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Opened Transatlantic Science Week

On Tuesday, His Royal Highness The Crown Prince gave the opening speech at the kick-off of Transatlantic Science Week at the University of California, Berkeley, his alma mater.


Organised by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington, DC, Transatlantic Science Week has become an annual event which this year will bring together 300 participants from both sides of the Atlantic. The goal is to increase cooperation on research, innovation and higher education between Norway, the US and Canada.

In his opening remarks today, Crown Prince Haakon emphasised that cooperation across nations and scientific fields, and between academia and the business sector, strengthens the foundation for finding effective solutions to the challenges facing the international community:

"We need to find forms of energy that pollute less, we need technology that help us consume less energy, to do things in a smarter way. We need to explore space, the ocean and other “last frontiers” to find solutions to our common challenges.

To turn dreams into action we need to cooperate across borders. National borders, borders between different fields of research and borders between academia and business. And that is what the Transatlantic Science Week is all about."

After the opening events, the Crown Prince spoke with several Norwegians studying at the University of California, Berkeley – which he himself attended from 1996 to 1999, completing a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Snøhetta in San Francisco

Norwegian architecture has been attracting worldwide attention, and Snøhetta deserves much of the credit for this thanks to its signature buildings such as the Library of Alexandria, the Opera House in Oslo and the Ground Zero Museum in New York City.

Snøhetta is now designing and building a new extension to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. One of the most important contemporary art museums on the west coast of the US, the museum is breaking new ground to make art accessible to the general public. The new extension will house the contemporary art collection of Donald Fisher, founder of the clothing company Gap.

Crown Prince Haakon met with representatives from the museum, the Fisher art collection and Snøhetta at a luncheon where he learned more about the plans for the extension. Afterwards the Crown Prince was given a guided tour of the collection by the curator Laura Satersmoen.

60th anniversary of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church

Although the number of Norwegian sailors is not as great as it once was, the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in San Francisco remains an active meeting place for the many Norwegians who live and work in the area. Many Norwegian students and au-pairs also find their way to the church.

Crown Prince Haakon continued his programme with a visit to the church, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. This was not the first time the Crown Prince had visited the Seamen’s Church in San Francisco. As a student at UC Berkeley he celebrated Norwegian Constitution Day here on the 17th of May.

Meeting with Meltwater

Crown Prince Haakon also met with representatives of Meltwater, a Norwegian software company in the Silicon Valley. From its modest beginnings in Oslo in 2001, the company has grown to be one of the largest media online monitoring firms in the world. In 2005, it opened its division in the Silicon Valley.

During his visit, the Crown Prince learned more about Meltwater’s journey and what the future holds for this type of software and the services Meltwater offers. The Crown Prince was also given a presentation on the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. Founded in Ghana in 2007, this philanthropic foundation teaches young Africans the skills they need to start their own software companies in an international market.

Alumnus of the Year 2009

In the afternoon, the Crown Prince paid a visit to International House, where he lived while studying at UC Berkeley. Crown Prince Haakon was named Alumnus of the Year in 2009, and the visit afforded him the opportunity to receive the award in person.

In his acceptance speech, the Crown Prince emphasised the importance of a milieu such as International House and how the opportunity to meet students of different backgrounds and from different cultures can be a valuable supplement to a university education:

“A first rate education is one of the most important ingredients in life. But the faculties of the university can only reach so far. The interaction between students coming from so many different backgrounds, cultures and countries will often produce the most lasting impact.”

This evening, Crown Prince Haakon will attend a dinner in connection with Transatlantic Science Week, along with Minister of Research and Higher Education Tora Aasland and Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske. The event will have an academic focus, and following the dinner Daniel M. Kammen, the World Bank Group’s Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, will give a lecture on renewable energy.


Crown Prince Haakon of Norway opens the Transatlantic Science Week at Berkeley, University of California (Stills: Robert Galbraith, Reuters / Scanpix, Video: Marianne Hagen, the Royal Court)

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