Eliza Jean Reid
Eliza Jean Reid, the First Lady of Iceland, was born in 1976 in Ottawa, Canada. She moved to Iceland in 2003. Madame Reid holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from Trinity College, University of Toronto, where she held the position of Head of College in her final year. She holds a Master of Studies degree in modern history from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. She speaks French and Icelandic.
Madame Reid is Co-Founder of the acclaimed Iceland Writers Retreat, an annual event that combines small-group writing workshops with cultural tours to introduce visitors to Iceland’s unique literary heritage. In this capacity, she has been active in helping to promote Icelandic writers and literary heritage abroad, especially in North America. Her first book, Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They are Changing the World, was published to critical acclaim in early 2022.
She was previously editor for Icelandair’s in-flight magazine, a staff writer at Iceland Review, and has been published in Monocle, The Globe and Mail, and several other newspapers and magazines. Prior to becoming First Lady, Madame Reid was also a frequent commentator on Icelandic current affairs for foreign media.
She is patron of several organizations in Iceland, including the United Nations Association Iceland and is also a Goodwill Ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages Iceland. In September 2017, Madame Reid visited the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan at the invitation of UN Women. She is active in promoting the issue of gender equality, penning a popular oped in the New York Times and delivering a TEDx talk on the role of the first lady.
Madame Reid loves to travel and has made solo trips to many countries. She is a United Nations Special Ambassador for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals. She is a member of the Association of Women Business Leaders in Iceland (FKA) and until becoming First Lady was a member of the Canadian branch of the Society of American Travel Writers. She works with Business Iceland on projects to promote Icelandic exports and the country as a destination.
Eliza Reid and President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson have four children together (Duncan Tindur b. 2007), Donald Gunnar (b. 2009), Sæþór Peter (b. 2011) and Edda Margrét (b. 2013).
• Alzheimer’s Society
• Eyrarrosin, an annual award for outstanding cultural projects in Iceland’s rural regions.
• Ferskir Vindar art exhibition.
• Iceland Symphony Youth Orchestra.
• The Icelandic Culinary Team.
• Pieta House for suicide- and self-harm prevention.
• Society of Lung Patients.
• SOS Children’s Villages Iceland (Goodwill Ambassador).
• United Nations Association Iceland.
• United Nations Special Ambassador for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals.