Norway’s new Honorary Consulate General in Minneapolis is operative from 1 August 2008. The consulate is a new type of mission for the Norwegian foreign service, and is the result of innovative cooperation across ministries and other agencies.
Norway’s new Honorary Consulate General in Minneapolis is operative from 1 August 2008. The consulate is a new type of mission for the Norwegian foreign service, and is the result of innovative cooperation across ministries and other agencies. Former US Vice President Walter F. Mondale has been appointed as Honorary Consul General.
In autumn 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to convert the Consulate General in Minneapolis to an honorary consulate. This sparked protests and concern that Norway’s ties with the Midwest and the Norwegian-American community would be weakened. However, it also resulted in creative efforts to develop a modern honorary consulate with the task of expanding cooperation between Minnesota and Norway in priority areas within higher education, research, innovation and business development.
Støre and Mondale - Photo: Paula Keller, MinneapolisThe Ministry decided to bring together a variety of Norwegian actors with a view to stepping up efforts in these fields, where cooperation was already established and there is considerable potential for expansion. This has resulted in an agreement that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Innovation Norway, the Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions, the SINTEF Group and the Minstry of Foreign Affairs will fund two locally appointed specialist positions at the Honorary Consulate General in Minneapolis.
Støre and Gandrud - Photo: Paula keller, MinneapolisThe two specialists who are to be appointed will promote education and research cooperation and innovation and business cooperation. The positions will be filled locally, and are intended to liaise between actors in Norway and cooperation partners in Minnesota. Honorary Consul Gary Gandrud will head the work of the new Honorary Consulate General. The consulate will work closely with the Embassy in Washington DC, and a steering group will be appointed including representatives of the cooperation partners in Norway and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Section for Economic and Commercial Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be responsible for coordinating this process.
Mr Mondale’s personality, unique experience and roots in the Norwegian-American community will help him to further develop the longstanding and important relations and shared interests between Norway and the Midwest in his role as Honorary Consul General.
Mr Mondale will be visiting Norway in September this year, and will meet the Norwegian cooperation partners during his stay.
The Minneapolis Honorary Consulate General is being established in a region with strong Norwegian-American traditions strong traditions and great potential for cooperation on business development and knowledge generation.