New Alaskan consul

Norwegian-American and lifelong Alaskan appointed Norway’s new Honorary Consul in Alaska

Photo: Tom Falskow Lise Falskow, the new Norwegian Honorary Consul for Alaska, with Ambassador Kåre Aas and her document of appointment.

Photo: Tom Falskow
Lise Falskow, the new Norwegian Honorary Consul for Alaska, with Ambassador Kåre Aas and her document of appointment.

Terje Birkedal
Anchorage, Alaska

Lise Kristiansen Falskow, a lifelong Alaskan who holds dual Norwegian and U.S. citizenship, has been appointed as the new Norwegian Honorary Consul for Alaska. Her appointment was formally announced by Ambassador Kåre Aas, Norway’s Ambassador to the United States, at a formal dinner held in Falskow’s honor in Anchorage, Alaska, on August 26, 2015.

Falskow’s background and work history makes her a perfect fit for the job. She was born in Anchorage and has been an active member of Sons of Norway since she was a child and her parents, Kjell and Marit Kristiansen, began bringing her to Sons of Norway Bernt Balchen Lodge events. Her mother, Marit, has served several times as president of the lodge and most recently as president of Sons of Norway International.

Her proud husband, Tom Falskow, is also a past president of Bernt Balchen Lodge. In fact, their young sons Erik and Espen are both active members of the lodge in the tradition of their parents.

Falskow is fluent in Norwegian and in the late nineties spent three years living and working in Norway as a Senior Financial Analyst for Norsk Hydro. Her educational background is in economics and accounting, and she is currently the president and CEO of the Alaska World Affairs Council, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to increasing both interest and knowledge of world affairs among Alaskans. This year her organization hosted His Majesty King Harald V of Norway at a panel discussion on the Arctic at which the king gave the opening remarks to an enthusiastic and rapt audience of over 500 attendees.

Her job as Honorary Consul will be to promote Norwegian interests and further Norwegian-American cooperation in Alaska. She will also provide emergency assistance to Norwegian citizens living in or visiting Alaska. She says she loves “connecting people together; it is what I do,” so she looks forward to connecting Norwegians to Alaskans who are actively engaged in government, business, and education.

The timing of her appointment is a critical one for Norway and the United States. Alaska is what makes the United States an Arctic nation; it also makes up one-fifth of the landmass of the United States. Starting this year the United States will assume the Chairmanship of the world-wide Arctic Council. Similarly, it is relevant to note that Erna Solberg, Norway’s Prime Minister, has recently announced that “The Arctic is Norway’s most important foreign policy priority;” a diplomatic priority that has been reiterated by Norway’s Foreign Minister, Børge Brende. This focus on the Arctic by both nations will undoubtedly bring challenges to Falskow in her new role as Honorary Consul for Alaska, but challenges she is aptly and uniquely qualified to meet.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 4, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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Terje Birkedal

Terje G. Birkedal was born in Stavanger, Norway, in 1946. He immigrated to the U.S. as a child and grew up in Colorado. After earning a Ph.D. in Anthropology he served as an archeologist with the National Park Service for 36 years. He has conducted fieldwork in Alaska, the American South and Southwest, Canada, the Great Plains, Guam, and Norway. He served five years as President of Sons of Norway Bernt Balchen Lodge in Anchorage, Alaska, and he has always been passionate about Norwegian prehistory, history, and culture.