Monday, August 27, 2012
I was invited to speak at the annual meeting of the Iceland National League. This organization is composed of Icelanders and Americans and Canadians of Icelandic descent who are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Iceland’s heritage and its contributions to North America. This group embodies the deepest connection between Iceland and the United States and their mission is as noble as it is enriching. For readers in Iceland, I would recommend making an effort to attend a presentation titled “The Love of Iceland in America” which Pam Olafson Furstenau is making throughout Iceland in the coming days. Pam is an American of Icelandic descent who has captured beautifully the meaning of being Icelandic-American. Her blog at http://icelandicroots.com/ has all the information about upcoming presentations as well as her impressions of her latest trip to Iceland.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Last year, we welcomed Fulbright scholar Catherine Chambers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks to Iceland to conduct a study on the social dimensions of fisheries. Her work was so well received that Hólar University College asked her stay to continue her research through the Blönduós Academic Center and assess the differences and implications of different fisheries management systems. Some of the questions Catherine would like to answer include: Can a truly sustainable fishery be good for fish and bad for fishing livelihoods? How do different management schemes affect’s people’s abilities to access resources and engage in culturally and historically important livelihoods? Aside from her academic background in anthropology, marine biology, and economics, Catherine brings experience as crew on fishing vessels in Alaska. This is another example of the partnerships and trust that typifies relations between American and Icelandic educational institutions.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
We welcomed James Gentry, an environmental scientist from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, who will be spending a few weeks at Keilir to assist in the development of collaborative relationships between Keilir and American universities and small businesses. The thrust of the initiative is to open doors of the American scientific community so that Keilir can expand its research activities in collaboration with U.S. counterparts. We are especially pleased to witness Keilir’s growth and to support its effort to strengthen its academic programs. We have a commitment to support the Reykjanes peninsula’s efforts to increase educational opportunities and employment
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
We were honored to host the leadership of the Muslim community in Iceland at our residence to share an Iftar dinner. We invited members of the Association of Muslims, the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland, and representatives from the National Church, the Ministry of the Interior, and the City of Reykjavik to share an evening meal to break the fast observed by Muslims around the world during the holy month of Ramadan. We also used the opportunity to welcome and introduce two recently arrived members of the U.S. Embassy community who were also observing Ramadan. It was a pleasant evening of sharing and reflection.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
I had the pleasure of presenting to 11-year-old Ólina Helga Sverrirsdottir a certificate and two gifts as the middle school winner of the Alice Challenge--a program designed to encourage young people between the 3rd and 8th grades to surf safely online. As the winner, Ólina used the software program “Alice” to develop an animated video to encourage safe online surfing. Ólina’s video is posted on the www.alicechallenge.org website. The Alice Challenge program is a partnership between the FBI and Carnegie Mellon University.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
At the invitation of the Islamic Cultural Center, I visited their facilities in Reykjavík. The Center has been operating since 2009 with the objective of providing the Muslim community in Iceland a place for gathering, reflection, and prayer and a place to welcome all Icelanders interested in learning about Islam. I had the opportunity to hear from the Center’s leadership about their plans and aspirations as members of Icelandic society. I look forward to hosting members of the Center and of the Muslim Association of Iceland for an Iftar dinner next week. This traditional dinner, held during the Ramadan holiday, is an opportunity for reflection and for fellowship.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
|Image: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes|