A Centennial CHRONICLE 1911-2011

Article excerpt




Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union and Boris Yeltsin became the first elected president of the Russian Federation. The Dow Jones Industriai Average closed above 3,000 for the first time ever. Exxon agreed to pay $1 billion to clean up after the Alaskan oil spill of the Exxon Valdez. A 5,000-year-old frozen mummified corpse was discovered in the Austrian Alps.


Great Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated. The second Disney theme park outside the U.S. opened in Paris and was named Disneyland Paris. More than 100 governments attended the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development opened in Rio de Janeiro. The European Union was created and laid the framework for closer monetary and economic cooperation.


The ASF celebrated the last five years of Nordic filmmaking with a Nordic Film Festival in New York City. Many directors, producers, and actors attended and participated. On opening night, Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist was presented with the Foundation's Cultural Award.

James L. Howard was elected Chairman of ASF's Board of Trustees.

Nearly 500 young Scandinavians and Americans - both professionals and students - participated in the Foundation's Training Program to learn new skills while living abroad.


This was a "good news, bad news" year for the Foundation's Fellowships and Grants Program, according to Board Chairman James L. Howard. The good news was that the ASF continued to receive a large number of top-quality applications and the people selected for awards were of highest caliber. The troublesome news was that the value of the endowment funds that provided the dollars for those awards continued to decline through inflation. Accordingly, the Foundation decided to establish a formal "Planned Giving Program" in hopes of attracting new funds for the educational exchange endowment.

Because of a perceived need to periodically re-examine the strength and vitality of Foundation programs, a LongRange Planning Committee was established that would address present opportunities and future challenges.


The year's gala benefit dinner was an elegant but sporty affair. Cohosted by the ASF and the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce, it became an American-Scandinavian salute to the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz served as Master of Ceremonies and Gerhard Heiberg, President and CEO of the Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee, was the guest of honor. Almost 600 people attended the festivities.

An example of the ASF's ongoing reciprocal exchanges was the Volvo student program involving the Volvo GM Heavy Truck Corporation in the U.S. and Volvo Lastvagnar in Sweden. The program offered observation and homestays, and had 17 participants in this year.

While the ASF was located in a rental space as the plans to build its own cultural center moved forward, its sponsorship of Scandinavian programs increased. Included were a production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; a children's film festival at Lincoln Center; and a Nordic poetry festival at the Cooper Union in Manhattan.


The ASF fellowships and grants were awarded to nearly 80 Scandinavians and Americans for professional or graduate study in fields as diverse as economics, film theory, environmental engineering, and archaeology. Awards were also made in support of 30 institutional and special projects across the U.S., including visits to the U.S. by choirs from Iceland and Finland, a photography exhibition in Seattle, a theater production in Iceland, and an exhibition of Swedish folk art in Santa Fe.

The 50th anniversary of the Republic of Iceland was the theme of the Foundation's 1994 gala dinner dance with Vigdis Finnbogadóttir, President of Iceland, as the guest of honor. …