For Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter, she would “never want another job” than the one she has now.
As Swedish Ambassador to the United States, Olofsdotter “couldn’t imagine” herself in any other career because of the different opportunities it’s given her.
“[The job] is all about getting to learn about a country and its people,” Olofsdotter said.
The event, “Perspectives on International Affairs and Diplomacy: A Conversation with Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter,” was held in the Lewis Katz Building from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21.
The Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) hosted Olofsdotter. This is her first time visiting Penn State.
Olofsdotter assumed office in September 2018, however her career in foreign service began in 1994 as she was posted to the Embassy of Sweden in Moscow.
Later, she worked in security policy and defense, and held many leadership posts within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She also served as chief of staff for many of its ministers.
Then in 2008, she was appointed deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C.
According to Olofsdotter, she was an “unexpected diplomat”.
“My university studies were a bit random,” she said.
Olofsdotter studied at UCLA Anderson School of Management where she received a B.A. in psychology, economics, and Russian. She speaks three languages — Russian, French and English.
Trade and defense are Olofsdotter’s top priorities.
Sweden has a “good and positive” relationship with Trump and the United States, according to Olofsdotter.
However, Sweden is “upset” the U.S. has backed out of the Paris Agreement — but is “hopeful” the U.S. will act on solutions soon.
Sweden “is very good at recycling” — 99% of their waste is recycled.
“In Sweden, [climate change] is not a political issue, all political parties put it at the top of the agenda,” said Olofsdotter. “For us, this is existential.”
In 2045, Sweden plans to have no carbon emissions as there’s a roadmap for cement and steel companies.
Steel companies will release their first carbon emissionless products in 2026.
Paige Gillespie (sophomore-nursing), a student who attended the event, said the U.S. should act as Sweden has when it comes to climate change.
“It looks like Sweden has taken many actions to combat climate change, we need to do that too,” Gillsepie said.
Trump has put tariffs on aluminum and steel, an act Sweden is “upset” about.
As described by Olofsdotter, this behavior is “unacceptable.” The ambassador only hopes the U.S. comes to see that this will hurt the economy by contributing to the loss of jobs.
The U.S. is the fourth largest trading partner to Sweden and currently, the two countries are trying to reach a trade compromise.
“I cannot say trade talks are going very well — we’re not even close.
“If there is a trade war between the European Union and the U.S., it will affect defense and security,” Olofsdotter said.
According to Olofsdotter, it’s time countries “look at trade and security as part of the same game”.
Despite the fact that Olofsdotter didn’t expect this to be her career, she is “very happy” in her chosen field.
“I never want to have another job,” Olofsdotter said. “I’m sure there are a lot of fun jobs out there but none could be as fun as mine.”