It's not everyday you are invited to dinner with the HRH Prince Daniel of Sweden, the Swedish Ambassador, Jonas Hafström, and the Swedish Minister for Health and Human Affairs, Göran Hägglund. Steve Ressler and I had that honor this week. We took part in a fantastic discussion about social media, innovation and the impact on economies at the Swedish Ambassadors residence. At the heart of the discussion was how disruptive social media has been and the transformation we have witnessed culturally and economically.
Being the youngest attendee (25), I was a little star-struck by the crowd. Also at the dinner were numerous entreprenuers, innovators, professors and Press Secretries for the HRH Prince Daniel, Minister Hagglund and Ambassador Hafstrom. Ambassador Hafstroms wife was also there, Eva, who had a fascinating background, as she helped develop the intranet for the police in Sweden. During dinner, I had a moment when I looked around and had a "wow" moment. Being the huge Seinfeld fan that I am, it felt like when George was hired by the Yankees, Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle ... Costanza - I have been repeating to myself, HRH Prince Daniel, Hafstrom, Hagglund..Fiorenza?! It was just a great dinner and an honor to have been invited to attend.
Dinner had some really great moments, discussions of how connected we are, changes in governance due to social media, potential growth of new industries due to technology, and we also learned that Ambassador Hafstrom's dog loves to Skype! We talked quite a bit about Spotify and using Spotify as a model to help and encourage young entrepreneurs in Sweden.
After dinner Steve and I were lucky enough to speak with HRH Prince Daniel for around 45 minutes. We began to give some advice to the Prince on how to best use social media and help forward one of his passions, improving the health and welfare of children in Sweden. Prince Daniel was inspiring how he talked about his passions, and his commitment to improve the lives of the children of Sweden. I'm sure his program will be an enormous success once he gets rolling.
I was also able to stop by an event at Miner School where HRH Prince Daniel was in attendance for part of the "Nordic Day," celebrations, in which children are exposed to Nordic culture. I snuck into an early press briefing and the Prince was greeted by a group of children who sang the National Anthems of the USA and Sweden (In Swedish! Check out picture below). The students did a great job, in key, in unison, was thoroughly impressed.
Once again, the Princes' passion for children was on display. All protocol was broke as I witnessed numerous students run up to the Prince and wrap their arms around him and not let go. The Prince just smiled, you could tell everyone was enjoying themselves at the event. Smiles were all around, one child came up to me and said "This is the best day of my life." Another was raving about the blueberries and apples. Mayor Vincent Gray also stopped by, but most of the attention was clearly on the Prince.
At both the dinner and at the event, there was an energy I have never really experienced in my life. It was something so unique and very grateful to have the experience. If you ever are to dine with royalty, be respectful, be polite, double check any protocols and most of all, just be yourself and have fun. It was a pleasure to have these experiences this week, and ones I am very grateful to have taken part in.
Here are few photos from the event at Miner School.