99-036 (Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson)
Distributed October 19, 1999
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Kristen Cole

President of Iceland to discuss relations with the northern region

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, president of Iceland, will deliver a Stephen A. Ogden Jr. Memorial Lecture Thursday, Nov. 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching. The lecture is free and open to the public.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson will visit the Brown University campus Thursday, Nov. 4, to lecture on “The Northern Region: A New Dimension in International Relations.” His 6:30 p.m. speech in the Salomon Center for Teaching is part of the Stephen A. Ogden Jr. Memorial Lecture Series on International Affairs.

Grímsson, 56, is the fifth president in his nation’s history, elected June 29, 1996, to a four-year term. Iceland, formerly a monarchy, became a republic in June 1944. A former minister of finance and member of Iceland’s parliament, Grímsson served in leadership roles for various public bodies before taking office as president. Those include the Economic Council, Icelandic Broadcasting Service, Icelandic Social Sciences Association, Icelandic Security Commission, National Power Company and the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. Most recently he was international president of the Parliamentarians for Global Action. On behalf of the association, he accepted the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize in 1987.

Early in his career, Grímsson initiated the teaching of political science at the University of Iceland, where he was a professor. He is the author of scholarly articles and teaching texts about the Icelandic political system, as well as essays on international affairs published in foreign periodicals. In recent years, Grímsson has advised Icelandic firms seeking new markets, particularly in Asia and South America.

Grímsson’s lecture will be preceded by the Baltic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra’s performance of a new composition by Gerald Shapiro, Brown music professor and department chairman. Shapiro’s orchestral The Vinland Sagas will accompany a narration of tales of voyages by the Viking explorers in honor of the president’s visit.

The Ogden Lectures were established in memory of Stephen A. Ogden Jr., a Brown student who died in 1963 from injuries he suffered in a car accident. His family established the lectures as a tribute to his interest in international relations. The lecture is free and open to the public.