Highlights of the Governor General's State Visit to Sweden

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Feb. 23, 2017 /CNW/ - Today, Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston completed their State visit to the Kingdom of Sweden. From February 19 to 23, 2017, their program led them to the cities of Stockholm, Malmö, Lund and Gothenburg on the theme of innovative, inclusive and sustainable societies. Throughout the visit, Their Excellencies were hosted by Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, as well as by other members of the Swedish Royal Family.

The Canadian delegation accompanying the Governor General and his wife on the visit included the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, as well as parliamentarians and prominent Canadians in the fields of innovation, trade, academia and civil society, who helped reaffirm Canada's commitment to enhance bilateral relations with Sweden. The goal of further increasing collaboration was well accomplished by bringing together key Canadian and Swedish leaders to exchange ideas and develop new connections. It was also an opportunity to highlight the 150th anniversary of our Confederation and showcase Canadian food, wine and culture at an event that brought together friends of Canada in the presence of the Swedish Royal family.

"We are entering a moment that is primed for greater partnership and we need to seize this opportunity to increase the collaboration between our two countries. In a rapidly changing world, the Canada-Sweden relationship matters more than ever and we should demonstrate to the world how a modern, progressive, trans-Atlantic partnership can work to serve its people, grow the economy and protect the environment. I see potential for deepening our collaboration in research and innovation, promoting diversity and inclusion, and furthering sustainable development including in clean technology," said His Excellency upon the conclusion of the visit.

Here are some of the highlights of the State visit's program.

The many facets of innovation were at the very heart of multiple conversations and events during this visit. On the global excellence front, the Governor General and Canadian delegates Dr. Art McDonald, Professor Emeritus at Queen's University and 2015 Physics Nobel Laureate, and Mr. Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada, expressed the importance of recognizing our best researchers, and reinforced the need for Canada and Sweden to work together as partners in learning and innovation during a panel discussion at the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in Stockholm, where Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry are awarded.

On the subject of international collaboration, Canadian delegates Dr. Sophie D'Amours, Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Université Laval,and Dr. McDonald discussed the benefits of cross-sectoral linkages between business, academia and institutions in Canada and Sweden at the European Spallation Source in Lund—one of the largest science infrastructure projects being built in Europe today. Following the discussion, His Majesty and the Governor General witnessed the signing of the renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding between Canadian Light Source and MAX IV on the exchange of knowledge and personnel between the two organizations. 

In Stockholm, Their Majesties and Their Excellencies met with Mr. Mats Sundin and representatives from the Karolinksa Institute to learn more about encouraging health research made possible through the Mats Sundin Fellowship in Developmental Health in collaboration with the University of Toronto.

On the topic of social innovation, Her Majesty Queen Silvia and Her Excellency were accompanied by Canadian delegates Ms. Nadia Duguay, Co-founder of Exeko, and Mr. Daniel Alfredsson, former NHL player,  to participate in a workshop with children at återSKAPA in Lund, a not-for-profit organization that recycles and reuses industrial material to inspire people to think creatively about waste.

While in Gothenburg, Her Excellency met with doctors and social workers from Team Haga Gothenburg Primary Care to learn how they protect fœtus from the effects of substance-abuse and minimize cases of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. They presented their approach in supporting women for a drug- and alcohol-free pregnancy. Their innovative free-of-charge services are truly appreciated by women and families, as they integrate social services, psychiatry and paediatric cares.

Social inclusion and diversity were important dimensions of the State visit. The Governor General delivered a keynote address on how Canada and Sweden can work together as partners in fostering best practices for successful integration of newcomers and refugees at a panel discussion held at the Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare at the University of Malmö. Canadian delegates and panellists Mr. Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary, Ms. Alia Hogben, Executive Director of the Canadian Council for Muslim Women, and Maatalii Okalik, President of the National Inuit Youth Council ITK, shared their views on the benefits and challenges of inclusiveness.

Her Majesty, Her Excellency and Mr. Alfredsson, met with staff and clients from Fryshuset. This youth centre in Stockholm provides education programs and offers a place for young people to share and develop skills through culture and sports.

While at Lindholmen Science Park, in Gothenburg, His Majesty, the Governor General and delegates attended a discussion on sustainable shipping with representatives of the port authorities of Gothenberg and Halifax, and members of the shipping industry. Swedish and Canadian panelists, including Ms. Karen Oldfield, President and Chief Executive Officer of Halifax Port Authority, addressed the need for energy-efficient transportation, sustainable port management, Intelligent Transport Systems, and alternate fuel.

The King, Prince Carl Philip, the Governor General and Canadian delegates met with Westport AB representatives to see first-hand how this Canadian company integrates its alternative fuel technology in cars, allowing them to run on the climate-friendly fuel bio-methane.

The four-day State visit concluded with a lively discussion on municipal action in support of sustainable transportation that included Mayor Nenshi, the Honourable Perrin Beatty, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from government, business and academia at the Volvo Trucks Experience Centre.

The State visit allowed for fruitful discussions on Canada-Sweden business opportunities in light of the recent European Union Parliament ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Canadian delegates took part in key conversations, among them, Mr. Beatty and Ms. Joy Nott, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters. They had the opportunity to underline how Sweden and Canada should maintain their leadership in promoting open, fair, progessive and inclusive trade relations that benefit all.

For the detailed itinerary, list of Canadian delegates, photos and videos of the State visit to Sweden, visit www.gg.ca and the Twitter and Facebook pages of the Governor General.

Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.


SOURCE Governor General of Canada

For further information: Media information: Marie-Ève Létourneau, Rideau Hall Press Office, 613-998-0287, 613-302-0912 (cell), marie-eve.letourneau@gg.ca

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