US Ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun Resigns, Announces New Obama Mission

Today, Ambassador Barzun of the US Embassy in Stockholm announced he is leaving post to take on a new mission as Chair of the National Finance Committee for President Obama’s reelection campaign.  As far as I could tell, no embassy statement has so far been posted about his resignation.  But Ambassador Barzun, who blogs regularly in BlogOm Sweden, posted the following announcement in his blog. Republished in full below:

Blog Om: My New Mission

Two years ago, President Obama asked me to serve in this great and globally connected nation of Sweden because I understood and believed in his vision for America and its role in the world.  All of us at U.S. Embassy Stockholm have worked hard together to carry that out, expressing to Swedes that America doesn’t seek to command respect through power but to earn it through leadership and friendship. In a variety of ways, including this blog, we have sought to connect with citizens throughout Sweden in a direct and personal way.

But now President Obama has asked me to take on a new mission. He is seeking reelection and has asked me to help steer that effort by serving as Chair of his National Finance Committee. I am honored to be asked to serve in this new capacity, and am accepting the president’s call. However, because of the nature of American presidential elections, it means I will have to leave this post all too soon — at the end of May.

The president sent me to Sweden with one word of advice: “Listen.” That’s what I have tried to do. I have been traveling throughout the country since I arrived, listening and learning. From Sweden’s leadership in sustainability and clean energy to its deep sense of international responsibility, as we have seen most recently in Libya, to the sense of balance embedded in the Swedish national character, I have soaked it all up and become forever enriched.

Brooke, our children, and I have lived a Swedish life together here – one that will always be precious in our memories. At the same time, we look forward to continuing the wonderful relationships we’ve forged with the many Swedes we count as friends. As we move on to the next mission, Sweden comes along as part of who we are. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Ambassador Barzun known for his American Road Show, and for flipping American-style pancakes for host country guests in embassy in a box events in Sweden, recently took the road show to Linköping:       

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Photos from US Embassy Stockholm/Flickr