Norwegian Crown Prince Couple attends CGI in NYC

“Who are they?” asked curious New Yorkers, when noticing the media crew crowding around Norway’s Crown Prince and Princess on a busy midtown sidewalk on Sept. 24.

By Berit Hessen – Norwegian American Weekly

A smiling and relaxed Crown Prince Couple in New York City. Photo © Berit Hessen.

A smiling and relaxed Crown Prince Couple in New York City. Photo © Berit Hessen.

Their Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon Magnus and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were visiting New York last week to take part in the 5th Annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), hosted by former President Bill Clinton.At the CGI, world leaders work together to plan and launch specific projects to address global economic, environmental and social challenges. This was the first time the Crown Prince Couple attended the forum.

The Norwegian royals were not present when President Barack Obama addressed CGI’s opening session, but they attended the two last days of the forum. On their first day, the royal couple sat next to actor Ben Stiller, who is involved with the Save the Children Foundation. Celebrities such as Bono, Brad Pitt, and Quincy Jones also attended.

During their busy schedule, the Royal Couple talked with Norwegian journalists outside the Sheraton Hotel on 7th Avenue. Amongst the bustling crowd, the royal couple also made time to interact with the spectators in a jovial manner.

“This is an exciting and pulsating city,” the charming Prince commented. The Crown Prince, who lived in New York for a month in 1999, said “it is very nice to be back.”

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess expressed a deep interest in the issues discussed at the seminar. HRH Crown Prince Haakon, who has been a Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP (United Nations Development Program) since 2006, said: “significant progress has been made and we must realize that our goals are achievable.” He is very engaged in conveying the United Nation’s importance and working with strengthening authorities to find local solutions. Target number one of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) is to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day. The dedicated Norwegian Crown Prince remarked: “I think we are on the right track to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015.” The Crown Prince is also concerned about climate change. “I don’t think we in the long run can improve development issues without integrating the climate,” he stated.

HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit is involved in the UN’s humanitarian work as well. She is a Special Representative for UNAIDS (The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS).

Two former Norwegian Prime Ministers were amongst the 60 former or current heads of state that took part in CGI 2009; Gro Harlem Brundtland (UN’s Special Envoy on Climate Change) and Kjell Magne Bondevik (President at Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights). This year’s summit gathered more than $8 billion in pledges. In total, the commitments are projected to improve more than 200 million lives, according to the initiative’s website.

While in New York, the Norwegian Royal Couple were interviewed by the renowned international correspondent Christine Amanpour on her new CNN program “Amanpour.” The show will air on Oct. 2.

This article was originally published in the Norwegian American Weekly on Sept. 28, 2009. For more information about the Weekly, call us at (800) 305-0217 or email

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