House of Sweden Opens Exhibitions on Migration, Refugees
Swedish Ambassador Björn Lyrvall welcomed all to "Sweden on the Potomac," the House of Sweden on 29th Street in Georgetown (which houses the Swedish Embassy), for the March 15 debut of "Stories of Migration — Sweden Beyond the Headlines," curated by the Swedish Institute, and "Where the Children Sleep," a photo exhibition about refugee children in Europe and the Middle East by Magnus Wennman.
The debut date for the exhibitions was intentional: it was the sixth anniversary of the start of the Syrian civil war. The embassy's theme for 2017 is "Safe & Sound," highlighting the 10-year anniversary of the Sweden-U.S. agreement on cooperation in science and technology for homeland security matters.
With the ambassador — who noted that Sweden was named "Best Nation for Women" by U.S. News & World Report — was Sweden’s Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, Åsa Regnér, who said she found "hope and constructive anger" at the United Nations the day before. She added that "never before have 65 million persons been displaced." Also on hand during the reception was Robert Griffin, acting undersecretary for science and technology, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Nils Svartz, deputy director, General Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.
There was a solo performance by soprano Emily Samson Tepe, whose ancestors immigrated to the U.S. from Sweden on the third voyage of the Kalmar Nyckel in 1641, and a performance by Swedish dancer and choreographer Mersiha Mesihovic, accompanied by Visnja Krzic, with an excerpt from "She Is a Refugee Star."
The large crowd at the opening reception enjoyed wine, beer and bourbon mixtures, as well as a hearty selection of vegetarian dishes — just to be "Safe & Sound."
The two free exhibitions at House of Sweden are open to the public on weekends from noon and 5 p.m. "Where the Children Sleep" runs through June 4. "Stories of Migration—Sweden Beyond the Headlines" runs through Dec. 10.