Category Archives: News from the Embassy

Cultural Diplomacy Tells the Stories of Denmark

Culture and arts are not as easy to put in numbers, however at the Danish Embassy; we recognise that culture and arts play a substantial role in understanding Denmark and Danish society. We call it Cultural Diplomacy.

When you see pictures of various receptions and meetings, it is often hard to tell them apart. That is not the case when you have a reception filled with guests from the world of art. The clothes are more colourful, the glasses have abnormal shapes and there are definitely more hats. In mid-October we had such an event at the residence, celebrating Danish arts.

When the ambassador moved into the residence, so did a new art project: Art in Embassy. Art in Embassy displays 37 pieces of art from 14 different artist. All of them tell a story about everyday life in Danish or societal developments. The art has been chosen to build an obvious platform for discussions about Danish arts and culture; because culture and arts reflect our society.

Diplomacy is more than politics

Especially the piece ‘Types of Relations’ by Mette Winckelmann is often up for discussions when the ambassador has diplomatic event at the residence. It is a flag but often not in the eyes of Americans. Let us call it a deconstructed flag.

The deconstructed flag has a unique way to start a conversation, because it brings out a lot of emotions. It doesn’t matter if you are Danish or American, it doesn’t matter if you are a republican or a democrat, if you are a politician or a businessman. The art makes room for conversations that is founded in something other than politics and brings up interesting conversations. That is why Cultural Diplomacy is important,” the ambassador says.

Art pieces like this spur conversations about flags, but also about nationality, about values, about what is Danish and why that is.

Two of the Danish artists on display through Art in Embassy visited Washington DC. The visit of Rose Eken and Camilla Reyman gave a unique possibility to brand the project and the Danish cultural scene. To celebrate the Danish arts and worldwide culture, an event was held Monday October 16th as a part of the Art in Embassy project, hosting 80 people from the art world.

A reflection of Denmark

An obvious question asked at such an event is ‘What is Danish culture and arts?’

That is indeed a good question and it is hard to single out what defines Danish culture; it is simply hard to narrow down. We are have had international success within everything from movies and TV-shows to fine cuisine and obviously Danish design, which is branding Denmark around the globe. However, the question of what Danish culture and arts are is a question we, through the Art in Embassy project make sure to discuss often.

Danish society and the values we stand for are clearly reflected in culture and art. It is an important way of understanding Denmark, why the project is of great importance to the Ambassador. Danish design often refers to the classics from the mid-20th century drawn by Arne Jacobsen or Finn Juhl, and these are examples that proudly furnish the Embassy. Fortunately, Danish culture and arts did not stop developing in the 60s. Art in Embassy display the result of this development and reflect the same development in Danish society.

Both Camilla Reyman and Rose Eken, artists in Art in Embassy, are currently displaying a store front exhibition here in Washington DC called Aloud, which was promoted through the reception too in collaboration with Transformer Gallery – a large arts organization in DC.

 

Danish Veterans Run the Marine Corps Marathon

On October 22nd, the Danish Team Veteran proved that true companionship is the key to overcome the toughest obstacles. The society for Danish veterans gathered in Washington DC to overcome yet another challenge, the annual Marine Corps Marathon. After the marathon, the Ambassador hosted a barbecue at the residence to show his gratitude to the dedication of the veterans.

As a sign of the great strength it takes to overcome both physical as well as psychological injuries, all ‘Team Veteran’ participants crossed the finish line and completed the 26.2 mile marathon. The team consisted of 30 veterans, all carrying mental injuries after serving the Danish army, as well as 20 assistants. The day ended at the residence of the Danish Embassy ​​where Ambassador Lars Gert Lose hosted a well-deserved barbecue. The following day, all veterans visited the Lockheed Martin’s Fighter Demonstration Center in Crystal City, Virginia where the company showed the technologies of the F-35 aircraft. The veterans got the opportunity to try the simulator as well as the advanced helmet for the plane. Lockheed Martin has been a key sponsor for the Danish veterans through several years, which is greatly appreciated by the veteran society.

Team Veteran is a Danish organization aiming to help veterans with physical and mental injuries. The community of Danish veterans engage through sports, companionship, and social gatherings. Since 2010, the organization has participated in the annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC, as well as several other events in Denmark. Team Veteran also works closely with public rehabilitation offers, as well as activities financed by private investors.

Hear more on how two Danish veterans value Team Veteran as a way to combat and overcome the mental injuries through their running club in training for the marathon:

Building Partnerships for Sustainable Growth and Development Towards 2030

To promote cooperation on the Danish development strategy, Ambassador Lars Lose and Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs hosted a briefing for all Danes working at the World Bank Group on October 13th. Minister Tørnæs emphasised that building partnerships is crucial to Danish development efforts, and that the multilateral institutions have a critical role to play alongside the private sector.

Earlier this year, a broad political majority in the Danish Parliament reached a five-year political agreement on Denmark’s strategy for development policy and humanitarian action under the title “The World 2030”. The strategy provides a framework for Danish efforts to realize the global ambition of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) towards 2030. These efforts are defined in four key focus areas: security, migration, sustainable development & democracy and human rights. Crucial in understanding the strategy is that focus is now on development cooperation rather than development aid. The new development approach underlines the importance of building partnerships in order to fulfilling the development objectives.

Private Sector Engagement

The strategy also stresses the unique and active role that private sector actors have to play. As companies contribute with knowledge, competencies and technology, they are central to solving sustainability challenges within areas such as climate, energy, water, food and health. Official development aid (ODA) cannot solve these challenges on its own. Rather, ODA should be used to catalyse private funds and foster innovation as suggested in “The World 2030”. Denmark is committed to working to ensure that development banks, such as the World Bank Group, increasingly bring innovative financing into play.

Maximizing Finance for Development

The World Bank Group has an unmatched level of development expertise and experience as well as ability to mobilize public and private finance. This makes the World Bank Group a key actor for creating inclusive, sustainable growth and development. It is increasingly evident that strong collaboration between the multilateral institutions and the private sector is necessary to maximize finance for development and reaching the SDGs. The World Bank Group offers channels for the private sector to seek opportunities in developing countries by creating new markets, identifying unmet demands, supporting SME’s and providing cutting-edge thinking and technologies via projects on the ground.

 

Ambassador Lose and Minister Tørnæs were happy to engage in an open dialogue on these important issues. The Danes working in the World Bank Group possess extensive expertise and networks that makes them an important resource for the Danish development efforts.

Read the Danish development strategy “The World 2030” here.

Read more about the World Bank Group and private sector engagement here.

EU Open House at the Embassy

The 13th of May the EU delegation to the United States and the European Embassies in the United States opened the doors to the Washington public. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the embassies offered a rare look inside the buildings providing a unique opportunity to experience the country’s cultural heritage.

EU Open House is an annual event and is celebrated during Europe Week drawing +50.000 visitors in total to the embassies. The Danish Embassy opened the doors to share with the local community what Denmark is about; Danish culture, our commercial strengths and solutions and our contributions to a global society.

Promotion of Danish solutions

As Denmark is a global leader in renewable energy, sustainable production and healthy living, we chose ‘Smart Cities’ as our focus area at EU Open House this year. Smart solutions and sustainability was a continuous subject at our EU Open House in our promotion of Danish entrepreneurship and the Danish ‘way of living’. This year of EU Open House the Danish companies Terma and Novo Nordisk were invited to the event showcasing their products and services to the public, both of which are ADBC members.

As something new this year the exhibit – Denmark in the U.S. – was on display showcasing Denmark’s deep and longstanding cultural, political and commercial ties with the U.S. The exhibit had focus on creating of trade, jobs and investments between the U.S. and Denmark underlining the Danish Embassy’s focus areas. This new exhibition is developed by sponsorship from the American-Danish Business Council.

Activities

During the day the guests had the opportunity to tour the Danish Ambassador’s home a mid-century architectural gem showcasing unique contemporary works from the Danish art scene. The tour ended with cheese tasting at the Ambassador’s balcony sponsored by Danish dairy giant Arla. Furthermore, the day offered tasting of Danish sweets such as butter cookies and ‘flødeboller’ which was a big hit thanks to our sponsors Kelsen and Flødebolle. Kelsen and Lego sponsored gifts that were given to winners of a ‘Denmark Quiz’.

Despite an alarming weather forecast the weather stayed clement. We received positive feedback from the guests and overall EU Open House 2017 was a great success!

Danish vets celebrated during Warrior Week in Virginia Beach

As the first foreigners, Danish veterans were invited to celebrate the annual Warrior Week in Virginia Beach with U.S. veterans.

Around 25 Danish veterans with family members and friends flew across the Atlantic to participate in this year’s Warrior Week from 1-4 of June in Virginia Beach, VA.

For four days the wounded veterans enjoyed the beach and did a long list of activities including surfing, wrestling, workout sessions, horseback riding, and bicycling. The week was arranged by United Service Organizations (USO), who support members of the U.S. military and military veterans.

“I think it’s fantastic. We collaborated at the same battlefield and now we found each other across the Atlantic Ocean and we collaborated as a wounded warrior,” says Jacob Panton, who is the founder of the Danish Wounded Warriors, to wawy.com “They made us feel the same patriotism that they share with their wounded warriors and that’s just fantastic.”

The week got kicked off with a reception at Sheraton Hotel on June 1st. The Danish Minister of Defense, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and Mayor of Virginia Beach, Will Sessoms, all held speeches praising the relationship between Denmark and the United States.

In his speech, Claus Hjort Frederiksen awarded GN Hearing and their US President Kim Lody this year’s HRH Prince Henrik´s Export Award for making a significant difference for thousands of wounded veterans.

“The company has helped to ensure that Americans, including numerous wounded veterans, are enabled to hear more. And by hearing more, they can do more in their everyday lives. This ultimately allows them to be more as human beings – giving them the ability to live fuller lives,” said Claus Hjort Frederiksen.

The next day, the Danish Ambassador to the U.S., Lars Gert Lose, Member of the Danish Parliament and former Minister of Defense Søren Gade and Claus Hjort Frederiksen welcomed Danish veteran Jens Søndergaard in Virginia Beach. Jens Søndergaard had biked almost 500 kilometres with fellow riders from Vice President Mike Pence’s residence in Washington D.C., while only using his arms. The day ended with a big event at the beach, where Lars Gert Lose, Terry McAuliffe and Will Sessoms all skydived above Virginia Beach, with 30.000 people watching.

Though most the of the activities were in a loose atmosphere, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Søren Gade and Lars Gert Lose held a series of meetings with organizations and companies to learn from their experience in how to take care of military veterans and their families.

Warrior Week was an excellent opportunity to strengthen the exchange of experience and knowledge between Denmark and United States, and the countries share the ambition of ensuring that our veterans gets the support they deserve.

The Danish Wounded Veterans Organization is planning to host its own Wounded Warrior Week in august in Denmark, Jacob Panton says, and will invite a group of American soldiers.

Please enjoy this video with highlights from Warrior Week:

Women and Innovation – the perfect match

On June 13th, the Embassy of Denmark and the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University hosted a high-level panel debate on women and innovation with a focus on how entrepreneurship can provide important means for women to empower themselves in the future job market.

Innovation is where foundations for new businesses are laid out. Innovation and female entrepreneurship empowers women and gives women a strong platform in market economy. Evidence shows that gender balanced organizations contribute to diversified discussions and debates, as well as a healthy, productive work climate, which is good for business. In other words, women and innovation comprise an attractive match.

A panel comprised by scholars, practitioners, policymakers and entrepreneurs sat down to discuss solutions as to how we can develop an innovation sector, which reflect diversity, as well as empower women to design policies and products. Throughout the discussion, the panel touched upon topics such as government structures, the Nordic approach, local initiatives, the future of jobs and the impact on the global economy.

Panellists included Ms. Betty Bernstein-Zabza, Senior Advisor and Director of Operations at Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, Mr. Ryan Ross, Halcyon Incubators, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, Director at IMF’s Human Resources Department and co-author of “Women, Work, and Economic Growth: Leveling the Playing Field”, Ms. Annamaria Konya Tannon, Founder and CEO at Equita Accelerator at George Washington University and Ms. Ulla Rønberg.

Invitation to attend a panel debate on “Female Entrepreneurship – Empowerment Through Business”

Start: June 13, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Venue: School of Advanced International Studies (1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW), BOB 500

On June 13th, the Embassy of Denmark and the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University will host a high-level panel debate on female entrepreneurship with a focus on how entrepreneurship can provide important means for women to empower themselves and create jobs for both women and men. Confirmed panellists include CEO at Halcyon Incubators, Ms. Kate Goodall, Director at IMF’s Human Resources Department and co-author of “Women, Work, and Economic Growth: Leveling the Playing Field”, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, and Founder and CEO at Equita Accelerator at George Washington University, Ms. Annamaria Konya Tannon.

For further information, please contact Anna Cecilie Friis Back at annbac@um.dk.

High-level brainstorm: “She decides”-meeting in the residence

Women’s rights to decide if they want children, when they want them and with whom they want them. That was on the agenda at a high-level roundtable meeting in the Danish Ambassador Lars Lose’s Residence on Friday April 21st. Together with the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, Ambassador Lose hosted a roundtable discussion on women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

An important agenda

The high-level meeting referenced the new initiative She Decides. She Decides is a movement initiated with the decreasing U.S. support for organizations working with family planning in developing countries. Accordingly, She decides works to strengthen women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR agenda). Put simply: Women’s right to decide if they want children, when they want children and with whom they want children.
The meeting was in continuation of the She Decides Conference co-hosted by Denmark and held in Brussels on March 2. The main purpose of the discussion this Friday evening was to keep the momentum of the movement and take She Decides forward. The attendants were asked to provide ideas for action points and concrete deliverables. Around the table were ministers and senior officials, UN executive directors, as well as CEO’s from civil society and private fund managers.

Brainstorm-session and a positive spirit

The atmosphere was good among the participants during the meeting. Everyone agreed on the objective and was ready to brainstorm ideas and tools to promote the agenda. She decides is working to increase both financial and political support for sexual health and family planning worldwide. Financial contributions go to the organizations affected by cuts. Contributions are therefore given to ongoing initiatives that improve access to lifesaving contraceptives, family planning, sexuality education and/or safe abortion.

Both Ambassador Lose and Minister Tørnæs hosting, were happy with the outcome of the meeting, and the movement’s forward strategy. She decides is a strong statement in support of women’s human rights – focusing on women in developing countries and the SRHR-agenda. An agenda with very important implications for every woman’s and girl’s own health, socio-economic situation and personal development.

You can read more about the initiative “She Decides” on www.shedecides.com

Danish Prime Minister became fourth European leader to visit President Trump

Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, confirmed strong relations with the U.S. on trade and the fight against terrorism

Thursday March 3rd the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen visited The White House as only the fourth European leader during President Trump’s leadership following British Prime Minister Theresa May, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

President Trump and Prime Minister Løkke Rasmussen discussed various topics including free trade, green transition and the fight against terrorism, Løkke Rasmussen told the press.

Løkke Rasmussen called the meeting with Trump, which lasted for more than an hour, »a good discussion«.
»Donald Trump has a very clear vision for the United States and that the country must be ‘great again’. But I also experience a President, who is open to some contributions on how the United States can do it in a way so they at the same time fulfil the role as the leader of the free world, « Lars Løkke Rasmussen said.

»I articulated the value of free trade, green conversion and the new sustainable goals in the UN, and it is also important to deliver on them, « Lars Løkke Rasmussen said.

The two world leaders sat down in The Oval Office before the meeting. Trump called Denmark a »very good ally« and that Denmark and the U.S. has »a truly great relationship and we’re working together on many fronts, « Trump said.

While in Washington D.C., the Prime Minister also had a meeting with some of the ADBC member companies and biggest Danish companies operating in the United States. Together with Vestas, Terma, DONG Energy, Arla Foods, Maersk, LEGO, Novo Nordisk and government officials, Lars Løkke Rasmussen had a business luncheon at the Danish Embassy to discuss business in in the United States.

Group photo of the luncheon participants

Denmark stands alongside the U.S. fighting ISIS

The Danish Foreign Minister, Anders Samuelsen, met with ministers of the global coalition against ISIS.

Along with 67 other countries, the Danish Foreign Minister, Anders Samuelsen, took part in a ministerial meeting in Washington D.C. against the terror organisation ISIS. Denmark is one of the most committed countries to the ISIS-coalition and contributes both militarily including with Special Forces and with humanitarian and stabilisation assistance.

The meeting took place in State Department March 22nd with Secretary Rex Tillerson hosting the ministerial.
Tillerson concluded is his opening remarks that fighting ISIS is the US’ objective number one.
Mr. Samuelsen also underscored that the coalition should continue the fight, and that after the expected military victory against ISIS, the peace should also be won.

The Danish FM met briefly with his counterpart Tillerson as well as the Secretary of Defence, James Mattis at the meeting. Samuelsen said to the Danish media TV2, that Denmark is committed to the fight against ISIS.
»Denmark is not pulling out. We stand together in the coalition,« Samuelsen said.

Just hours before the start of the meeting, terror stroked in London when a man who sympathizes with ISIS killed three people including a police officer in front of the British parliament.

The terror was widely condemned along the Foreign Ministers including the British FM Boris Johnson. Samuelsen condoled to his British colleague and made it clear, that the terror act does “emphasize how awful an enemy we are dealing with”.

Samuelsen also met with Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, to underline our strong transatlantic relations and discuss topics including Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.