Commissioner of Tourism Pamela C. Richards is pleased to announce that Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has bestowed the honor of knighthood upon Leif Clemens Pedersen under the provisions of the Order of Dannebrog. Once an order designated only to high dignitaries and those of nobility, knighthood now is granted to anyone the King or Queen of Denmark decides has truly displayed civil and military merit.
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1938, Pedersen moved to New York to assist the president of a major Danish civil engineering and construction company. This opportunity led him to a 20-year tenure with an Argentine-Italian conglomeration of companies. He assisted in the pipeline, refinery and steel mill constructions in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. After his early retirement in 1993, he and his wife, Elisabeth, moved to St. Croix to their current home, which they have owned since 1980.
While living on St. Croix, Pedersen has served as the president for St. Croix Friends of Denmark, promoting the island internationally to Danish tourists, journalists and Danish government officials. Even with his busy schedule, he still finds time to referee soccer for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) on Saturdays.
When off island, Leif Clemens Pedersen also is a Danish-American facilitator for Danish contacts and promotions in the United States. He started the Scandinavian Soccer Sports Club, “The Vikings,” in Brooklyn, New York. For several years he was chairman of the Danish American Coordinating Council in Greater New York, board member of the Danish Home for the Aged and co-founder of DANCE, a cultural exchange program for the performing arts.
On October 18, 2003, Pedersen and his wife of 41 years, Elisabeth, were featured in a three-hour prime time television program shown on Danish national television. The program highlighted Danes thriving with the local people of beautiful St. Croix. On November 21, 2003, Danish radio will feature a program entitled “Red Grout and Blood Lines.” During this program, Mr. Pedersen will advocate for reparations for descendants of enslaved Africans during Danish rule of St. Croix. Pedersen strongly believes that the Danes should build industries on the island to create jobs while boosting the economy of the island.
“Mr. Pedersen`s continuous efforts to maintain relationships with Denmark, St. Croix and the Unites States have made Crucians proud, both at home and abroad,” Commissioner of Tourism Pamela C. Richards said. “The United States Virgin Islands is proud of his dedicated service and many accomplishments for his unrelenting love, service and activism for St. Croix.”