Swedish Ambassador Finds Fun in Jakarta Sun

“This is my first posting in Asia and I’m thrilled to come to this region, which we all realize is growing in importance. I have seen a bit around Jakarta and Bali, but I know I still have much more to see and I can’t wait to go out,” says Ann Marie Birgitta Bolin Pennegard, Sweden’s new Ambassador to Indonesia.
The scorching sun and the steamy weather of Indonesia don’t bother her, as she is a gardening enthusiast who says such a climate is beautiful and brings out the best in tropical flowers.
But in terms of traffic, it is clear the situation in Stockholm is much easier to live with, Pennegard quickly added.
It has been just less than six months since Pennegard arrived Indonesia, a country she had never visited before. Like millions of Swedes back at home, she mostly heard of Indonesia in connection with natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
“But I have seen and learned that day-to-day life in Indonesia is so different. This is a country marching on its way to promoting democracy, trying to become more prosperous, creating new jobs for its citizens, basically the same agenda as in other countries, including my own.“
Pennegard was born in Osby on June 29, 1954. She speaks English, French and German, apart from her mother tongue.
She completed her master’s degree in law at the University of Lund, Sweden (1973-1977) and Harvard University (1977-1978), before joining the Swedish Foreign Service in 1979.
“I came out of law school, I wanted to do international relations or law because those were my fields of interest. It was also because of a kind of curiosity.
“I am a person who really thinks that life is a long learning process. And by joining the Foreign Service, you are constantly being confronted with new things to learn and new things to relate to. I never find life boring,” she said.
Being one of Sweden’s top diplomats with expertise in international law, Pennegard has had a number of important postings before Indonesia, including in New York, Warsaw, Geneva and Vienna, and she was also the director for criminal cases and judicial cooperation at the Swedish Ministry of Justice.
“This is my first posting in Asia and I’m thrilled to come to this region, which we all realize is growing in importance. I have seen a bit around Jakarta and Bali, but I know I still have much more to see and I can’t wait to go out,” she said.
She said she had set a goal to raise awareness among Swedish people about Indonesia and vice versa. Other goals are to strengthen the political, environmental and human rights dialogue between the two countries and promote trade and scientific exchange as well as people-to-people contacts.
“I believe it’s going to be very exciting to live in Indonesia for a few years and strengthen bilateral relations,” she said.

Related news:
Ambassador Ann Marie Bolin Pennegård was also interviewed by Suara Pembaruan, the biggest evening newspaper in Indonesia. The interview was published in the newspaper on 12 February 2008. Embassy of Sweden provides a free translation on the link below: http://www.swedenabroad.se/News____16667.aspx?slaveid=71646

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