We started off quite early on Tuesday morning. Our first appointment was at the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce where we met Anna Throne-Holst. You might know her from “Sommar i P1” this summer where she hosted and talked about her earlier career. She’s been in politics for a decade, and for about a year she’s been head of the chamber of commerce. Their new office space, located on the 29th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper, is named Gateway. We had a meeting in the conference room while we had some breakfast; bagels with cream cheese and Swedish coffee. Topics we had a chance to talk about was the changes they’re implementing to the chamber’s work with Swedish companies and their network in America and also American politics from her own insider point-of-view. We had a round tour of the almost finished office space and saw the transformation, from the blue walls; to the gym and seasonal Christmas tree. After the meeting we had a quick stop at a food market to buy some lunch.
The next meeting was booked at the NYC Bar Association, where we met with Michael Cooper. He is a chairman of the international affairs committee. During the meeting, we sat around a big table covered in black leather and talked about what issues and policies the bar association is working with, and how Cooper himself got to where he is today in his career. We once again touched by politics, and how the political climate in America today is affecting the work in the Bar Association.
When we finished the meeting, we went straight to the Swedish General Consulate. The office was located in the same building as the Swedish Mission to the UN, with a breath-taking view of Manhattan and the Hudson River. Once again, we had a cup of Swedish coffee, which was highly appreciated by the committee. The atmosphere felt very much like home! We got to meet with and talk to three representatives from the consulate, who told us about their work with promoting Sweden in different channels, cooperating with business partners and, of course, taking care of all consular issues. We got a great insight in the consulate’s work and how they practically try to attract tourists, international students and American businesses to come to Sweden. I think several of us, including myself, got interested and opened our eyes for a potential internship at the consulate in the future.
Later that evening we had a meeting scheduled with Björn Gillsäter, Special Representative of the World Bank Group to the UN. Björn happens to be Swedish, a Lund University and UPF Lund alumni. When he found out that the travel committee was going to New York he invited us to a slightly more informal meeting, with drinks and snacks in his office. He also invited Camilla Nevstad Bruzelius from the Swedish Mission to the UN, where she is working with economics and social affairs. They both introduced themselves and told us a bit about their work. We learnt a lot about the structure of the World Bank and what they do. Did you know that the World Bank has 189 members? And that each country’s voting right is relative to the money they have put in? Besides this we also talked about the Swedish Mission’s work, the upcoming conference in Marrakech and the view of Sweden in the UN. We were happy to get the opportunity to talk to them both on a more informal level. It was interesting and thought-provoking to get a deeper understanding of what it means to work abroad and what consequences it might have regarding one’s personal life. We also discussed the frustration that can appear when working with multilateral issues, cultural clashes in the working place and different pathways to different jobs. Although the way to working for the UN or the World Bank Group still seems long and fuzzy, it appeared to be more reachable when meeting with people with the same educational background as you have. After the meeting we all went home to get some rest – the following day started early in the morning!
By: Lisen Ehlén & Jonna Lindberg