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Transatlantic Science Week: Opening speech

His Royal Highness The Crown Prince's speech at the opening of the Transatlantic Science Week, Berkeley 25th October 2011.

Ministers, excellencies,
ladies and gentlemen

It is great to be here at the Transatlantic Science Week here at UC Berkeley.

Science Week is all about cooperation. About creating new partnerships and strengthening old ones. That is what we will all be aiming for during this week at Berkeley and Stanford.

In many ways, the relations between our countries are all about cooperation too. We have a long history of strong and diverse ties.

This is one of the reasons why so many Norwegians cross the Atlantic every year, to study, to do research or for business. It is also one of the reasons why I am here today, and why the King and Queen of Norway were in the Midwest and New York just a few days ago.

There are many stories of Norwegian emigrants who came to America to learn, work hard and prosper. One that is particularly relevant here is the story of Peder Sather.

Peder Sather was a visionary. Although he had left Norway without much formal education – or perhaps because of this – Peder Sather actively sought to provide others with the opportunities he had not had. He saw the value of a good education at an early age.

Having made success in the New World, he became one of the early trustees of the College of California and an active participant in what later became the University of California System.

True to his spirit, his widow donated funding to UC Berkeley for the tower, the bell and the Peder Sather Chair. Together, the Sathers opened a path to education and research that many Norwegians follow to this day.

And today, many years later our countries and continents are cooperating in research, education and innovation, seeking to find solutions to tomorrow’s problems today.

Oscar Wilde once said, “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” In many ways researchers and entrepreneurs are dreamers too.

Innovation requires the ability to dream, to think laterally, and the desire to make a difference.

There are top-flight researchers, innovators and students on both sides of the Atlantic. They gain from co-operation, and so do the rest of us. That is why we are here today. To join forces in dealing with the challenges the world is facing.

We need to find forms of clean energy, 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.

I used to be a student here at Berkeley myself a few years back. Being part of an international campus broadened my horizons and helped me look at the world in new ways.

It is an enriching experience to cross borders, and I hope that you will take this opportunity to do so, and to include the new generation of researchers and innovators in your endeavors.

We need the next generation and their dreams to address the global challenges the world is facing.

Thank you.


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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)