: Centenary
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Crown Princess and I are very happy to attend this gala to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce.
Norway has a strong and close relationship with the United States. I also grew up in a family with a strong personal relationship to the U.S.
When my father, as a young boy, together with his mother and two sisters in 1940 had to flee Norway for security reasons, they found a safe harbor in Washington DC. Upon arrival they were warmly welcomed by President Roosevelt, whom my Grandfather and Grandmother knew quite well after an extensive trip to America in the thirties.
My family stayed here for five years. Naturally my father always felt a special bond to the U.S. Growing up I heard about his experiences, and my parents liked to take my sister and me on vacations to the U.S. So when I finished the naval academy, it was a natural choice to go to an American university. I spent three years in California in the Bay Area. I learned a lot about America, about the world and even a little bit about Political Science (which was my major).
At the end of my stay I made an extensive trip visiting the Norwegian communities in the U.S. in 11 different states, ending here on the east coast. So, it is nice to be back at such a special night.
Tonight we are not only celebrating the two wonderful recipients of the prestigious Trade and Achievements Awards, we are also celebrating The Chamber itself. My sincere congratulations to all of you.
From your headquarters in New York - through your 8 chapters all over The United States - The Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce is doing an excellent job promoting trade and goodwill between The United States and Norway. As a result, relations between the US and Norway are closer than ever. From the technology clusters of California to the maritime world of Houston, Texas, or to businesses anywhere else, you have played a vital role as a facilitator of Norwegian interests.
Norwegian business has traditionally been dependent on industry, shipping and the exports of raw materials. In the 1960s Norway imported American technology and knowledge to help search for oil and gas in the North Sea, today it is Norway’s turn to deliver knowledge and technology to the American energy market. At the same time, more and more Norwegians are coming to the United States drawn by the creative engines in the US big cities and the multitude of American markets. They work with the best of science and technology; they come here to join the best within IT, music, design, art, advertising, fashion and media.
In a way, The Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce and the two price recipients here tonight illustrate this diversity perfectly. It makes me sure The Chamber will continue to be a relevant and invaluable door-opener for Norwegian business in the United States also for the next 100 years. Again, congratulations on your anniversary. I am looking forward to follow your important work also in the future.