Andy

01/31/2013

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by: Warren Furth
I am addressing myself directly to you, Andy, since, as Mike wrote, you’ll be listening to us.

Andy, when we first met 44 years ago, shortly after you arrived in Geneva in1968, I was so impressed by you that I offered you a job on the spot, which you promptly accepted – but were not allowed to take up because of dubious medical reasons. Some 21 years later, in 1989, shortly after my retirement, it was your turn to offer me a job, which I promptly accepted but could not take up because of other, non-medical reasons. In the period between these two events we became great friends and remained such until the end.

Our friendship grew ever firmer especially through our active collaboration in ACA, of which you were the founder, the engine and the guiding light. I came to marvel at your incredible energy, the volume of ideas that sprouted from your brain and the persistence and courage with which you pursued them. I don’t know how you had the time to do all this: did you ever sleep?

You had a vast network of friends and acquaintances all over the world whom you often helped with their personal problems and whom you enlisted in your fight for the many worthy causes that you championed. I once was a beneficiary of your warm kindness when you devoted some time and effort in ensuring that one of my grandchildren would not be born stateless. Whatever you did, you thought it was fun. When I once asked you why you had not gone into politics, you replied that if you had stayed in the U.S. you would certainly have run for Congress, maybe for the Senate. I am sure, Andy,that you would have become a great Senator and that, moreover, you would have had fun being one.

Good bye, Andy. It was fun knowing you. I shall miss you.
 

Andy

01/31/2013

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by: Willem Oosterveld
The first time I met Andy was -how could it be otherwise? was in a bookstore, and this was the one in the central square in Annapolis, where he and I were attending a student conference at the Naval Academy back in 2005. Little could I suspect how Andy would end up becoming such a great friend, introducing me to many more, and, on top of that, shape my outlook on the world. I was finishing up my studies in New York, and was going to move to Geneva a few months thereafter. Once there, he was first person I met. 

Since I lived in Grand-Lancy at the time, I was only a few minutes cycling away from where he lived, and I came to spend quite a few Sunday afternoons at his place, talking away about many, many things--and getting quizzed, literally, on things like how the wives of Henry VIII came to their end, and in which sequence. Or asking about what president died when and how. Does that sound familiar? That was typically Andy in my mind. 

I still remember the first time stepping into his living room, being baffled and fascinated at the same time that anyone would still live in an interior like that, and checking out the old volumes on Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau that were neatly lined up in the library. As many people have said over the past weeks, that room breathed Andy, and it said a lot about the Enlightenment values that he -and I- treasured --some of which were born in Geneva and carried subsequently to the United States. 

I think it's only one way in which Andy's consciousness about being alive and what it means have a shot at life on our little plant expressed itself. Not just did he have a strong historical awareness, but he was also very conscious about his own place in that whole context, and that it was worth fighting for something, because he felt that a single individual CAN make a difference if he or she wanted to. Of course, at one level, this is a personality trait, and one which I am sure was nourished by that one time that he went around DC as a young boy checking in at the office of Acheson it was I think, and realising that there is nothing that cannot be achieved. 

At the same time, his contrarian streak must also have been given a boost by that time when he was hospitalised in his twenties or so, when he was told he would succumb, and then felt that he had gotten a new lease of life when he recovered. He said that he had reached a seventh incarnation with which he could do whatever he wished, without the need to respect life's conventions or to answer society's expectations. And that's how he went about: fearlessly, indefatigably, doing things in his own way.   

I think that is what made him so special, liberated him, and also what helped him being so generous with so many people, making all of them feel that they were his best friend. Even if I have known him only for a short time compared to some of the others gathered around this table, I am equally grateful that he has been a part of my life, and also to be able to continue my friendship with you in the years to come, thanks to Andy!
 
 
by: Don Beyer
Andy was an amazing friend, and the most passionate advocate for Americans abroad there ever was.  71 is too damned young.  I will miss him.
 
 
by: David Lawson
A poetic setting for giving tribute to our dear friend Andy Sundberg might have been aboard one of the U.S. Navy destroyers sailing in the South China Sea (where he and I each found ourselves while serving in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam conflict), or perhaps within the hallowed halls of the U.S. Congress (where he knew the ‘ins’ and ‘outs,’ as well as anyone alive), or even in a corner of the Oval Office (where Andy’s views should have been more regularly sought).  But on reflection, it is here, amongst his friends at the Auberge de Founex, with a glass of honest Vaudois wine in hand, where the most sincere and heart-felt tributes to Andy will be given!  I am honoured to be amongst the FOA’s present tonight to salute Andy and all that he stood for.
Andy had a special influence in my life as he had in the lives of so many others, as is being confirmed tonight.  In addition to his clear code of conduct and honour and his honest respect for others, he had a passion for life as well as for his home country.  Andy, through his unique and personal approach to the people he met, sowed seeds of ideas, big and little, in his every conversation.  Those seeds often found fertile soil in the hearts and minds of those who listened, and could grow into important ideas, projects, organizations or individual actions and convictions. 

As is well known, Andy’s leitmotiv in his later years was to do all possible to improve the lot of his fellow Americans, particularly but not only for those living overseas.  He had become, after so many years working on it, the “perfect American Expat” – deeply knowledgeable about his homeland and its sometimes strange ways of doing things and honestly dedicated to its image and world success.  He remained deeply caring about the successes and failures of America at home and around the world.

Andy, as an idealist, believed with all his heart in promoting truth and justice and that – given the appropriate effort at the right time and place – serious wrongs could be righted.  While seeking to build consensus where possible, he was unwilling to compromise on important points of principle.   He tackled the problems he or others were facing with the same energy and verve he used for all things in life.  As we all know from his prodigious intellectual output (including the ever-present morning “APS – Andy-grams”), Andy was consistently devoted to the helping to understand and to assure the success of the “great American experiment with democracy.”  

Although he was let down time and again by what was going on in Washington, he never, ever, gave up his spirit or his ideals.  Nor would he push aside or seek that we ignore the “jabbering of fools” who might, at the time, be attempting (or pretending) to lead the great American nation.  Rather, he constantly sought dialogue and bridge-building and solution finding.

Andy believed that honest and reasonable people, working conscientiously together could resolve any problem or set of problems.  That was one of the main supporting principles for his very substantial recent efforts to assure the success of the 2012 tour of U.S. town hall meetings around Switzerland organized by the Americans in Switzerland Working Group, which he helped to conceive and set up.  The Working Group’s Report was completed in late August 2012, with his “John Hancock” freshly attached, just days before he unexpectedly left us.

The ASWG Report and its cover letter with Andy’s name included were sent to each and every Member of Congress and to every U.S. Ambassador around the world.  While it contained important contributions of several of the Working Group members, the Report is full of Andy’s influence and sentiment and efficiency.  The subjects covered and the easy-to-read style of the Report is amongst his legacies:   to get the facts straight, to keep our priorities straight, and our conclusions and reasoning well expressed. 

In describing Andy as a person, I believe it is appropriate to refer to the concept of “Ethos,” meaning Character” in ancient Greek.  This “Character” is of the classical kind; it is of a “public and rhetorical” rather than “internal and psychological” nature.  Classical Ethos reflects how the audience views and respects the speaker.  Not just any audience, but that found in the classical Greek forum, where the members take full part in collaborating to manage the republic and assure its well-being.  In this sense, “Ethos” reflects who the person is, when speaking in public, as seen by an audience experienced in the same political ideals.[1]  Andy, as Aristotle, accepted “ethos” as a legitimate and important part of persuasion, to be accompanied when appropriate by “logos” (logic) and “pathos” (the mobilization of emotions).  Andy, in making any important point known and seeking support from his friends and from others, exemplified, at lease from my point of view, the most successful “Ethos.”

For those of us who knew Andy well, it was never just what he said or proposed that was important.  It was also who he was himself.   John Stuart Mill has put it well in stating:

“Though direct moral teaching does much, indirect does much more…. [it] does not depend solely on what he said or did with that direct object, but also, and still more, on what manner of man he was.”

Andy’s constant example and dedication to principle, accompanied by his true friendship and affection for others even those with whom he did not fully agree has helped to shape and energize a generation or more of Americans, particular those like each of us living abroad.  I am most thankful to be amongst them.

David A. Lawson, III, D.Phil (Oxon)
International Arbitrator and Attorney-at-Law, Geneva
Member of the State Bar of California/ Bar of the United States Supreme Court

[1] “A Gentleman and a Scholar,” A Tribute to Edward Lane Davis by John S. Nelson, Porio, 3, of 2 December 2004.
 
 
by: David Bidwell
Andy and I arrived in Geneva at about the same time in the late sixties.  We were not close friends in those early years, as I worked in the Middle and Far East for much of the time.  It was not till years later, when he invited me to join the Burlamaqui society that we got to know each other well. 

As an American, I have always admired and appreciated Andy for his huge and meaningful contributions to the American community abroad.  I was also delighted to have enjoyed his exceptional intellect and his friendliness over the many years we knew each other.

Those of us who had the pleasure and stimulation of sharing in the monthly meetings of Andy’s Burlamaqui Society enjoyed a special and rare privilege.  The getting together with like-minded friends for the energetic discussions we had were something I always looked forward to with relish and all of us who are Burlamaqui members owe Andy a huge and lasting debt of thanks!

Everyone who knew Andy will miss him, as will I.  Even though we did not see each other as often as I would have liked, I always looked upon him as a unique and very special friend.
 
 
by: Danny Warner
Imagine you are an American tourist walking with your wife in Carouge looking at a map trying to figure out where you are and where you want to go. Your wife asks a stranger for directions in poor French with a heavy American accent. The stranger replies in English. You then start an intense conversation with him. The stranger spontaneously asks you and your wife to his home for dinner and then also invites your son who lives in Geneva. Your son becomes a good friend of the stranger. Your son becomes part of a large circle of friends of the stranger. Is this story unusual? Not at all. This was a large part of Andy the stranger in the story’s life, spontaneously making friends and connecting people.

Andy was a great networking and convenor. He started clubs – I once asked him how many and he couldn’t give me the exact answer. The Adam Smith Club, the Burlamaqui Society, the Overseas American Academy, the exclusive Bizzou Group are only a few alongside the better known American Citizens Abroad, Democrats Overseas and many others.

His generosity was enormous, and sometimes embarrassing. At the beginning of each Burlamaqui meeting people introduce themselves. Andy would always find something more laudatory to add to the modest introductions. He loved convening and organizing. Sitting around over a glass of wine one day, he mentioned the famous Genevese American Albert Gallatin’s 250th birthday coming up. No sooner said then done; we organized an all day conference on Gallatin, a reception with the Swiss Ambassador in Geneva, and a gala dinner with over 200 people.

Last Friday I walked into the Café Cuba, a favorite hangout of Andy and his friends for Friday lunches. I looked at the corner table where our group would regularly meet. I remembered how Andy would invariably bring along someone we didn’t know. Who was the new person? Simply an FOA, a friend of Andy’s.

How many FOA’s are there in the world? How many people did Andy help connect? How many people did he help get jobs? We will never be able to count them all. What do they all have in common? Many are Americans – Democrats and Republicans I should add – but they come from all over the world.

FOAs have several things in common. They are all dedicated to the cause of peace and justice in the world. They are all cosmopolitan, outside national, ethnic, religious or racial barriers. (Some gender criticism here of the Burlamaqui Society is merited.) Because of those commonalities, and the fortunate experience of having met Andy, we, they are all FOAs.

The outpouring of love and respect for Andy these days is not by accident. He reached out to so many people in so many different ways. In a sense, his greatest creation, besides his adoring family, is the informal worldwide network of FOA’s. No exams to enter like the Naval Academy, no selection process like for Rhodes Scholars, no dues to pay, no secret handshakes, no necessity of being an American or member of a political party. To be an FOA is just to love Andy, and to be sympathetic to the many causes he believed in, to be part of his enormous network.

Many clubs that Andy started are no longer functioning. The FOAs will continue. The network will grow; the relationships he started will expand.

Thank you Andy for connecting us, for convening us, for hosting us with Chantal, for informing us, for provoking us, for e-mailing us; our eternal gratitude for bringing us together and to Chantal for being such an important pillar for Andy and all of us.

Long live the FOAs. He who brought us together will always be an important thread that binds us together and will always bind us to him.
 
 
by: Joelle Kuntz
I interviewed him for the Swiss TV when he was a presidential candidate a long time ago.

Since that time, Andy was my « American in Geneva ». I learnt a lot with him: about America, about the world, his ideas of the world ; he introduced me – me a geographer !- to Saint Dié and Vespucci. We both shared the historical figures who build bridges between people and cultures, He always had a new story about ideas born in one place and used in another. He was a traffic observer and facilitator.

Now that he is no more with us as a pontifex we have to work alone, with his legacy.

As you surely know, Burlamaqui, ironising about the way the Geneva’s patricians manipulated the law, called the city an «aristo- democracy». I should not dare presuming what Andy would have said about today’s aristo-democracies but he often said that Burlamaqui was always with us.

Andy is with me, surrounded by all the characters of his connected world, past and present.

Je te salue, Andy

 
 
by: Gene Schulman
I first met Andy years ago, back in the early 1980s when I owned the Encounter Book Shop.  Andy would drop in and hang around because he  liked the idea of getting a free coffee or a glass of wine, and browse the shelves for books that  interested him.  As those of you who knew him well, he was the kind of guy who wherever we was would strike up conversations with perfect strangers and make friends of them, people we now refer to as FOAs.  I became one of them.  He became a regular client and was one of my best customers, rarely leaving the shop without one or two books under his arm.  As time went on we became good friends, discussing books, and learning of each other’s backgrounds.  And we discovered that we had many interests in common - the fact that I was serving in the US air force in Germany, when he was actually a high school student in Wiesbaden.  He told me about his consulting business in Geneva, and I told him about my experiences in the business world before I became a bookseller.

After I left the book business, I opened my own consulting company,  specializing in venture capital.  We continued to see each other and  compared notes about what we were currently doing.  I became deeply  involved with the European Venture Capital Association, and discovered that  there wasn’t really much venture investing in Europe, principally because  there was no way for investors to exit from their investments because there  was no market for them to sell them off.  I came up with the idea of creating a  European over the counter market which would facilitate these investors.  I  audaciously wrote a letter to Jacques Delors, then president of the European commission describing my idea.  To my utter surprise, Delors responded  positively and offered his help to create the market, and asked if I could do a  study describing exactly what should be done and how.  

Now I was in trouble, because my consulting company was comprised of only one  consultant. Me. How was I going to do this by myself, and who was going to  finance it?.. So I called Andy and described my problem and asked if he had the time to join me in this venture.  When he heard that Delors had endorsed it he immediately said yes, and we began to have meetings  to discuss how to go forward.  One of my clients was a successful, wealthy venture capital company and Andy suggested we approach them with the idea of making our own project an investment for them. We proposed to them that if they would put up the front money, we would conduct the study and sell copies of it in advance to other venture capitalists, banks, stock markets and others interested in such a creation.  Our offer was accepted, and Andy and I were off to the races.  

We spent a year traveling around Europe, interviewing those financial entities who were now becoming our actual customers for the study. As we collected fees for the study, half of the money would go to pay off our original partners, the rest being used to finance our travels and other costs in preparing the study.  I give you this background with so much of me in it, only to demonstrate how dynamic Andy was, as a salesman, as an innovator, and diplomat/businessman.  We visited and interviewed bankers, market brokers, financial journalists.  Together we made a team that traveled together everywhere.  We visited every capital in western Europe, meeting politicians, power brokers and others; dining with them and selling our wares.  Along the way we went sight seeing, visiting museums, book stores, partying and just having fun being with each other, living the good life.  

Andy taught me things that I didn’t know, and I taught him things he didn’t know.  Between trips we would spend time composing and writing our report, discussing about what of all the material we collected should go into the study.  I would sit at the desk in Andy’s home office writing up essays while he would be cracking them, and his own, out on his clancky Wang computer and printing them out.  After a year, we finally produced a five hundred page complete report filled with diagrams, statistics showing our findings and recommendations and sent a copy to Delors and to all those who had paid for it in advance.  Nothing happened.  No one made a move to actually implement what our study had recommended.  We finally found out that others had used our study, and went behind our backs to create the same market we had recommended and presented it as their own to the European commission.

Fortunately, I had a friend working out of the Italian commissioner’s office who called me  and suggested we get ourselves up to Brussells.  I called the commission and made an appointment and Andy and I flew up to the meeting where we met another group who was presenting our study as their own.  This is where Andy’s political acumen came in.  I was in a rage and ready to - I don’t know what - when Andy intervened, calmed me down and suggested we try to work things out.  Apparently, what had happened was that we were ignored because both of us were living in Switzerland, and were both Americans.  We did not have EU status. The commission felt that they were obliged to work with a  European based company, which the others who had stolen our idea were. Andy took over the meeting and suggested we work together.mThe commission and the other company both accepted that idea, and we formed a new group, made up of Andy’s company, mine and the other, which would proceed to write a new study together about actually implementing the markets.  This took us another six months, and finally, when we presented it to the commission for approval it was accepted.  It was now time to sign the contract which would provide the money to establish a European Association of Securities Dealers.  All the commissioners were present except one.  As we awaited the arrival of the German commissioner, everyone was jovial as we discussed the future.  Finally our missing German walked in and without even sitting down at the table or greeting anyone, curtly announced that there will be no European stock market that is not controlled and overseen by the German banks, turned on his heels and walked out.  Everyone was stunned, but not one of the other commissioners was willing to go against the word of that German.  The meeting was over.

Andy and I returned to Geneva.  I promptly retired, and Andy went on to  Russia to see what he could accomplish there.  During that whole time working together on this project, from 1985 to 1991, Andy and I never exchanged a cross word.  We never had an argument.  It was the most perfect relationship, business or otherwise, that I have ever had with anyone - except my own wife, of course.

That was the beginning of a friendship that has been maintained long after our working days were over.  But Andy never really stopped working.  He was constantly dreaming up new projects and trying to drag me into them. For example, I introduced him to a friend who ended up being Andy’s partner in the internet business;  Iprolink.  They wanted me to join them, but I knew zilch about computers, so declined.  They made a great success of it and sold out.  Next, Andy read an article in the NYT about the Smithsonian Museum purchasing a map that was the first to have the name America on it.  He read that the map had been made in St. Die in the Alsace, so he dragged me into his car for a drive up to visit the place, which turned out to be a museum curated by the guy who wrote a book about the history of the map that provoked the Smithsonian to buy it.  We found him, took him to lunch and, as always, Andy proposed that we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the map with a shindig in St. Die.  Our new friend went for the idea, and the shindig was held with dignitaries of all kinds showing up, articles in major newspapers.  You can say that Andy literally put America on the map.

Then one day Andy calls me up and says he’s starting a micro finance  company and he needs my help.  So we started a micro finance company whose first investments were in Mali where a school was built, a well was dug, and loans were made to small entrepreneurs.  Those loans have been paid off and left in a pot to finance other entrepreneurs.  This has been successful thanks to our Malian partner, Moise, who handles everything in situ.  My only hope is that the current political situation in Mali doesn’t destroy what we’ve built.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Andy came up with the idea of starting a gentlemen’s club.  This evolved into the Burlamaqui society, a dining club which meets on an almost monthly schedule, and has as a topic of discussion  a subject that meets the ideals of our eponymic scholar, J-J Burlamaqui who coined the phrase used by Jefferson in the Declaration:  Life, liberty and the  pursuit of happiness.  So, for example, each dinner will have a theme such as sex and the pursuit of happiness, or why should we vote when in the pursuit of happiness.  We usually have, on average, 20 members attending these affairs. Then, of course, we can’t forget the Overseas American Academy.  Another one of Andy’s babies.  Throughout all these years and projects,

I have only ever had one disagreement with Andy.  He believed in reincarnation and I don’t.  We have wasted hours talking about this and other philosophical subjects.  This is the one on which we were adamantly opposed.  He always said he believed he was living his seventh reincarnation.  That this life on earth was his sabbatical, and he was having a hell of a good time, and he hoped it would never end.  Well dear friend, I truly hope you’re right and I am wrong:  that you’re up there somewhere in your new incarnation just waiting for me to come and join you.  If you are, I can’t imagine anyone I would rather spend my next one with.  Thank you for having been, and continuing to be, my friend.
 
 
by: Claude Marshall
Some thirty or forty years ago when Andy arrived in Geneva he looked me up at my office,  – I was in the advertising, public relations business in Europe at that time.  We had a broad-reaching conversation and that broad reach continued and continued. He seemed interested in anything and everything. And if he could help it, his comments were not superficial.

It was always astounding to me that no matter what he discussed; no matter whom he commented on (usually a politician—living or dead) I had to listen. He had an opinion that merited attention, even if I did not always agree. You could count on him for an intelligent conversation.

For certain, we will all miss his commitment to whatever he took on, like this Burlamaqui group. We will miss Andy Sundberg as a friend. He left us far too early.
 
 
by: Brett Willcocks
Dear Andy,

We miss you.

I knew you first as my friendly neighbour when I first arrived in Geneva 25+ years ago, and never ceased to enjoy and appreciate your friendship.  One of the things that I will always remember, was touched by, and will always be proud of, is that you would sometimes refer to me as your little brother.  An honour shared with a good number of others, as you were a brother that I and we were very happy to have.

It is so sad that you were taken from us early, and even the possibility never entered my mind that fateful Saturday when we took you back to the hospital.  My memories will not be of that, but of the many long chats we had out in the shade of the garden, the smaller things like seeing you and Chantal go back and forth on your scooters to your favourite markets in the weekend, and yes even those wild few weeks on one of your business initiatives into Russia.

Much has already been said by people far more eloquent than I, but after all the years I’ve known you I just want to say this:  Thank you Andy for what you brought to me and to so many others, through your positive outlook, sincere friendship and the deep care and curiosity you had for the world.  We miss you and will continue to keep your memory alive in our hearts.

Sincerely yours,
Brett