At a Crossroads: Iceland in the International System

Institute of International Affairs

Join us for a discussion on Iceland and international cooperation at our annual conference held in collaboration with the Foreign Ministry, the Nordic House, the Institute for Public Administration and Politics at the University of Iceland and the Icelandic Political Scientist Association on April 19th from 10:00 - 17:00 at Veröld - House of Vigdis at the University of Iceland.


All are welcome. The first panel of the conference will be in English, and the rest of the conference will be in Icelandic but we will offer simultaneous translation in English.

Register here!

About this year’s conference

As at previous conferences we will discuss and analyse the current trends in international affairs and Iceland's position in the international system.

At this years conference, we will highlight the following themes in five panels; Nordic Cooperation in a Changed Security Environment, Arctic Security in Turbulent Times, The International Refugee Regime and its limitations and The Role of the Council of Europe. At the end of the day we will lead MP's from all political parties represented in the Icelandic parliament into a panel discussion on Iceland's foreign policy.


10:00-10:10 Welcoming words

Sabina Westerholm, Director, Nordic House
Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland

10:10 - 10:20 Opening remarks

Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs

10:20 – 11:15 War in Europe: Nordic Cooperation in a Changing Security Environment

Jakob Hallgren, Director, Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI), Kristin Haugevik, Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Pia Hansson, Director of the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland (IIA), Samu Paukkunen, Deputy Director, Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) and Ulrik Pram Gad, Senior Researcher, Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS)

Moderator Auðunn Atlason, Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister of Iceland

11:15 – 11:30 Coffee Break

11:30 – 12:30 Arctic Governance Challenges in Turbulent Times

Keynote address Silja Bára Ómarsdóttir, Professor of International Relations, University of Iceland

Panel Discussion Ari Trausti Guðmundsson, geologist and former Parliamentarian, Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir, Professor of Political Science at Bates College, Maine, Kristín Linda Árnadóttir, Deputy CEO of Landsvirkjun National Power Company of Iceland and Þórunn W. Pétursdóttir, Director of the Icelandic Climate Council

Moderator Þóra Arnórsdóttir, Director of Communication at Landsvirkjun National Power Company of Iceland

12:30 – 13:00 Light Lunch

13:00 – 13:50 Has the International Refugee Regime Failed? The Road to Better Protection

Keynote address Hugo Brady, Senior Strategic Advisor at the International Center for Migration Policy Development, Vienna

Panel Discussion Claudia Ashanie Wilson, Lawyer and Owner of Claudia & Partners Legal Services, Eva Bjarnadóttir, Human Rights Specialist and Sessional Teacher at the University of Iceland, Jasmina Vajzovic Crnac, Political Scientist and Nína Helgadóttir, Program Manager, Humanitarian Diplomacy at the Icelandic Red Cross

Moderator Svanhildur Þorvaldsdóttir, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Political Science, University of Iceland

13:50 –14:00 Coffee Break

14:00 –14:50 Human rights, Democracy and the Role of the Council of Europe

Keynote address Guðfríður Lilja Grétarsdóttir, Head of the Cooperation Programmes Division, Council of Europe

Panel discussion Björg Thorarensen, Supreme Court Judge, Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir,  Deput Chair to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Þórlindur Kjartansson, Political Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland

Moderator Ingólfur Bjarni Sigfússon, Senior Correspondent at the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV

14:50 – 15:50 Where to and Why? Iceland’s role in the International System

A Debate with Representatives from the Political Parties in the Icelandic Parliament

Panel discussion Gísli Rafn Ólafsson, MP for the Pirate Party, Jakob Frímann Magnússon, MP for the People's Party, Jóhann Friðrik Friðriksson, MP for the Progressive Party, Jón Steindór Valdimarsson, lawyer and deputy MP for the Liberal Reform Party, Logi Einarsson, MP and Chairman for the parliamentarian group of the Social Democratic Alliance, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, MP and Chairman of the Center Party, Steinunn Þóra Árnadóttir, MP for the Left-Green Movement and Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs and MP for the Independence Party

Moderator Sigmundur Ernir Rúnarsson, Author and former Editor-in-Chief of Fréttablaðið

15:50 – 16:00 Final remarks Guðmundur Hálfdánarson, Professor of History and Chair of the Board of the Institute of International Affairs

16:00 – 17:00 Reception and Comic Relief with Villi Neto