“How many people live in Iceland? It’s me, Mom, and 372,000 and—now I’m guessing—682 people by the last count,” Icelandic President Guðni Jóhannesson told the audience on Tuesday in the Loew Auditorium, where he delivered this year’s Stefansson Memorial Lecture.
But, Jóhannesson said, this “very small island in the middle of the Atlantic”—which gained full independence from Denmark in 1944—has turned its size into a strength as the Arctic has increasingly become the center of political, economic, environmental, and strategic discourse.
A historian by training who taught at the University of Iceland and Reykjavik University before taking office, Jóhannesson focused his lecture on a “deadly serious matter: the combination between nationalism and living in a globalized world, independence and interdependence.”
The lecture was sponsored by the Institute of Arctic Studies at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and the Stefansson Arctic Institute of Iceland.