New Year’s Greetings from U.S. Ambassador Barry B. White
January 3, 2013
On behalf of the American people and the entire staff of the American embassy here in Norway, I want to wish all the people of Norway a very happy and healthy 2013.
As I celebrate my fourth New Year’s Day in Norway, I look back on the many friends I’ve met and places I’ve visited throughout your beautiful country. It remains an honor and a pleasure to represent President Obama and the United States here in Norway.
2012 was a big year for us at the Embassy. In June, Secretary Clinton visited Tromsø and Oslo. In Tromsø she visited the fjords on a research vessel and enjoyed Norwegian seafood, saying that her High North experiences left her “running out of adjectives.” In Oslo, she met with Foreign Minister Gahr Støre and Prime Minister Stoltenberg, was granted an audience with King Harald and Queen Sonja, and spoke with members of the Labor Youth Party who survived the Utøya attacks. At the Global Health Conference, Norway and the U.S. announced major new commitments to maternal health programs, a reflection of our shared values.
Eleanor and I enjoyed hosting events at our residence throughout the year, as we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Villa Otium. Two highlights were our annual Independence Day celebration, with nearly 1,400 guests, and an August garden party for approximately 300 neighbors from the Frogner area.
Throughout 2012, my colleagues and I spoke with almost 1,000 high school students as part of our “Meet America” program, both by visiting their schools and by hosting them at the U.S. Embassy. Talking to young people is one of my favorite aspects of the job of Ambassador. The Embassy also expanded its social media outreach, with almost 4,500 Facebook “likes.” Please join us there and on Twitter - look for US Embassy Oslo!
We partnered with Partnership for Change on their annual conference, which featured human rights and global women’s empowerment. We also hosted several business roundtables and reached out to the business communities throughout Norway to improve trade and commercial relations between our two countries. In September, we supported one of my personal favorite events, Suzann Pettersen’s Pro Challenge charity golf tournament.
And, of course, a final highlight of the year was the U.S. election, including our election night event where we joined over 800 Norwegian friends in celebrating democracy. I was amazed by the intense interest in these elections here in Norway.
2013 will bring changes, but I am confident that the bilateral relationship between our countries will become even stronger. We at the American Embassy wish all of you and your families peace and prosperity in the new year.
Godt Nyttår! Happy New Year!