OVER the past week I have been in Canada and the USA for Scotland Week, a week-long programme of business, government and tourism engagements to celebrate the deep historic relationship that Canada and the USA - our largest export, tourism and foreign direct investment market - share with Scotland, and to strengthen our future friendship.
The connections are deep and run beyond just business, as important as that is. It was a pleasure to meet students at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia who were studying Scottish Studies, as well as members of the Scottish diaspora who were very proud of their roots.
The warm welcome I received and the enthusiasm shown by everyone I met about Scotland demonstrated just how well regarded Scotland is across the Atlantic. The First Minister was also in the USA during Scotland Week, and between us we announced over 1000 jobs coming to Scotland.
This further strengthens our successful record in attracting international investment. It's no wonder Ernst and Young have described our performance in attracting inward investment as 'sparkling'.
An important part of my role as Minister for External Affairs and International Development is to promote Scotland on the global stage by raising awareness of all of the skills and expertise our country offers.
As the First Minister said in a speech in New York, countries can exercise influence through the scale of their ambition and the strength of their ideas, rather than the size of their armies, their populations, or their territories. You can be a great nation without trying to be a great power.
This stands in stark contrast with unelected Lord Robertson's scaremongering speech, when he stated that an independent Scotland would be "cataclysmic for the West" and that independence would be welcomed by the "forces of darkness."
Rather than a debate on independence, Lord Robertson's latest outburst sounds like the plot of a Star Wars movie.
This unrelenting negativity coming from the No campaign is truly shocking, and sounds like a description from a parallel universe. An independent Scotland will play a constructive role in the world, and the positive nature of the Yes campaign reflects that.
The positivity of the Yes campaign is also leading to an increase in support for independence. Last week the student newspaper at Glasgow Clyde College, The Call, commissioned a poll that revealed that a majority of students would back a Yes vote.
This great news is testament to the hard work put in by Yes volunteers across Glasgow and the whole of Scotland.
It's not surprising that more and more young people are turning towards the Yes campaign, which offers the prospect of Scotland's future in Scotland's hands, rather than the negativity of the No campaign.