Björn Lyrvall is Ambassador of Sweden to the United States. His previous diplomatic stations include Leningrad, Moscow and London. Prior to this current role, he served as Director General for Political Affairs at Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Stockholm. He has also been posted at Sweden’s Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels and worked alongside Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, as Special Advisor in his role as EU negotiator and International High Representative in Bosnia and Hercegovina, as well as the United Nations Special Envoy on the Balkans in 1999.
We are pleased, proud and honored to have him as our Honorary Guest for Sweden Day 2016 during his exclusive and highly anticipated visit to Atlanta, Georgia, which will include meetings with Swedish companies, Georgia officials and international local dignitaries. Read more about his personal perspective and position on being the official representative of Sweden in the U.S. – a challenging yet interesting and fulfilling role in which one is faced with tackling a number of issues on both national and international level. Here more about what his thoughts on Swedish-U.S. relations are below!
Where in Sweden are you from?
I am from Borlänge, an industrial city in the province of Dalarna, in the heartland of Sweden.
Have you ever been to Atlanta?
No, not to visit but I have passed through Atlanta numerous times. I know that it is a hub in the U.S. and an important state for Swedish businesses.
What is your impression of Georgia?
I was driving through Georgia with my parents during the end of the 70’s, when I was a student. However, I have not spent much time there but I would like to get to know it better. It is home to 45 000 Swedes and an important state for us. Of course, I watched the Olympics in ’96 and I know that there have been several dynamic developments in recent years.
What do you enjoy most about being the Ambassador of Sweden to the United States?
Meeting with people in this great country, promoting healthy relations and pursuing a broad agenda.
How would you describe the essence of Swedish-U.S. relations?
Strong historical ties. We unify and collaborate around various topics including innovation and entrepreneurship, but also in tackling global challenges, security issues, trade and the refugee crisis in Europe. I would like to highlight that Swedish-U.S. relations have strengthened enormously over the last few years. The Nordic Summit, which was held a few weeks ago in the White House, where President Obama invited all Nordic head of states, was a good example underlying the importance of the very strong bonds between Sweden and the U.S.
Living in the U.S., what do you miss about Sweden?
I miss my family and relatives back home and I love to go back and either go cross-country skiing or visit my red cottage in Dalarna. However, I really love living in the U.S. and I feel very fortunate to have this position.
We look forward to welcoming Björn Lyrvall, Ambassador of Sweden to the United States, on June 6 for SACC-Georgia 3rd Annual Sweden Day Celebrations in Atlanta!
Text: Sabina Woldai