On Tuesday this week His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway started his two-day virtual visit to San Francisco, California. The trip is Norway’s first major virtual visit abroad where the public get the opportunity to follow the official visit digitally. The Norwegian participants were in a studio in Oslo, and the Americans in a studio in San Francisco. However, for those who watched the conference from the screen, it still looked as if the participants were in the same room. After a welcome greeting from California Governor Gavin Newsom and a greeting from Norway’s Ambassador to the United States, Anniken Krutnes, it was time for the visit’s first discussion.
California Deputy Governor Eleni Kounalakis invited Crown Prince Haakon and Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide to a conversation about how Norway and California can work together in the fight against climate change. California has felt the full force of climate change in the form of major forest fires in recent years and is an important driving force in the climate fight. Norway has built up broad expertise in renewable energy, zero-emission mobility and the utilization of offshore wind, and the three discussed experiences with the development and use of green technology.
California has a leading role in the development of climate measures and green technology, and the purpose of the Norwegian visit is to strengthen cooperation on green solutions and sustainable value creation. The panel also exchanged views on the importance of youth and education in the fight against climate change and other global challenges. International collaboration with the exchange of researchers and students means the exchange of ideas and knowledge.
The digital visit continued to the Crown Prince’s former university, the University of California at Berkeley, with which several Norwegian educational institutions work closely. Crown Prince Haakon met the three students and they exchanged experiences about student life at Berkeley and about how thoughts about sustainability and climate affect young people’s choice of studies and working life.
Crown Prince Haakon also met Professor Tina Seelig, known for his books on innovation and creativity, and currently teaches at Stanford University. Professor Seelig talked about his “Tools of Innovation” where knowledge, imagination and attitude are basic components for developing good ideas for the future. The conversation at Stanford was the last stop on the first day of the visit. Wednesday this week, topics such as offshore wind and mobility without emissions will be at the centre of discussions about cooperation between Norway and California.