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President Obama in hosting the President of Finland and the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden for a U.S. – Nordic Leaders’ Summit meeting in May. This is an important moment, when Western democracies see their values being threatened from the outside and from within, including a resurgent Russia, the migration crisis, the rise of populism, the list is long.

These five countries, with very distinct characteristics and identities, also have a common past and common global future. The Nordic countries are some of the closest allies and partners to the U.S. and global leaders in their commitment to democratic values, strong market economies and a strong sense of social consciousness and welfare. They are also some of the most creative and innovative countries, leading in education, design, film, literature, fashion and architecture.

Given all this, can they as a distinct group of strong democracies make a difference?

Ulf Sverdrup
Director, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Ulla Rønberg
Senior Visiting Scholar, Johns Hopkins University SAIS


Antti Vänskä
Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of  Finland, Washington D.C.
Erlingur Erlingsson
Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Iceland, Washington D.C.

Carl Mossfeldt
Yale World Fellow, Yale University, Former CEO of the Tällberg Foundation


Amb. Andras Simonyi
Managing Director, SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations