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”United States is a place where dreams come true” – Theodore Sedgwick


Vladimír Orth
United Group, s.r.o. ׀ founder & CEO
Bratislava, Slovakia

Theodore Sedgwick is an ambassador of the USA to Slovakia, whereupon he has executed this function since 4. June 2013. After succesfull graduation from Harvard College where he studied Ottoman history, he was engaged in different commercial and noncommercial organizations. He established a publishing house Pasha Publications, energetic company Io Energy, he worked in boards of companies Inside Higher Ed, Atlantic Information Services and Washington Business Information. A considerable part of his activities has also a charitable dimension, because his career includes engaging in charitable organizations such as Civil War Preservation Trust, Wetlands America Trust and Land Trust Alliance. We asked Theodore Sedgwick not only about foreign policy of the USA.

   1) You deputize USA in SR at the diplomatic level. What does this work represent?

   At the diplomatic level, I simply advocate for US positions on foreign policy. However, it’s important to note that my job as a diplomat involves many other aspects, such as promoting trade and investment, military and security cooperation, cultural and educational exchange and a variety of other topics. This is what makes the job so interesting.

   2) The readers already had an opportunity to read several interviews with you in different media in Slovakia, however, readers of ourmagazine are interested in how do you percieve an enterprise environment in SR and what is in your opinion the difference from that in the USA?

   On balance, Slovakia has a good climate for foreign direct investment. A skilled work force, a generally flexible labor code and reasonably low taxes are all positive. However, many companies doing business in Slovakia have expressed concern about the Rule of Law in the country, a view that I share. Businesses say that they have no confidence in the reliability of the judiciary, which is a serious problem.

   3) Why do you think that an adherent of the democratic party Barack Obama won the presidential elections in the USA already for second time?

   We had two good candidates in the US in the last election. I think by and large voters preferred President Obama’s approach to economic policies. However, the American public is generally pretty evenly split on many of the key issues.

   4) What can the USA expect from Barack Obama in second term? What changes will follow for foreign policy?

   I don’t believe there will be significant changes in foreign policy during President Obama’s second term. I think many Europeans have been concerned that the US is shifting its attention away from Europe to Asia. While the US is clearly paying more attention to Asian security and commercial matters, this has not come at all at the expense of the US’s relationship with Europe. As you can see with the launchof negotiations to conclude a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, we see this relationship as critical, both strategically and economically.

   5) Worldwide economics and recession are a serious problem. Last months indicate that in the USA better times are coming. How do you see it by comparison with Europe?

   We have expressed our concerns that there may be an excessive emphasis in Europe on austerity, which has led to continued recession in Europe. The progrowth measures that President Obama took in the US – with the stimulus package quantitative easing and tax cuts – have succeeded in growing our economy and reducing unemployment.

   6) After election for a president had Barack Obama in February this year a very action speech in senate with a multitude of details about various topics without reading of stated text. Which part did interest you the most?

   The speech was a roadmap for the President’s second term, laying out the policies he wants to enact over the remainder of his time in office. I was particularly struck by his focus on making necessary decisions to cut our budget, but at the same time continuing to invest in things like infrastructure and education. He also emphasized the need to rebuild the American middle class, which has been hit particularly hard by the economic recession. Finally, he spoke eloquently of the need for immigration reform and for both political parties to come together to solve the challenges the United States faces.

   7) The United States have grown from its formation particularly on the wave of immigration, this topic is important also for the present government administration. What is your opinion of this topic?

   The United States is a nation of immigrants and our country has been enriched by the waves of immigrants who have come to our shores. President Obama would like to liberalize our immigration policies, giving some illegal immigrants a path to citizenship while strengthening our borders from further illegal immigration. Our Congress is addressing this right now.

   8) On your position of an ambassador you and your wife represent the country, where clever people’s dreams can come true. What do you think about this statement?

   My wife and I certainly believe that the United States is a place where dreams come true. Someone like Barack Obama can come from a broken biracial family with little means and become President of the United States. And many entrepreneurs can become billionaires almost overnight.

   9) In the past people like A. Carnegie or Rockefeller did very much for the country and people in the USA. At present their followers W. Buffet or B. Gates and others go the same way. Why do you think that exactly the companies and people from the USA belong to the biggest philantrophists in the world?

   Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political thinker and historian, traveled to the United States in the 1830s and commented on how Americans were so generous and hospitable. Perhaps it started when pioneers depended on the charity of the earlier settlers in the country. However, I believe it’s true that Americans are by and large a generous people and want to give back to society.

   10) If we can ask you, what is your life credo?

   “To give away money is an easy matter, and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter. Hence it is that such excellence is rare, praiseworthy and noble.” Aristotle.

Vladimír Orth


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