Current Issues

Selected events from the President's program.

2023-05-29 State Visit to Canada
  President Jóhannesson and First Lady Eliza Reid led the first State Visit to Canada since 2000, hosted by Governor General Mary Simon and her husband, Whit Fraser. The visit included stops in Ottawa, Halifax and St. John’s. Accompanying the President and First Lady were Minister of Culture and Business Affairs, Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, and a delegation of Icelandic officials and business representatives. The purpose of the visit was to further strengthen bilateral relations between Iceland and Canada, which celebrated 75 years of diplomatic relations in 2022. Building on the shared priorities of both the President of Iceland and the Governor General of Canada, the state visit drew attention to the importance of language preservation and youth mental health in both countries. Particular emphasis was also laid on the blue economy, the green transition and health technology.
The visit started with a formal reception ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, the residence of the Governor General, followed by a roundtable discussion on language preservation, and a special event dedicated to protecting youth health and well-being, with Planet Youth and the Public Health Agency. At noon, President Jóhannesson had a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill, while First Lady Eliza Reid, who was born and raised in Ottawa, took part in a literature luncheon on “Stories from the North” with Whit Fraser and a selection of Canadian writers.
The second day of the visit took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the president and first lady were hosted by Lt. Governor Arthur J. LeBlanc and Ms. Patsy LeBlanc. In Halifax Ms. Reid spoke at a a symposium on women in business and visited Laing House for a roundtable discussion on youth health and well-being, with focus on the Icelandic prevention model. Meanwhile the President visited COVE, the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship, for a roundtable on innovation and entrepreneurship in the blue economy. In the afternoon, the president delivered a lecture and participated in a discussion on immigration, hosted by the Canadian Museum of Immigration on Pier 21.
The following day the president and first lady visited St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador province where they had a meeting with Premier Andrew Furey. The president then visited the Fisheries and Marine Institute to address a symposium on innovations and cooperation in the ocean sector. Meanwhile, the first lady participated in a literary event with Newfoundland writers. The day ended with the president’s lecture on the ‘cod wars’ between Iceland and Great Britain, followed by a conversation and reception on sustainable fisheries management.
On the final day of the state visit, the president participated in a business meeting in the Health Innovation Acceleration Centre and the first lady addressed a conference on clean energy.
2022-11-08 Visits to Dartmouth, Williams and Cornell University
  President Jóhannesson visited three academic institutions in the United States, starting with Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he delivered the Vilhjálmur Stefánsson Memorial Lecture. On the following day he participated in a fireside chat at Williams College in Massachusetts, and then he lectured at Cornell University in Ithaca NY where he also paid a visit to sites where the University is harnessing or exploring green energy. The President also visited the libraries in each of the three academic institutions.
• Reports and interviews about the visits: Dartmouth, Williams, Cornell.
2022-10-27 State Visit to Slovakia
  President Jóhannesson and Ms. Reid were on a State Visit to Slovakia. The president's official delegation included H.E. Willum Þór Þórsson, Minister of Health, and others. The president was hosted by Her Excellency Zuzana Čaputová, President of Slovakia. The presidents had a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava and spoke to media representatives there. President Jóhannesson also had meetings with Mr. Boris Kollár, Speaker fo the Parliament, and with Prime Minister Eduard Heger in Bratislava Castle. In the afternoon, President Jóhannesson and President Čaputová addressed a Slovak-Icelandic business forum that focused on the harnessing of geothermal energy. The president and First Lady Eliza Reid then visited the gay bar Tepláreň where two men were shot dead recently. The couple went there to show their condolence and to discuss human rights, gay and gender rights with a group of activists who had gathered there.
On the second day of the visit President Jóhannesson and Ms. Reid went to Martin, a Slovak city where many Icelanders are studying medicine. Also present there were a number of students studying veterinary science in Košice in eastern Slovakia.
2022-10-18 State visit from Finland
  His Excellency Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, and First Lady Jenni Haukio visited Iceland with a delegation including H.E. Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality, and others. After a formal welcome ceremony and delegation meeting, President Niinistö visited Alþingi and had a meeting with Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, and then he participated, together with President Jóhannesson and others, in a symposium at the University of Iceland, discussing 'Nordic co-operation in testing times'. Ms. Haukio and Ms. Eliza Reid participated in a symposium at the Nordic House with the heading 'Finland and Iceland: Shifting Perspectives - Literature and National Identities'. The dignitaries also went to Langjökull glacier and explored a man-made ice cave that goes deep into the glacier.
2022-08-26 Formal Visit from the Baltic Countries
  The Presidents of the Baltic Countries, Their Excellencies Mr. Egils Levits, President of Latvia, Mr. Gitanas Nausėda, President of Lithuania, and Mr. Alar Karis, President of Estonia, and their entourage visited Iceland to commemorate three decades of re-established political connections with Iceland. Iceland was the first country to resume diplomatic relations with the Baltic States after they retrieved their independence in 1991.
2022-01-01 New Year's Day speech
  President Jóhannesson delivers the President's annual New Year's Day speech.
2021-08-26 Celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations with the Baltic countries
  Articles by President Jóhannesson:
Iceland and Estonia.
Iceland and Latvia.
Iceland and Lithuania.
2020-10-09 A greeting to the people of Iceland
  The President delivers a televised speech regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. The text in English is available here with the televised speech with subtitles in English.
2020-04-13 Speech relating to Covid-19
  The President delivers a televised speech on Easter Day regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. English translation of the speech.
2020-03-24 Messages of gratitude
  Recently, the President of Iceland has sent messages of gratitude to health care staff, to all commercial staff and staff in the tourism industry and to all staff in the educational system.
2020-03-05 State visit to Poland
  President Jóhannesson and Ms. Reid were on a State Visit to Poland with a delegation that included H.E. Lilja D. Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Education, Science and Culture, and others. During the visit they had meetings with H.E. Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, paid a visit to the Sejm (Parliament of Poland) and paid tribute to the monument of the unknown soldier in Warsaw. During the visit the President delivered a lecture at the University of Warsaw, addressed business-related events, visited museums, and he spent a day in the city of Gdansk where he met with the Mayor, the Governor and other officials. First Lady Eliza Reid participated in several events too, joining the Polish First Lady on a tour of the World Hearing Center, speaking to the association of women in business, and holding meetings with Gdansk’s Council of Immigrants and Council of Equal Treatment, various Polish authors, and representatives from Polish cultural institutions.
Speech by the president at the state dinner in the President's Palace in Warsaw.
Speech at Warsaw University.
Speech at ODIHR Headquarters in Warsaw.
2020-01-01 New Year's Day speech
  President Jóhannesson delivers the President's annual New Year's Day speech.
2019-10-11 Meetings at Bessastaðir Residence
  President Jóhannesson received and had meetings with several guests who were attending the Arctic Circle conference in Iceland. Among them were Her Royal Highness Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Minister Sam Tan Chin Siong of Singapore, Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands from Scotland, Dmitriy Artukhov, Governor of the Yamal region, Francesco La Camera, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and John Kerry, former US Secretary of State.
2019-09-25 Formal Visit to Greenland
  President Jóhannesson and Mrs. Reid paid a formal visit to Greenland.
Table speech by the president.
2019-09-11 State Visit from India
  His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, visited Iceland 9th to 11th September, together with First Lady Savita Kovind, their daughter Swati and several officials.
• Press statement by the President of Iceland.
Speech by the president of Iceland.
Speech by the president at a Business Forum.
2019-09-04 Working visit by Vice President Mike Pence
  His Excellency Mike Pence, Vice president of the United States of America, came on a short working visit to Iceland.
2019-09-01 Commemoration of the beginning of WW2
  President Jóhannesson went on a working visit with Ms. Eliza Reid to Poland to participate in the commemoration of the beginning of World War II.
2019-06-12 State Visit from Germany
  His Excellency Frank-Walter Steinmeier came to Iceland on an official visit with his wif, Elke Büdenbender. Photographs.
2019-04-10 Visit to St. Petersburg State University
  President Jóhannesson visits the State University of St. Petersburg and delivers a lecture there, called '"We All Protest!" Diversity, Critique, and Freedom as the Essence of Historical Research.' The lecture is accessible here.
2019-01-30 Visit to English universities
  President Jóhannesson pays a visit to Oxford Union, Loughborough University and Warwick University on January 31st through February 1st. At the Warwick Economics Summit he delivered a lecture, 'Revisiting Warwick: From Comparative Communist Systems to Brexit and Beyond.'
2019-01-01 New Year's Day speech
  President Jóhannesson delivers the President's annual New Year's Day speech.
2018-12-01 Centennial celebration of the sovereignty of Iceland
  Iceland became a sovereign state on 1 December 1918, and the centennial was celebrated during 2018 with a series of events. On 1 December H.M. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark visited Iceland to participate in the celebrations.
Speech by the president of Iceland.
2018-11-15 State visit to Latvia
  President Jóhannesson led a state visit to Latvia 16-18 November 2018 and participated in events to celebrate the 100 years anniversary of Latvian independence. Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister for the Environment, participated in the visit.
Photographs from the visit to Latvia.
2018-11-09 Inauguration of the Althingi
  President Jóhannesson inaugurated the winter session of Althingi, the Parliament of Iceland.
The president's speech (in English translation).
2018-11-09 Peace conference in Paris
  The President attended events in Paris, France, to celebrate the centenary of the WW1 armistice day. President Emmanuel Macron hosted a conference with the participation of almost one hundred heads of state and invited them to a memorial event and a dinner at the Musée d’Orsay.
2018-10-10 Celebration of Iceland centenary in Copenhagen
  President Jóhannesson attended an event at the Opera in Copenhagen where the government of Denmark hosted a program to celebrate the centenary of Iceland’s sovereignty.
2018-09-26 HeForShe event in New York
  President Jóhannesson delivered a speech at the UN Women HeForShe Impact Summit in New York. Among other dignitaries who addressed the summit were the presidents of Finland and Malawi and the queen of Jordan.
2018-06-21 State visit to Estonia
  President Jóhannesson and First Lady Eliza Reid went on a state visit to Estonia 21-22 June 2018, and also attended events there to celebrate the centennial of Estonian independence. Minister of Education and Culture Lilja Alfreðsdóttir also participated in the visit.
Speech at a gala dinner in Tallinn.
Photographs from the state visit.
2018-05-11 Meeting with UN Secretary General
  President Jóhannesson went to New York to have a meeting with Secretary General António Guterres. During the journey he and First Lady Eliza Reid also visited the Nordic Innovation House, attended the Smart Cities conference and addressed a conference on the future of the Icelandic language and literature.
Speech on the Icelandic language.
Photographs from the visit to New York City.
2018-05-17 State visit to Finland
  President Jóhannesson led a state visit to Finland 15-17 May 2018. The program of the visit included, among other things, a state dinner hosted by president Sauli Niinistö, a meeting with prime minister Juha Sipilä, a visit to the parliament of Finland, a visit to the city of Turku, and participation in meetings on Arctic issues, on healthcare technology, tourism and other issues.
Speech at a state dinner.
Speech in Helsinki City Hall
Speech at a meeting on bio and health technologies.
2018-05-04 The Nordic Museum in Seattle
  President Jóhannesson and First Lady Eliza Reid visited Seattle to celebrate the opening of the new Nordic Museum there. During the visit they also attended a meeting on language adaptations at Microsoft and paid a visit to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the president delivered a speech at the World Affairs Council.
Speech at the opening of the Nordic Museum.
Photographs from the Seattle visit.
2018-03-10 Conference in Mexico
  President Jóhannesson attended the World Ocean Summit in Yucatán in Mexico and delivered a speech there about sustainability and the protection of marine environment. During the visit he also had a meeting with Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico.
2018-02-16 Official visit to Lithuania
  President Jóhannesson visited Lithuania to participate in the centennial celebrations of the nation’s independence.
Speech at the University of Lithuania (starts at 09:55 minutes).
2018-01-26 Meetings at Harvard
  President Jóhannesson visited the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Boston and delivered a lecture there.
"The president's lecture on Facebook.
Photographs from the visit.
 2018-01-19 State visit to Sweden
  President Jóhannesson led a state visit to Sweden, together with First Lady Eliza Reid, during 17-19 January 2018. Among items on the program were a state dinner hosted by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf, a meeting with prime minister Stefan Löfvén, a visit to the parliament of Sweden, visits to Stockholm University and to the city of Uppsala and a reception at the modern art museum Moderna muséet, hosted by the president. Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson also participated in the state visit.
Speech by the president at the state dinner in the Royal Palace of Stockholm.
Speech at Stockholm University.
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