CAIRO: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden paid a visit to Egypt as part of a one-year diplomatic training program run by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She was accompanied by 19 other young diplomats. The program was designed to give them a complete picture of their country’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
The royal visit to Egypt included a meeting with Egypt’s First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, officials at the Foreign Ministry, the League Arab States in Cairo and Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Swedish Consulate General and the Swedish Institute on promoting dialogue in Alexandria.
In an interview with The Daily Star Egypt, the future queen seemed very busy and interested in trying to learn as much as possible about the Middle East, international law, development, democracy, and human rights issues in the limited time she has available.
“I’m very fortunate and feel very happy, she said, describing her feelings as regards to the program which began last September and included time in Turkey, Jordan and Egypt.
“I’m pleased I have an opportunity to take part in this diplomatic training program . since I was young I’ve been wondering . [about] the education of diplomats. I always felt I need to know pretty much what they need to know for their job, she said, explaining her enthusiasm to join the program alongside her other studies.
The Crown Princess, who is also the Duchess of Västergötland, Sweden, is 29 years old.
“I would definitely do it again . I’ll try to find every single reason to go abroad and visit them [her colleagues in the diplomatic corps] in various countries of course .
Her next plans after returning home Thursday are to continue – along with her royal tasks of course – studies in the fall at a Stockholm university where she studies international relations and crisis management.
“It is a pleasant problem of mind that I’m very easily interested in things, but it does get complicated because I have a tendency not to be able to finish anything because I’m too eager to learn new things, she said.
Crown Princess Victoria also conferred on renowned businessman Onsi Sawiris the Royal Order of the Polar Star bestowed by her father the King of Sweden, Carl Gustaf XIV, at the embassy headquarters in Cairo on Wednesday night.
Sawiris was recognized for his efforts in promoting ties between the two countries during the last 35 years. Sawiris is also the head of the Egyptian Scandinavian Business Association.
But no trip to Egypt could be complete without a visit to the Giza pyramids. “It was just amazing and it is absolutely incredible, the impressed future queen said.
“It would be incredible just seeing them of course, but knowing that one doesn’t even know – today in 2007 – how they were constructed . makes it even more incredible, she added.
The Crown Princess says she hopes to return to Egypt soon and experience more of what the country has to offer.
“I hope to be able to come back [to Egypt] soon in order to really travel around Egypt and see more of what Egypt has given [the world], she said.
“I’m very much looking forward to visiting the new Egyptian museum which I hear so much about, she added, referring to the new museum planned for construction in the Remaya area of Giza, scheduled for completion by 2011.
“Apparently it will be wonderful not only for the visitors, but also for the objects and, of course, all the precious things that Egypt has – the cellars that are just full of them. I’m hopeful and just looking forward to visiting the new museum.
Describing herself as a sporty person who is active and enjoys being outdoors, Crown Princess Victoria also said that she is interested in environmental conservation and has a real interest in nature like her mother in a sense, “but my father particularly [as he] is very environmentally aware and always works for nature.
On whether she was absorbed by her duties in class and in the palace, she said: “During the day, you don’t get drained of energy [only]; you gain a lot of energy as well from what you learn and also from this group [the diplomats]. It is a wonderful group .
And one of her personal goals is to see everyone living in peace and harmony. “Of course, we are all striving for peace, especially at this time when things are getting quite dark, sad and very depressing in many ways.