Iceland

What would you like the youth of America to know?

The President of Iceland has asked me to thank you for your letter... showing such interest in Iceland.
I am sending you some pamphlets on Iceland for your interest and the Icelandic flag.

What they sent me:
I'm not sure if my letter to the President of Iceland got mixed up with someone else's since I didn't ask about the flag or get a flag... but I appreciated the response. They sent two pamphlets that were very nice and were chock full of information.

Known locally as Lydveldid Island, Iceland is a Nordic island European country in the Northern Atlantic Ocean near the Arctic Circle. It's over 39,000 square miles (a little bigger than the state of Indiana) and has just 300,000 people.

Although many think that Iceland is nothing but ice, in reality the country has a temperate maritime climate with surprisingly mild winters thanks to the Gulf Stream.

The last European country to be populated with the sparsest population (less than 3 people per square kilometer), Iceland also had the world's first democratically elected female head of state: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the president of Iceland from 1980-1996.


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According to The Official Gateway of Iceland: "Iceland is a country of sharp contrasts. A place where fire and ice co-exist. Where dark winters are offset by the summer's midnight sun. A country where insular existence has spurred a rich and vibrant culture.

"Icelandic culture has been shaped by isolation and the extreme forces of nature. These conditions have created a resilient people, where family ties are close, the sense of tradition is strong, and the bond with nature is tight.

"Iceland is a progressive, modern society that continuously ranks at the top of measurements for quality of life, such as the United Nations Human Development Index. Its economy is one of the most productive economies in the world, per-capita, and it is annually considered to be one of greenest countries on the planet, due in large parts to its vast renewable energy resources."

If you want to know more about Iceland, the tourism office suggests that instead of Googling about their country, you use "the world's first human search engine": Gudmundur. Gudmundur is one of the most popular first names in Iceland (for males and females), and 7 different Gudmundurs from 7 different regions of Iceland will answer questions posted on social media tagged #AskGudmundur. The results are pretty great videos that answer things like "How cold is the water in Iceland?" and "Where will I find the Icelander of my life?" (You can view the videos at Visit Iceland.)

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Official Name
Republic of Iceland

Government
Constitutional republic

Current Leader
President
Guðni Th. Jóhannesson




• He is the only representative to have been picked by the entire electorate in a direct election

• He studied history and political science at Warwick University in England, German at Bonn University, Russian at the University of Iceland. He got a master's degree in history from the University of Iceland, an M.St. degree in history from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in history from Queen Mary, University of London.

• He was once a professor at the University of Iceland and a reporter for the Icelandic State Broadcasting Company



Previous Leader
President
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson




• Grímsson was the first Icelander to earn a PhD in political science

• He is deeply involved in the issues of renewable energy and global climate change



Recommended sites
President's Website
english.forseti.is

Government Website
www.government.is

Official Gateway to Iceland
www.iceland.is

Visit Iceland
www.visiticeland.com