Sweden is a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council during 2017-18. Consequently, security was on the agenda during the grand opening. Sweden’s Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, Åsa Regnér, spoke about equality for all. She said she was very moved by the exhibition about migration.

One of the exhibitions, "Stories of Migration — Sweden beyond the Headlines," curated by the Swedish Institute, is a mixture of texts, videos and art telling the stories about Swedish civic engagement in the refugee crisis, integration, history and social media.
On the lower level, "Where the Children Sleep,” by the Swedish award winning photographer Magnus Wennman, exhibits portraits of refugee children in Europe and the Middle East, and the places their lives on the run force them to sleep.


Surrounded by these heartbreaking photos, Swedish dancer and choreographer Mersiha Mesihovic performed a powerful routine. Mesihovic and her family took the last bus from the war-torn city of Mostar, Bosnia; her performance depicts this journey, that continued when they arrived as refugees in Sweden.
During his speech, Ambassador of Sweden Björn Lyrvall pointed out that people once emigrated from Sweden as well. To escape poverty and famine, many Swedes crossed the Atlantic and ended up in America. On this topic, there was a performance by soprano Emily Samson Tepe, 2015 Swedish American of the Year. Tepe's ancestors immigrated to the U.S from Sweden in 1641. The performance shed light on the historic relations between the United States and Sweden, and made it a part of the theme itself:
"Our countries have enjoyed close relations dating back to the founding of the United States and we share an interest in maintaining and deepening our safe and sound partnership," Lyrvall said.
In the warm light of many candles, guests enjoyed vegetarian food, prepared in harmony with nature. And this is what the entire night was about: safety for all. The event provided an embracing dialogue, all of it imbued with the theme and feeling of "safe and sound.” It was a safe place; it was a house full of Sweden.
House of Sweden and its exhibitions are open to the public during the weekends from 12-5 p.m.

Frida Garvill
Photography: Grant Ellis/Embassy of Sweden

For more info, see www.houseofsweden.com