November 13, 2014

Iceland’s President To Visit University

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Ólafur Grímsson, the president of Iceland, will visit Cornell next Friday to deliver a lecture as part of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies Foreign Policy Distinguished Speaker Series.

Grímsson’s lecture, which will be open to the public, will be about Iceland’s innovative sustainable energy and economic policies, according to the University. Grímsson will also be presented with the first-ever Atkinson Center Award for Global Leadership in Sustainable Development.

During his visit, Grímsson will meet with President David Skorton as well as with faculty in the College of Engineering and the Cornell Energy Institute, according to a University press release.

Grímsson will tour the Fiske Icelandic Collection, one of the three largest collections on Icelandic literature and civilization, according to Prof. Jeff Tester ’66 M.S. ’67, chemical engineering. He will also tour the Veterinary College, which is currently involved in a study of Icelandic horses.

Kerry Mullins ’18 said she heard President Grímsson speak last year at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa, where she said he spoke about  how “sustainability and energy conservation were top priorities for the country” but also “recognized the challenges associated with them.”

“In Iceland and globally, while great progress is being made in terms of creating a more sustainable planet, there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Mullins said. “A lot of the newest innovations are not very efficient, but [Grímsson] seemed hopeful that they will be eventually.”

Tester said Cornell students and faculty are already committed to sustainability, showcasing that there are “a lot of connections between what Cornell is trying to do” and what Iceland has “put into practical use.”

“We are dealing with a real climate action plan,” said Tester, who is also the director of the Cornell Energy Institute. “What we can learn is how people were actually able to do it.”

The lecture will be held next Friday at 4 p.m. in Schwartz Auditorium in Rockefeller Hall. Admission is free, but tickets, available at 170 Uris Hall, will be required to attend.