The Nordic Phoenix Rises – Digital Notes Harpa and the cultural revival of Iceland Halldór Guðmundsson — Director Harpa concert hall and conference centre, publisher & biographer of Nobel winning writer Halldor Laxness & author Wir sind alle Isländer on the Iceland crash Weds April 23rd 2014 Committee Room 2, Scottish Parliament 6-8pm Hosted by Linda Fabiani MSP Chaired by journalist and NH Director Lesley Riddoch Background. The new centrepiece of the Reykjavik skyline is Harpa, a magnificent concert hall which opened in 2011 — against all the odds. In 2008 it was part of a doomed waterfront redevelopment including a 400-room hotel, luxury flats, shops, restaurants, and new bank headquarters. The quarter-built project went on hold once the financial crisis hit an...Read More
Nordic Horizons event, Scottish Parliament, 29th March 2012 From Collapse to Constitution: The Case of Iceland Lesley Riddoch; Welcomes and intros. Professor Thorvalder Gylfason, economist, from Reykjavik (Thor) Christina McKelvie MSP, Convenor of European and External Affairs Committee, hosting. Welcomes everyone. Special welcome to the Ambassador and the consular guests.
Great meeting on March 29th in Parliament with Professor Thorvaldur Gylfason who won the highest number of votes in elections for the Commission to write Iceland’s “crowd sourced” constitution. The ICC had no elected politicians – now the Icelandic Parliament are chewing over the radical changes a referendum to approve the constitution will take place on the same day in June as Presidential elections ( boosting turnout) or later in the autumn. Thor said many memorable things during the event – not least that he thinks anyone wanting an independent Scotland should consider handing the task of creating a new Constitution for Scotland to the people and should start the process now. What follows is not the whole event but Thor’s full speech – a riveting 45 min...Read More
Iceland has made a steady recovery from the banking crash of 2008 which saw the country placed on the UK Terrorism Register. Slowly but surely this Nordic nation of just 300,000 people has been making sure such a crisis can never undermine the whole country again. It became clear that the 1944 Constitution (written when Iceland declared independence from Denmark), needed major revision. So a group of 25 ordinary folk was elected (from 550 self nominating volunteers) to rewrite the democratic rulebook. The Icelandic Economist Professor Thorvaldur Gylfason was involved from the outset and won the highest number of votes. The Icelandic Constitutional Council took 4 months to write the world’s newest Constitution with input by e-mail and social media (2/3s of Icelanders are on Facebook) and re...Read More