Tuesday, August 23, 2011
This Sunday, I was lucky to attend the Pearls of Icelandic Song concert at Harpa. It was a truly beautiful experience to hear some of Iceland’s traditional songs (lullabies, love songs, folk songs) performed beautifully by Natalia Druzing Halldórsdóttir and Bragi Bergþórsson with the peerless accompaniment by Birna Hallgrímsdóttir. The songs evoked Iceland’s stunning landscapes, the country’s compelling history, folklore and traditions, as well as the immense creativity and artistry of its people.
Monday, August 22, 2011
I was invited to observe for one day the work of Focus on Nature, an Icelandic firm that offers week-long photography workshops for a small group comprised of amateur and experienced photographers, many of them Americans. The workshop involves taking participants around Iceland’s stunning landscape and holding daily evaluation sessions with world-renowned photographers (Seth Resknick from the U.S. and Ragnar Þór Sigurðsson from Iceland were the leaders during my observation). The workshop participants seemed to enjoy the camaraderie and learning. It was a very interesting experience that took us to the crater of Eyjafjallajökull and the southwest coast of Iceland. It should not be surprising that so many Americans participated in the workshop as U.S. tourists comprise the largest national group visiting Iceland this summer.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The organizers of Culture Night invited me to participate in the press conference announcing the program for Culture Night. I was pleased to note how honored we are with the City of Reykjavik’s invitation to the city of Seattle to be the guest of honor for that event. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Reykjavik’s and Seattle’s relationship as sister cities. The city of Seattle is bringing a great line up of cultural ambassadors (rock groups, musicians, puppeteers) and business representatives. I am pleased to note that members of the Quileute Nation will also attend to share their culture, traditions, and art. I know that Icelanders will immediately see the value of the relationship between the two cities.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
A group of Embassy volunteers marched in Reykjavik’s Gay Pride Parade a few days ago. We wanted to show our hosts that the United States supports the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals to lead productive and dignified lives, free from fear and violence. We also wanted our participation to celebrate diversity. Aside from enjoying the festivities and seeing so many families along the parade route, we were heartened by Reykjavik’s reaction to our participation as we heard applause and many expressions of encouragement along the way. Iceland has a strong record of support for LGBT individuals and we were very proud to be a part of this event.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Reykjavik Gay Pride Parade
There is a great deal of anticipation at the Embassy for our first-ever participation in Reykjavik’s world famous Gay Pride Parade. Our participation is meant to honor the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve the promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law, especially those individuals who led that fight for LGBT individuals. We look forward to being a part of this event.