- Embassy of Sweden
Date of birth: July 21, 1952
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 7 (as of November 2017)
My first encounter with Japan was in 1982 when I came to work as the Press and Information Officer at the Swedish Embassy. When receiving my first official dinner guest I thought of Japanese protocol and dressed up in a dark suit and white shirt. My guest turned up in jeans. We laughed at our mutual thoughtfulness and had a nice evening together.
My father used to say, “Appreciate, don’t compare!” As a diplomat, having lived in many countries and encountering different cultures I decided to make that my motto. Rather than wasting energy thinking about how “this is better or worse than that,” it is more rewarding to delve into new cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
One of the proudest achievements in my career was when I, together with a Spanish college, authored a sensitive paragraph in what is now the Lisbon Treaty that entered into force in 2009 and helped reform the functions and structure of the European Union.
Next year, Sweden and Japan are celebrating 150 years of bilateral relations. I hope this celebration will be a steppingstone for moving our economic and social relations to a new level, with truly innovative partnerships at their core. With trade and partnership agreements between the EU and Japan within grasp, I also wish to contribute to breathing new energy into the strategic relations between Europe and Japan.