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Vesterheim Museum is visited by Norway's Ambassador to the United States

Posted: Wed, Oct 3, 2018 12:55 PM
Ambassador Kare R. Aas greets many people outside Vesterheim Museum on his visit to Decorah

Norway's Ambassador to United States, Kare R. Aas, was given a warm welcome to Decorah on Wednesday.  A crowd which included children from the Montessori school, Nordic Dancers, Nordic Studies students of Luther College, and residents greeted Ambassador Aas.
Aas was born May 25, 1955. He is from the T°yen neighborhood in Oslo and is the son of a construction worker. He was initially ticketed for vocational school, but was able to talk his way into a more academic setting.
Aas told he was a "lousy pupil" the first years of school, not focusing on his studies. When all his friends entered high school, he was not allowed to enter high school, because of poor grades. He had to go to vocational school, which he didn't manage well either, not having technical skills. "I went back to retake my last year and there was a very good principal at the school who said, "You can come back on one condition, you have to cut your hair," as his hair was to his shoulders. Aas got a haircut and went back to school the next day.
Aas joined the foreign ministry in 1983 and his early years included postings in Santiago, Chile, and Geneva, Switzerland. In 1995, Aas was made deputy director in the foreign affairs ministry and the following year he was sent to Brussels as a minister in Norway's delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, remaining there until 2001.
Aas returned to Oslo to work in the foreign ministry. In 2003 he was chosen to head the ministry's security department. In that role, he managed bilateral relationships with the United States, Russia and central Asian republics. From 2005 to 2007, Aas was Norway's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors.

In 2008, Aas won his first posting as an ambassador, to Afghanistan. Much of his work there involved seeing that Norway's funding for school construction was put to good use. Aas returned to Oslo in 2010 to become political director for the foreign ministry. He served in that role until being appointed to the Washington post. The oil business is important to Norway, so Aas' first trip after coming to the United States was to Houston, where he met with energy company officials.

Aas has four children, three daughters and one son. He makes a point of getting up early to go for a run through the streets of Washington.
Norway traditionally provides the Christmas tree for Washington's Union Station. For his first Christmas in Washington, Aas had the tree decorated with 700 reflectors with an image of "The Scream", the iconic painting by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. It's Norwegian custom to have children wear reflectors so they're able to be seen in the dark.
This year the theme will be the ocean.  "The ocean is the future in turning towards green economy and blue economy. The ocean as a subject will be the most important topic for the embassy in the US for the next year or two," says Aas.
Ambassador Aas shared that on Friday the Viking ship "Draken" will be arriving at the wharf in Washington, D.C.  It has sailed all the way from Norway to the US on an East Coast tour. "We will use the ship's presence as a focal point of both the challenges and the opportunities the ocean has to offer," said Aas.