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Remarks by Ambassador Alan Leventhal at U.S. Independence Day Celebration
U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark Alan Leventhal at Rydhave, Copenhagen, Denmark on August 31, 2023
September 1, 2023

Excellencies, Ministers, distinguished colleagues, and friends – welcome. 

Thank you for joining me on this beautiful afternoon to celebrate American independence and the birth of our great democracy, which turned 247 years old on July 4.  On this occasion, we honor the strong and historic alliance between the United States and the Kingdom of Denmark and reflect on our many shared accomplishments. 

Sherry and I have been in Denmark since a year ago June and what a year it has been. 

President Biden welcomed Prime Minister Frederiksen to the White House in June.  As I sat in the Oval Office and watched the warmth of the conversation and rapport between these two great leaders, it was clear that the relationship between the United States and Denmark has never been stronger or more important.   

And the past year has required our action as partners in addressing great challenges. 

The brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine has shaken the foundations of peace and security here in Europe and has had impact across the globe.  Denmark has joined with the United States, our NATO allies and partners in sending unprecedented levels of military, humanitarian support to Ukraine and imposing ever stronger sanctions on Russia to stop its war of aggression. 

Denmark, along with the Netherlands, and now Norway has announced the donation of F-16s to Ukraine and the start of a pilot training program in Jutland.  Is there anyone standing here today who was not deeply moved to see President Zelensky here in Denmark thanking the Danish people for their support of Ukraine? 

I visited with the Ukrainian Ambassador shortly after President Zelensky left Denmark.  It was an emotional meeting with my friend Mykhailo.  He kept saying, thank you to Denmark, thank you to the United States and thank you to NATO.  He said Ukraine will never forget what we all have done.   

Mykhailo, as President Biden has said: We stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. 

The passage of the $370 Billion Inflation Reduction Act one year ago reestablished the United States’ leadership in climate change.  This landmark legislation is the largest U.S.  action ever to address this global issue and Denmark is a critical partner in the implementation of the IRA. 

Denmark has been a leader in the green transition across the globe.  In the United States, almost a third of the installed wind turbines are Danish.  Last May, the Minister of Business and Industry, Morten Bødskov and I, co-led a delegation of Danish companies to Washington to the Commerce Department’s Select USA annual conference.  Denmark brought one of the largest business delegations in the world with a strong representation in the green transition.  Danish firms recognize the significant opportunities in the U.S.  which will accelerate the changes needed to achieve a Net–Zero Future.   

This is about scaling new technologies which will be available to the world.  This is about energy security in Europe which after the Russian invasion of Ukraine has become an imperative.  This is about realigning clean energy supply chains to trusted partners.  This is about Denmark, Europe, the United States, and the world – working together to save our planet. 

This has also been a year where we have worked closely with Denmark’s outstanding research institutions and foundations to foster closer connections with America’s top institutions.  Last December, the Novo-Nordisk foundation announced the Novo-Nordisk Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, it is the first center Novo-Nordisk has established outside of Denmark.  I was privileged to speak at the announcement ceremony at Novo-Nordisk’s headquarters and last month, I visited Cambridge, Massachusetts and met with the CEO of the Broad Institute and the outstanding Novo leadership team. 

I was struck by the incredible vision of this center, to not only solve important health issues, but also serving to strengthen the Universities here in Denmark, who are all active partners in the research.  Denmark has a critical role to play in a wide range of global challenges from quantum, to health, to cyber security. 

The great strength in our democracies are our research institutions, and it will be a continued priority of our work here to strengthen U.S.  – Denmark research ties. 

How exciting to see such a powerful example of this relationship and cooperation with the blasting off into space of the first Danish Astronaut: Andreas Mogensen.  He is the first non-American to pilot a NASA Space-X mission.  He and his crew will spend six months at the International Space Station to conduct experiments related to climate, health, and space. 

I plan on visiting Cape Canaveral in October to observe the launch of the Psyche Asteroid Mission.  This launch, which involves the technology of DTU, is another example of our close cooperation in research and technology. 

In the realm of security, our alliance has proven indispensable in confronting emerging threats and safeguarding global stability.  NATO has protected over 1 billion people in Europe and North America for almost three quarters of a century.  It is the most powerful alliance in the history of the world.  Putin misunderstood the power of democracy and the strength of NATO. 

Today, NATO has never been stronger or more united.  With the recent admission of Finland, and Sweden hopefully soon to follow, NATO stands firm in its defense of freedom. 

 Our joint commitment to NATO reaffirms our dedication to the collective defense and ensures the safety of our citizens. 

As we confront increasing challenges from: cyberattacks and other forms of digital abuse, terrorism, hybrid warfare, and international crime our cooperation remains critical. 

Denmark and the United States also share a rich history of strong commercial connections marked by an enduring partnership that fuels transatlantic commerce, innovation, and shared economic prosperity.  The Danish-American trade relationship is a powerful engine, responsible for generating thousands of jobs in the United States and Denmark.  These stem from both Danish companies’ substantial presence in the U.S.  and the export of American goods and services to Denmark.  The growth in exports to the United States have been remarkable.  The U.S.  is now the largest export market for Denmark and growing rapidly. 

Beyond security and trade, our cultural ties have also flourished, enriching our societies, and fostering a deeper understanding between our peoples.  Cultural exchange programs, educational partnerships, and artistic collaborations continue to strengthen the bonds of friendship that unite us.  One example is the U.S.  Denmark Fulbright commission which celebrates its 72nd year.  Fulbright forges connections between American and Danish researchers and students.  The significant presence of Americans in Denmark and Danes in the United States plays a pivotal role in amplifying the bridge between our nations and enhances the shared appreciation of our diverse traditions and perspectives. 

From the mid–1800s, the great migration of Danes took 90% of them to the small towns in the American Midwest over 300,000 people.  Today those Danes seeking a new life in the United States have almost 1.5 million descendants living in America, equivalent to a quarter of Denmark today.  America’s strength is its diversity, and Danish Americans are an important part of that richness. 

You all know how important the Artic and North Atlantic have become due to climate change and security issues.  The last year has been an active one on these important issues.  This year, on April 6, I had the distinct pleasure to attend a ceremony to rename Thule Air base in Greenland to the Pituffik Space Base, alongside distinguished guests, and Greenlandic community members.  Pituffik is less than 1000 miles from the North Pole and since 1951 has played a critical security role, as well as being an important home to scientific research. 

This historic event, that I was so very proud to be part of, represents our wish to celebrate and acknowledge the rich cultural heritage of Greenland and its people.  I look forward to visiting South Greenland next month for our annual Joint Committee meeting with the Greenlandic and Danish governments, where we will advance our partnership in trade and investment, education and culture, science and environment, as well as mining and energy. 

Last August, Sherry joined me in welcoming a U.S.  Submarine to the Faroe Islands.  In June, I was again pleased to welcome the second visit of a U.S.  submarine.  The visits of the USS Georgia and Delaware are examples of the close cooperation with the Faroese and Danish governments to advance our common security interests.  And just last week, Atlantic Airways ran its first direct flight from the Faroes to the United States.  A testament to the growing strength of our relationship. 

During my tenure as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, I have also made it a priority to engage with as many young people as possible.  I have already visited over 20 gymnasiums and universities, as well as young people in many organizations across Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands.  I engage with them for a simple reason.  They are the future of the U.S.  – Denmark relationship.  They are the smartest generation in the history of the world and no generation has cared more deeply about the preservation of our planet.  From tackling climate change to raising awareness about mental health and fighting for social equality, their enthusiasm and passion are both inspiring and impactful. 

I would like to recognize my colleagues at the Embassy in Copenhagen and the Consulate in Nuuk.  While it is the honor of a lifetime for me to serve as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, it is the passion, perseverance, wise counsel, and support of the more than 150 people who work in our Mission here in Copenhagen and our Consulate in Nuuk that make us successful.  And of course, my work starts early every morning inspired by Sherry’s enthusiasm, support, and love of Denmark. 

So let us celebrate all of these symbols of our strong friendship and seize this moment to reaffirm our commitment to the enduring partnership between the Kingdom of Denmark and the United States.  As we confront the complexities of our ever-changing world, let us remember the values that bind us: democracy, freedom, and the pursuit of a better future for all.  May our shared journey continue to flourish, guided by the principles that have defined our nations for centuries. 

Happy U.S.  Independence Day and may our alliance continue to shine as a beacon of hope to the world as we act together for the betterment of mankind. 

Thank you.