There were a lot of interesting and fun experiences while hosting the ambassadors. For example, the committee tried getting the Swedish ambassador to come to Utah three times and was turned down each time because of his busy schedule. Dr. Peterson recalls that someone passed along a suggestion to get the Swedish ambassador to come. He suggested that Dr. Peterson invite the Baltic ambassadors to visit as a group. He felt that the Swedish Ambassador wouldn’t miss the opportunity of coming if the other Baltic ambassadors were here. Dr. Peterson contacted them and suggested that they come together as a group. The four ambassadors came to Utah together. The closing event for the Baltic ambassadors was a dinner and performance by the BYU Ballroom Dance Company under the rotunda at the State Capital Building. President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor, and President James E. Faust, Second Counselor, in The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attended. Also as part of their visit, the ambassadors learned that Neil Diamond was in concert in Salt Lake City and someone was able to get them tickets to go to the concert. They all got good seats and had a great time.
The Korean ambassador came in October. He about shook Dr. Peterson’s arm off when he arrived. The ambassador said, thank you, thank you, thank you. He said that he and the other ambassadors would get together and talk about their trips to Utah. Before his trip to Utah, he would listen to the ambassadors talk about Utah, but now that he had the opportunity to visit Utah, he could partake in the conversation.
The ambassadors who visited Utah under the Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program were able to experience the Governor’s Protective Service, was greeted by a host that had ties to their country and generally spoke their language, had meetings with Governor Leavitt, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and business leader. The ambassadors were amazed when they arrived at the airport to return to Washington, D.C. at all they had done in a day and a half. Utah again was able to exceed expectations. Governor Leavitt, in particular, was great in hosting the ambassadors. He is so warm and genuine and has such a great smile, and ambassadors were always enamored by him.
Under the Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program 43 ambassadors visited Utah.