Lessons from Iceland: A Nation Striving to Punch Above Its Weight in a Globalized World
Please, take your seats now and join, me in welcoming our, moderator. Dr. John, Holdren and special. Guests goodne johanna s'en the president, of Iceland. Well. Good afternoon everybody, it is a particular. Pleasure for me to be able to. Formally. Introduce. His. Excellency goodne. Johansen. Who, is the president of Iceland I, had, the great privilege of, meeting President Johansen, in October, when. We took a group of students. And faculty. Members from. The embryonic. Harvard. Arctic. Initiative, which we have begun at, the Kennedy School. Obviously. Some of those students and faculty, members are here are. Here this afternoon we. Had a great time and, president. Johansen. Received. Us and spent an inordinate amount of time with us in conversation. Particularly. With the students, at. His. Amazing. Residence, at. The amazing residence, of the, president and his lovely wife who was here sitting in the front row. The. President has an amazing, background he is the sixth president in Icelandic. History. Since they became independent, declared. Independence, in 1944. I, would, add that I am the same age as. Independent. Iceland. Before. Taking office in 2016. He was a professor he, was a professor of history at, the University of. Iceland. Lectured. At that university and many other universities, abroad has written numerous books and articles about. Modern. Icelandic. History including. Iceland's. Cod Wars with the United Kingdom the, Icelandic, presidency, in Icelandic, politics, Iceland. Security, issues during the Cold War. The 2008. Iceland financial, crisis, a. Remarkable. Background, for someone who was to become the. President of his, country he, holds a bachelor's, degree in history and political science from, Warwick University in England, master's. Degrees, in history, from the University of Iceland, and Oxford. University. And a, PhD in history from Queen Mary University, of London. So. Without further ado let me turn the floor over to. President Johansson. Thank. You John good afternoon everyone, what. A privilege. And honor it, is to be here at this forum. And. Good fun. Lessons. From Iceland a nation. Striving, to punch above its weight in, a globalized. World in. 2016, the, Icelandic men's soccer, team made it to the European finals, in France, tremendous. Achievement, smallest. Nation, ever we did really well there we.
Reached The quarter-finals by beating England, 2-1, I. Was. There Eliza was there. And. You. Know the ISIL national team gained international, attention, for, its success on the field but also off the field for this so-called. Viking. Clap. Or Viking. War chant and one, newspaper talked. About it as. I. Said, most people assume the, song comes from, an ancient pre-battle. Ritual. I'll come back to that later on but, Icelandic. Women have also done amazingly, well on the soccer field they. Had already made it to the European finals, and they were in, that. Tournament again last, year and and we were there as well and and. Then the dream continued, the. Men's team. Made. It to the World Cup finals, in Russia, this, summer. By. Far the smallest nation. Ever to. Make it to the World, Cup soccer finals, and it's quite an achievement there, are many. Well. Mid-sized, States that didn't make it to Russia. Even. Even, bigger than mid-sized, states. So. We were punching up our weights in, the in the English soccer field, how. Come can we learn something from Iceland success in sports, well. One lesson is that. We. Fear no one but. We, respect everyone, and. That's the key if you, want to succeed in the field of sports that's. Why we could beat bigger. Teams. Stronger. Teams that's. Why we could punch. Up our weight, now. You need to know a thing or two about Iceland, and Icelandic history. This. Is sort of a one-paragraph, history, of Iceland it is a record volcanic. Island, in the middle of the North Atlantic, settled. In the 9th and 10th centuries by, people, of mainly. North but also Celtic. Origin, the. Chieftains of the land they founded, parliament. Writers. Composed. Icelandic. Sagas, a glorious, contribution. To the world's literature. Iceland. Then came under Norwegian, and, later, Danish. Rule. Centuries. Passed in poverty, and decline, but. Then in the mid 19th century there, was a national. Awakening led, by Icelandic, intellectuals. And in. 1944. The Year John was born, we. Gained, independence. Iceland. Became an independent republic in, 1944. And we. Have enjoyed prosperity. Ever. Since. Despite. The it was a small mishap in, 2008. Spectacular. Panting collapse. So. In short it's a story, of sort of rise. And fall, and rise, again. And. Recent. History has a. Number. Of examples about the Icelanders, punching. Above, their weight. You. Can trust me I'm I'm a historian trust. Me I'm a historian what kind of race is that. But. One. Of the best examples. Would be this one. We. Don't talk with the British, we. Beat them. And. You know what. I went you to what a venue to to to, quote these words here in here in here at Harvard you know we're we're, in Boston we're so close to Boston Harper's, the story of the Boston, sea Tea Party and all the rest of it we. Don't talk with the Brits we beat them. These. Words. Come. From the first caught, war. 1958. Caught. Word what a funny phrase that would be for most of you I think, it. Was a series, of fishing disputes, from, the 1950s, to the 1970s. So, Iceland being an in orthodontic, relies heavily on, fisheries rich. Fishing grounds, around Iceland and Iceland. Wanted to extend its fishing limits gain control, of the fishing grounds the British. With heavy fishing, interests were for decades centuries. Refused. Said. Three-mile. Limits, of territorial, waters that is international. Law beyond, that you have the high seas and you are not allowed to extend that limit, so. When Iceland did that, moving. First from three to, four miles and then from four to twelve in 1958, Britain. Protested, and sent. In the Royal Navy to protect. To. Protect the. The. British. Trawlers trawler, is a fishing vessel, from. Harassment by Icelandic gunboats, so. Trolling, trolling. Is. Like let. Me see I'm improvising a bit here now. Trolling. Is like this this. Is a troll and. Assume. That it's not just full of Icelandic. Water but ice on the water that is full of fish here's, the trawler and, then. You. Patroller. Is is. Touching. The troll and in control, full of fish, full. Of Icelandic, fish and. We do not want that. So. The. Icelandic gunboats. They would sail to the trawler and my. Grandfather was on one of the wheels, a gunboat captain they, would sail to the trawlers. In the in the fishing. Regions. And. Bring. A big loud hailer and shout and. Strong. Icelandic. Accent you. Are fishing illegally, in, Icelandic, waters leave.
Immediately And. The. British troll Ehrman would, reply. No. Thank you we're not going a. Bit. More impolite, as you can imagine but. That was the end of that basically, the. Icelanders, could. Not do any, more especially with British warships around. Fortunately. For Iceland. The. Law of the sea was developing, an Iceland favor, so, the 12-mile, limit became. The. Common norm so, ultimately. Britain, back down but, then in the 1970s, we, Iceland has got the idea of expanding the limit to, 50, miles and then 200 miles and again. Britain protested, and again, they sent in the warships and, again you were faced with the situation of not, being able to do so much on the fishing grounds but, then fortunately. We. Invented. A. Secret. Weapon, Iceland's. Contribution, to military, warfare. The. Trawler has reappeared. With. A troll full. Of fish, and they. Want to drag. In a troll and there are trawler wires between you understand. We. Invented the troll, wire cutters. So. You have it like this they. Won't want to catch, the troll but. The. Gunboats, would, sail, in the wake of the trawler with a cutter, cut. The wires, so. Down cause the troll. Fish. Doesn't go into the Bridget Rowland you have very, very unhappy. British trawler man. This. Changed. The rules of the game and ultimately. Iceland. Won. Furthermore. The. British had the Royal Navy their Royal, Navy frigate. Full. Of weaponry advanced. Weaponry, but. Iceland. Was, and is a member, of NATO and there was a very, important, US military, base, in. Iceland so. You, could. Not fire. At. Icelandic. Gunboats that, was strategically. Impossible. Because. Whenever. Things. Got, really. Dangerous and dangerous they were on the fishing grounds the. Icelandic. Ministers, would. Basically, and. Time you know I'm I'm simplifying. A complex story but they would just call up Washington, DC and say like all Don you're, either with us or you're with them you. Either ask the Brits to back down or we. Will shut down the US base we, will leave NATO and the Communists. And the Socialists, in Iceland will gain in power until you want that in. The middle of the Cold War no you don't so. There is always pressure, on, Britain, to back down for. Strategic, interests, and that's, how I snuck could punch above its weight, we had the law of the sea developing, in our favor and we had the strategic importance, but. You know this. Is this is a very complex story I wrote a PhD, about this so I think it's quite an achievement to describe it in a few minutes. Now. Yeah. There, was one phrase I was one quotation was gonna mention in this regard, like. This is not just a story of Icelandic, fishing. Dispute, with Britain it has you. Know there are lessons to be learned from this, in. The midst of one of the cod Wars in 1973. US President Nixon, and French, President Pompidou had a summit in in Iceland and. Accompanying. Next one was the National, Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and. He. Looked at this dispute, and he just, felt. Wow. How, can this happen and he wrote in is in his memoirs and I'm, gonna quote Henry Kissinger here, I.
Sat, There in wonderment here, was an island with a population, of 200,000. Threatening. To go to war with, a world power of 50 million over. Cod fish I. Thought. Of a comment by Bismarck, over a century, earlier that, the weak gained, strength through, effrontery, and the, stronger, week because, of inhibitions. So, you see this, is a classic. Story about the complexities, of power, how. A small nation can, use its strategic. Leverage to have its way against. A much bigger much. Bigger state, so, for students, of international. Relations, political science, study. The cod Wars they tell you a lot about how, what, weak states can do or, weaker States. Iceland. Is a small state but when you're president, you have to be careful about using that phrase, I guess but. This, is a classic, case of of. A small state of a small state having. Its way in the international, arena. Now. Next one and Pompidou convened, in Iceland and I want to focus a bit on you know I start. Punching above its weight and what Iceland, can do to sort of I don't, know make this world a better place. They. Also submit, there was another more famous summit in 1986. When Reagan and Gorbachev, convened in Reykjavik and you. Know almost, ended the Cold War there. Nothing. Came of that but. But ever since I, start this have have. Kind of liked the idea that we could be there could be a meeting place in Iceland for a site. For summits and conferences. And I. Can mention here that back, home we have the Reykjavik. Peace Center or. They have the Peace Center named, after have, the house the, house were Reagan, and Gorbachev met. It's. A haunted house by the way. And. Another. Clear, success, story would be the Arctic. Circle. It's an annual conference on Arctic Affairs in Reykjavik. And with, various. Offshoots every. Year Arctic forums now. The Arctic, Circle is the brainchild of my. Predecessor, Oliver, Ragnar, Grimsson and, it. Has become the venue, for Arctic. Debates. A, meeting, point for States persons officials. Politicians academics. NGOs. And so, on and so forth so. That's. Something, where. We contribute. Contribute, I think and also, because the, Arctic concerns. Us Icelanders. Iceland. Lies just, south of the Arctic Circle. But. A large share, of Iceland's, ocean jurisdiction, is within. The. Arctic region, so. Can we punch up our weight in the Arctic. The. Region is of interest to many states the. US Canada. Russia. China. To. Name the biggest ones. The. Region is rich in natural resources, and. There is strategic, value as well. Possibilities. Of new shipping routes. But. The environment, is fragile the. Environment, is very fragile. Up there and environmental. Concerns, should, come first, and. The. Interests of indigenous. Peoples living. In the Arctic and their right to determine, their own future and to, take the long term view to. Take the long term view now. At the end of last year a new government came, to power in Iceland. Three. Party coalition from, left to right. It's a unique combination and, you yeah, you. Have to keep in mind that. In Iceland we have the system of proportional representation. For you students. Of political science, here, so. It's a 63 member, Parliament and after. The elections, we had eight parties, represented, there and. Impossible. To form a majority. By. Two parties, not to be three or more. So. After. A. Fairly. Long time. Of, discussions, and debate debates we had this new government and its, agenda on the Arctic, is quite clear and I will quote the. Government. Platform.
There Within. The Arctic Council, Iceland. Will highlight the UN's global, goals climate, issues and matters concerning, the ocean in accordance. With its approved policy, on the Arctic Iceland, will place emphasis on, respect, for the rights of indigenous peoples. And gender. Equality so. Like. Iceland, will not decide. The future of the Arctic but, we can definitely play a constructive role. There. Next. Year Iceland will take on the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, and we. Look forward to making our voice heard in that capacity even though you cannot you know decide, the. The. The. Way. Things go you. Can influence you can set the framework you can you can use, persuasion, and that's for, small nation that is essential, that you hold on to that you know we, cannot put, our fist down, and say alright, President. Putin alright president, Trump this, is what we is I'm just going to tell you what to do it, doesn't work like that but we can use the powers of persuasion. And. That's. Why we can live together in this in this, globalized, world, hopefully. Now. Climate. Issues sustainability. Future of the oceans. The. Ocean, is also our fatherland, these, are lives from a very popular poem. From. The middle of the 20th century in. The 20th century witness. The court wars the fisheries. Were so important, for us. Mainstay. Of the isolytic economy and. After. The court wars after, we had gained full control of, our fishing grounds there, was this feeling that we could just go on fishing ourselves. As much as we wanted but, we quickly realized. That that was not the case we. Had to impose a quota system. A. System. Whereby we, decide, the. Annual. Catch. Limit, it's. A system not without its flaws not without its drawbacks but. We. Can safely say that we have managed, to avoid the danger of overfishing. And stock, depletion, and, outside. Iceland many nations are interested, to learn about, how. We do things in this regard. Now. In a few weeks I will attend. An. Interesting, event or. Another, interesting, event. The. World ocean summit, in in, Mexico, and the message from Iceland will be clear there that. We need to protect the oceans we. Need to clean up the oceans one example is unless, we do something unless. We do something by. The middle of this century people. Estimate that it will be more plastic, than fish in the. Oceans and you. Know we're not going to consume, plastic. So. Let's. Do something about this. And. I. Like, to think that we. Icelanders. Or representatives. Of Iceland will be listened to in international. Forums when people actually understand, that we we. Know what we're talking about we know what. We're talking about when, it comes to the. Future of the oceans we, rely, so heavily on. Fishing. And, healthy. Oceans. So. You. Know there are many many things I need to talk about. How. We can punch up overweight gender. Equality. Iceland. Has. A good record. There. Are tales of strong, women in the Icelandic sagas which I mentioned to you let. Me just tell. You story of hot Carolyn Brooke. She. Was a. Strong. Woman she was of Kunar, from, here auntie. Kunar. Once slapped, her, in. Anger and. Then. She said those famous words. Man. One day you're going to regret this. Some. Years later good. Nurse enemies had encircled, him on their farm and he was, he. Was, he. Was fighting, with a pole and shooting. Arrows and then, all of a sudden the. Threat of the bow got torn and. Guna turns to ask Garuda and says. Give. Me some hair woman I need to repair. My my bow and then. She said well. Do. You remember when you hit me, and. You remember I said one day you would regret that. Where. You are you're not getting any hair from me to repair your bow and goodness. It fair enough, and, tight. Was killed. So. Half-gainer is a strong. Woman image, a forceful, woman just. Read the saga of burton y'all and you get the proper version of this.
In. 1975. In, iceland we had the, women's. Strike, in. Order to demonstrate, the. Importance, of women, in, the workforce and, at. Home women. Laid, down work said. Ok it's up to you man you. Run this economy, and these homes of ours i. Was. Seven. At the time and, my. Father. Bless. His memory. Cooked. For me and my, younger brother, that evening hot. Dogs, and. They all got personally, like bad. But. It was a tremendous. Demonstration. Of the. Importance. Of. Women. In the workplace women, in the household, of the. Need to reach 20 gender, equality in, 1980. A big. Milestone. Ice. Lenders elected. Vitesse. Fin poet doctor as president. The first democratically. Elected head. Of state, she. Was one of four candidates. And. It. Was a close, call and there. Were many many, elements. In, society. Wondering. Can. A woman be, president. And not, only that we. Dis was single, and not. Only that she was, a single mother can. A single mother be president, there. Were some who said sorry. You. Know I'm. All for gender. Equality but. You. Know how these sentences, go. So. For instance one. Person. Wrote. About, how. Real, it is the. Single mother could not be president because, how would she greet dignitaries. When. They came to Iceland if she were elected. Let's. Imagine this for a while okay let's assume. This. Woman wait this is elected president and, the, first head of state to come to Iceland on official, visit is usually. The. Head of state in Denmark the Queen of Denmark and, her. Husband. Prince Henrik will, accompany her and then, they will drive up to pass a study we present as residence with allies and I now live they. Will come up to the main entrance and. Beauties, will stand there. Outside. The door and come. To greet them, but. This will not do she. Will come and greet the Queen your, majesty, nice to see you welcome to Iceland but, who's going to greet the, Prince she. Will be there all by herself and this this is impossible this cannot work. Ladies. Had a solution. We. Always have a solution. You. Know what he did. She. Greeted the Queen and. Then. She created the. Problem. Solve. So. But. She. Was elected we're proud of hat she's, still going, strong a. Wonderful. Person when. She was when, she took, office in the. Tiny. Parliament, House in the downtown, reykjavik. There. Were about 100. Persons. Present. There. Was of a tease, three. Other women and then, bit. Over 100 men this was the world she entered, but. We're moving on I will come to that so. I. Could, talk also about our, Nordic. Model where. We can punch up our weight show others how to do things but, I want to have time for discussion as well we're, we're, always happy we're always smiling, with. Quirky, we're. Enthusiastic. We. Welcome visitors from, all parts. Of the world. It. Just couldn't be better and did. You notice it's never. It never rains in Iceland. The. Weather is always fantastic I. Was. An academic. In. Academia. You're. Meant to be critical. You're. Meant, to be a skeptic. Not. Worry about what's. Best for the authorities, what's best for your country, as it were you're, meant to be truthful. To. Academic. Working. Methods Veritas. That's. The motto of heart. My. Role, as. President may. Be yes to promote Iceland, and be, optimistic, I, mean, you can't have a pessimistic, president, like you, know I can't have a I can't. Deliver a New Year's address saying like well, my. Fellow of Icelanders, things. Are looking gloomy I'm pretty pessimistic. And. Sense if I can feel it. That. No I'm not asking for that you. Have to be optimistic you have to be, confident. That if, you put your effort into it you will make the, world a better place today. Will be better than yesterday, things. Will take time if we work together. We. Will move in the right direction I'm, all for that but not. To, create a rosy. Picture not, to, create. A false, image of the perfect society, because. It will just hit you ultimately.
It Will just hit you so, a few caveats let's. Begin with the so-called Viking, war. Chant, there's nothing Viking, about it at all it. Was. Discovered. In Iceland in 2014. When, a Scottish, soccer team came to Iceland today did the Viking, war chant Motherwell, of Scotland, and I've. Also heard, that there's some team in Poland also doing this so, there's nothing ancient. Viking. Asked about it at all and if. You go to Iceland and I encourage, you to visit this lovely Island of ours, don't. Assume that all Icelanders, will be desperate, to do the Viking, clap we're with you. But. We'll certainly do it at at the World Cup in Russia this the summers and, you. Know the court Wars I wrote. A lot about the court was as a as a historian, and I. Pointed out that yes, our gunboat captains, were, brave and heroic and Icelandic. Determination. Was a key factor, in our, ultimate success but, you, have to take into consideration as, well Iceland. Strategic, importance, the, development. Of the law of the sea and therefore. You cannot just credit, heroic, Icelanders, for victory it was a part of a bigger story. Nations. In South America, were developed, declaring, 200-mile fishing limits decades. Before us so, we followed in their footsteps we, were not the icebreakers, as it were and. It. Was not a proper war. You. Know cod, Wars is a misnomer, of, sorts and this this actually hit me in the presidential, campaign I mean, who is this person saying our. Glorious, grand boat captains didn't didn't. Secure. A victory and and, I also mentioned that we Islanders were not always United, and so on and so forth so so. If. You. Want to become president or head of state, be. Careful, about what you write as historians. Gender. Equality to. Conclude on that yes yes. We have done well we Icelanders, but there's still so much work to do most, recently. Parliament. Adopted a, law. On. Gender equality strive. For equal pay. Of course in, the workplace and and put, in effect ways. To make sure that, we have equal pay in the, work force and we'll all for that but. The. Proof is in the pudding it depends on whether, it's actually, enforced, furthermore. Out. Of CEOs, and Icelandic companies, and I think and all this correctly.
Only 11 percent are, women so. Let's. Not just pride. Ourselves of. Big. Steps we've taken there's. Still there. Still a long, way to go and we need to work on this together. Furthermore. The. Me to campaign, the. Me to at rising, was, certainly felt in Iceland. Women. In. The movies in. The theater in, Parliament. And. Academia. In. Sports. Women. And Iceland have come forward and told, terrible. Tales of. Sexual. Harassment, and sexual violence. Only. Earlier. This, week women, of foreign. Origin we're, the last ones to come forward and they will be more they will be more. Clearly. So, much needs, to be done still so it's not just smiles. And, happy. Whether, if. We're. Going to pride ourselves of, how well we, have been doing in sports, we. Better make sure that we fight sexual, harassment, and sexual violence in the fields of sports and other, aspects. Of society. So. That. Is. To. Conclude. My. Final. Message. We. In Iceland. Can, punch. Up our weight we can. Be. A shining example, to others only. If. We admit that there is still a long way to go to create the perfect society, in which we want to live the society, we want to create for our children and our grandchildren. Let's, be optimistic, let's. Be determined. But. Let's also be realistic, and when it comes to Iceland a small nation in the North Atlantic let's, also be realistic about our capabilities, in the wider world we, can influence, but. We can never determine, but, when you think about it what's, wrong with trying to influence events why, do we always have to, aim. For that, bit, extra is it much better to be able to, decide. I think, influencing. Can be a better. Way to move, forward. Finally. Before. You take the stage as well. Punching. Up over a red is good yes but. A. Few, years ago. Another. President, president. Toomas Elvis, of Estonia. Was. Asked about his hopes for his, country's future Estonia, had been under Soviet, rule on depression for decades they, were emerging, from that shadow what's, your future what's your hope and, he said well. We just want to become another. Boring, Nordic. Country, and. I. Can, agree with him on that I want to be head of state of a, boring, country. Where. Things are in order where. People can feel secure and, then. You, will find out that individuals. Can prosper, if we, if. We create, the societal safety, then. Individuals. Will aspire. Find, their dreams make, them, come true and, it, is a society, where we help each other because. If we help each other if you. Find out that you have a disease. If you find out that your kid needs treatment. Then. It. Is better to live in a society, where. We, help each other. That. Is the key I think. Safety. Net a society. Of togetherness, and tolerance, where, each and each individual, can still. Make. His or her dreams come true. Then. You, don't have to punch up your weight you just have to be, living. In a pouring Nordic, country thank. You very much. Thank. You, thanks. So. We are now going to have a. Period, of time for questions and answers we. Have, two. Mics at the back of these two aisles we. Have two mics up, on the first or. Second, balcony while. Folks are lining up there let me ask the first question and, then are turning to the mics, my, first question, for, the, afternoon is. President. Johansen, you. Talked. About the cod Wars or the 50s and the 70s when, the adversary, was. The United Kingdom, in. What you might call the cod Wars of the 2010s, the adversaries. As you've noted include. Plastics, in the ocean they, include acidification, they, include warming, they. Include overfishing. Even by, Icelanders. But. Particularly, with respect to the aspects, of those problems, that are global the, plastics, the acidification. The. Warming. Say. A little more about how Iceland, is planning, to play in that arena to. Protect, its interests, in, its, fisheries. And more broadly its climate, yeah, thank you well.
First. Be. Aware that, the. Position, of the president of Iceland is. On. A day to day basis, non-political. We, have a prime minister and. A, government, where, politics. Political decisions. Are, made so, so. I. Do, not run. Or. Icelandic. Policy, when it comes to to. Politics, on a day-to-day basis, but I. Can. Safely say that. When. It comes to the. Future, of the oceans and climate. Change it. Is a it, is a it's. A cross goes, across the political spectrum that, the Iceland disagree on. On. Positive. Action. The. Icelandic government is, guided, by the goals, of the, Paris. Agreement. To. Limit. And I'm just quoting here I'm, not trying to fool you into thinking that I have, memorized this, ISIL, just guided by the goal of the Paris agreement of 2015, to limit the average increase of the, temperature of the Earth's atmosphere to, 1.5. Degrees. Sent from the reference level. Yeah. This is centigrade, the. Main aim of the government's climate policy is to avoid negative effects, of climate change on marine life and no. Other part of the world as, the temperature risen as much as it has in the Arctic and Iceland. Is more over bound to achieve a 40%, reduction in, emissions of greenhouse gases. By. 2030, it is the government's, wish to go further than is envisaged in a Paris agreement and to, aim to have a carbon neutral Iceland, by 2040, at the latest so this gives, you an indication of the of the. Positive. Goals and aims and. Whether. Yeah, whether they will actually be implemented we just have to see we have to wait till 2040. For some of it. But. Iceland. Wants to play a constructive role on, in, the international, arena and. Because. We realized so much we, still rely so much on on fisheries and unless. We, protect the oceans. This. Treasure of ours will. Be in, serious. And possibly immediate, danger so so. That, is the those. Concerns, guide Iceland's foreign Iceland's, policy in that regard. The. Balcony, please, briefly. Introduce, yourself and remember. That a question is no more than two sentences, the second of which ends in a question mark. Hi. My name is Isabella's sophomore at the college I'm also concerned with environmental, issues I mean I understand that Iceland is a champion, of sustainable, fishing one, question I did have those regarding, the whaling practices in, Iceland I know this is one of the more controversial, issues, but, I was wondering if you kind of see that as a contradiction to. What some of the things you were saying about protecting, our oceans mm-hmm. Whaling, has been a controversial, issue for. Decades. In. The, late. 1980s, I was studying in the UK. When. Whaling. Was even, more contentious, than it is today, and. You. Know I was, just a kid I had no. Interest. In hunting whales, you. Know in, that regard but, I remember, this sense of sort of. Nationalism. As it were or all, sort of they're ganging up on us Icelanders as well so, I felt like all right hold on if we want to catch. Whales we, will, just do that we will not let foreigners, tell us what we can do in Iceland that was a sense. Whaling. Has. Dramatically. Decreased in Iceland, in in. Recent years and decades and. Icelanders. Certainly. Do not hunt. The. Types which are were helping in at, the in at the risk of extinction. But. It, is the. Policy. Of the government of, Iceland to, keep open, the option of hunting. Certain. Species of whales which are not in being. In. The risk. Of extinction and. At. The same time the. Government is aware of the fact that this is noticed abroad so. I. Would. I. Would. Be, yeah. Very. Possibly, you could see a change in that but that would be up to the government and Parliament to decide thank. You good. Peyman. My. Name is David eaves I'm a lecturer here at the Kennedy School. Goodne. That. You kind of you rode a wave of populism, in. As, part of your election and kind, of people, here and I've been a wave opposing around the world and people and many people here gonna look at that populism with a lot of concern but, they look at you and they go well good, news not so bad. Having. A good me would be great so I think I'd have a question for you is as someone who has thought critically, about politics do you look at as populum populism, as just. A benign thing, that's going on, you're a happy, accident of, is it a negative thing from which you're a happy accident but you're like you know I'm a lucky outcome, we should be more careful or, you know actually populism is good, it requires people to be more responsive, politicians.
More Responsive, and I'm and I'm, a reaction. To that so, you want more good news where, do you fall in this yeah. I don't know. Yeah. You're allowed to say I don't know I hope you. Know. Populism. Is. A. Negative. Term at least in in, academia. I think. You know. People. Have been rising. Up against the elite right, we. Have hot, enough of the elite, the. People, decide, you. Have seen this in, you've. Seen this theme in elections. Around the world I, think. We. Here at this. Distinguished. Venue. Need, to think a lot about this are. You, guys are we, the elite, in. A certain way we are it's a privilege for you guys to be here it is certainly a privilege for me to be in the position in which I am. But. You, are or will. Become, experts. You, are. Or, will become experts. In your field you. Will be able to say listen. I, am. Right, on this and you. Are not right, on this and why. Is that so because I have looked at the issue at hand you, have not therefore. I am telling you that this is how things are now, dust is not sound, though arrogant. With, all expertise. That, must come humility. As well or humbleness. You, must be humble, as, you, project your, knowledge, and expertise. And, maybe that has been lacking a bit maybe. That's, why we have this rise, of. Anger. Towards. The so-called elite, maybe. That is why those. Who support, populism, have, gained the ground we can see so. I think for us in our yeah like I'm on unpaid leave at the University of Iceland so I can still call myself member, of academia maybe, we need to. Understand. That even, though we, are experts, in a certain field, that. Does not mean that we have the answers to everything and that, does not mean that we should. Show. A level of arrogance, which sometimes, comes with being, an academia and you. Know I just, noticed I was in this business, and. But. This why perhaps populism. Has a reason now why I was elected, in Iceland. It's a it's, a long story and certainly it, was never, on the agenda. The. Stars just happened to align at the same at, the. Perfect place for me, in the, spring, of 2016, and I. Just think I. I. Think that my success. In the elections. Has. Very, little. To do with a, general, trend of populism, in, the, in the, outside. World, it just demonstrates the, the. Importance, of looking at each event separately. As well contingency. Matters. As well. So. It, was not sort of. Well. There was one thing there I. One. Of the reasons I was elected was the fact that I was not a politician, I assumed this were. Tired. Of politicians. I think, I can safely say that and. They wanted someone me or somebody else who had no connections, with the political world. That. Is the sort of populist, aspect of my election as you think. Up. On the balcony. Mr.. President, thank you for joining us this, Friday my name is Ernesto Vittorio, I'm a national security fellow here at the Kennedy School. You. Expanded. Upon, Iceland's. Conflict, with Britain in the cod Wars so. Moving into today, what. Are your views of the contested, waters in, the, South China Sea, and the East China Sea and if you were to inform, some, of those nations in tension, with the People's Republic of China right now how might you, advice then well. Yes if only I was still an academic. One. Day. After my election, I did, some interview and I got a text message from. A good friend of mine, good. Name you are no longer an academic, fearful. Now. I'm I know I don't know the the, specific, aspects of that dispute I would only advise. Caution. And moderation and not, resort to to. Any, use of force but, since. You mentioned it I could friend of mine in. At, the lake at Reykjavik University, Department, of Law very he's. Been he's been advising, on, this. Dispute, but. You. Know you have to find the middle ground I should think. One. Of the blessings. Of Iceland is that we're in the middle of nowhere up in the North Atlantic so, so, the issue of median lines didn't, arise, until we expanded, the limit to 200 miles then we then you, know you have to find the median line between Iceland, and the Faroe Islands, on the one hand I some time Greenland on the other so.
I Mean the principle of finding, the middle ground surely, must play play, some have. A have a have, a peering there so, so, those are my words of wisdom there. Hello. Again my name is Cecilia Nicolini, I'm a research fellow at the ash Center and, during the last year is Iceland. Has been in, the papers for pushing. And promoting very, innovative policies. And projects, some, of them were failed. Like the cross first constitution, which was, about to be the most equal and transparent, constitution, some. Other is worse. Very successful, like recently the, law that you pass for pain, women, and no pay women no less than men for equal, job which. That is very very inspiring and other ones maybe more controversial, like trying to forbid. The pineapple, in pizza yeah. But, I would like to learn what is this innovative. In the DNA of Iceland, and what would be the next breakthrough. Innovation, in Iceland, government. Yeah, again you know I'm, not the salesperson for Iceland but I will let I will still let you know that being, small does, have its advantages so. I think, maybe, in Iceland if, you're a kid and you. Think you. Know I want to I want. To be on the national team in, basketball. Or. Gymnastics. Or soccer. Or whatever I want, to be on the symphony orchestra. I want, to invent. Medicine. That cures cancer. The. Dream isn't, as far. Away possibly. As it is possibly. In bigger countries, so, maybe because. We are small. It. Gives. You the. Belief. That, you can make things happen. Iliza. My wife was here with us she often. Tells the story of people working many jobs you know Iceland you know you're a carpenter, and, you are also. Working. In some other position, then you're in a choir as well and you're coaching the soccer team and you. Know you're doing many things so maybe that helps us as well because if you're just boxed in one field then. You become an expert there and don't know a thing about anything else so, maybe diversifying. Like this, helps. You helps you a bit. And. Then. As, asked, the. Skeptic. Academic, I once was I would say well give me proof that we are actually more innovative than others. Okay. We, left. And three questioners, standing, so let's turn to the, balcony. And please. Be brief, hi. Thank you very much for coming to visit I hope to return the favor and come Tizen someday you're always welcome Nori's. Country as you can see my. Name is Tyler Levine I'm a senior at the college I I was, reading recently about. How. A. Lot, of mothers in Iceland are choosing. The, option, of terminating. A pregnancy, if they find out that the baby has down, syndrom in particular but, potentially, other, kind. Of genetic. Abnormalities and, I, was you. Know we saw those beautiful smiling people, happy, and in the video. How. Do you think about that this practice mm-hmm. I guess from, a governmental regulation, standpoint, and also just from I guess. I'm world standpoint but I yeah. Whatever you're comfortable with oh yeah. There. Is no law in Iceland. On. Termination. Of pregnancy, when you when. There's when you detect Down, syndrome that was the misconception. That was. Brought to the world, attempted. To use the word fake news. There's. Nothing like that but you are right though. Again. The smallest of Iceland, has to be taken into account it is very easy to. Conduct. Nationwide. Screening, during. Pregnancy, and. Their. Termination. Of pregnancy. Is allowed in Iceland and. That. Is the law. What. We need to look at is the ethical, aspect and the moral aspect which you mentioned. Has. It been the case that. People. Advising. Mothers. And parents, have. Been telling. Them, advising. Them hinting. That, it. Would be wise to terminate, this pregnancy, because. Children. And people with Down syndrome will, not lead a happy life that. Is. Intolerable. That is, not. The way we want things done. Last. Year I was. Privileged. To have at Besser studied the president's, residence. Kids. And grownups, from, the Down Syndrome, Society and. The. Kids are as happy as, you. Can get. So. That. Is the issue we, have to confront. That. When. Doctors. And others in the medical, profession orally. Advising. Parents. And mothers. You. Should not. Do. Something like that create, an image of a. Definitely. Unhappy life, for, an individual. With Down syndrome because, that is not the case and that would, be my message and, just, emphasize. That, there. Is no law of this kind but, you are right the, percentage. Of, people. With Down syndrome has, gone down because, of screening, and possibly. Because, of. Practice. Of giving advice which, is not, the way it should be done. Thank. You for joining us mr. president my, name is David G I'm a junior in the college I recently. Heard that Iceland is making, major investments in, its infrastructure, to promote tourism like. A 1 billion. US dollar investment, in the Keflavik, Airport and, I was just wondering do you see a dilemma in balancing, the concerns, of the, Icelandic people and the potential benefits from more tourism, yes.
Iceland, Enjoyed a big, tourist, boom. Last. Year I think, I. Think. I'm right on this well. Over 2 million people visited, Iceland. It. Has caused strains, in the infrastructure, both. In terms of people. Visiting, the most popular, spots nature. Has to be protected. The. Roads. Some. In some places narrow. Gravel, roads, and. Built. For much. Less traffic, than is now the case. Airbnb. Has blossomed in Reykjavik. Students. Find it hard to find accommodation. People. Who live in blocks. Of flats are, not happy. When tourists, are coming in and out in the middle of the night partying. And what-have-you so, these are the strains you have to face but it's still the case that Icelanders, in general, are very positive, very. Positive towards, tourism, tourists, and, many. Stories I can cite in that regard and also. Tourists. Who are asked. The. Experience. Is overwhelmingly. Positive. But you are right we. Have reached the point where we have to, really. Have to, think. Hard about. Increased. Investment, in infrastructure. I also, think we need to diversify. A bit make, people visit, more places than the most popular ones so, that we. Can sort of protect. The most popular spots and allow, people to enjoy all the spots which are which, they don't know about already. So. Tourism. Is, overwhelmingly. Overwhelmingly, positive. When, it comes to, Iceland. And. At. The same time there is growing awareness that, that. We, need to we, need to invest. In the infrastructure, and. Then. Then. We can safely move. Forward. Well. Thank you I hope everyone, will join me in thanking president, Johansen. You.