Former Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland
Date and place of birth:
February 21, 1939, Ísafjörður, NW- Iceland
Married (26.09.1959) to Bryndís Schram, B.A.Lit., actress, TV-producer, journalist, author. 4 children, 5 grandchildren.
1963 M.A., Edinburgh University in Economics, History and Constitutional Law
1963-1964 Post-graduate work in Labour Economics, Stockholm University
1965 Dipl.Ed., University of Iceland
1976-1977 Fulbright Scholar, Harvard University
1964-1970 Teacher and journalist in Reykjavik, Iceland
1970-1979 Founder and Rector of Ísafjörður College
1979-1982 Editor-in-chief of Alþýðublaðið (a national daily)
1982-1998 Member of Alþingi (Parliament)
1984-1996 Leader of the Social-Democratic Party of Iceland (SDP)
1987-1988 Minister of Finance
1988-1995 Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade
1998-2002 Ambassador to the United States of America. Also accredited to Canada (1998 – 2001), Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.
2002-2005 Ambassador to Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine.
1960-1961 Chairman of the Radical Student’s association
1968-1970 Member of the Government Advisory Committee preparing for Iceland’s Membership of EFTA (European Free Trade Agreement)
1971-1978 Town-councillor, Ísafjörður municipality
1973-1975 Member of Government Committee on the transfer of public service institutions to the regions
1979-1984 Member of the Constitutional Reform Council
1983-1987 Member of the Council on Research and Development
1984-1996 Member of SAMAK, the Co-ordinating Council of Nordic Social Democratic Parties and Labour Federations
1988-1995 Member of the North-Atlantic (NATO) Council of Ministers
1988-1995 Member of the EFTA Council of Ministers, Chair 1989, 1992, 1994
Publications and media:
Editor of books on anthropology and educational policy. Translator of books and articles on economics, history and international affairs. Has written numerous articles in books, periodicals and newspapers on politics, political biography, economic policy, education and international issues. Editor of the Students’ magazine (1960-1961), Free Nation – a political weekly (1964-1967), Alþýðublaðið – a national daily (1979-1982) and a series on current affairs: “Contemporary issues” (1985-1996). “Honeymoon”: A political biography (2002), in cooperation with Kolbrun Bergthorsdottir. Frequent contributor to radio and TV -debates programs.
Guest lecturer at the Universities of Iceland, Reykjavik, Bifröst and Akureyri on European affairs, economic policy and international issues (2007-2011); Guest lecturer at Universities, reseach institutes and think-tanks in the USA, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the Nordic and Baltic countries (2000-2014); guest lecturer and scholar-in-residence at the Universities of Vilnius, Lithuania, Tartu, Estonia (2013-2014) on “Small States in the International System- 7 case studies”. Guest speaker at numerous conferences at home and abroad (current).
Honours and awards:
Honorary citizen of Vilnius, Lithuania (1995). Presidential order of distinction by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Outstanding Speaker Award by IBC. Great Minds of the 20th C-Award, ABI, 2000. A Doctor Honoris Causa Award from the University of Vilnius, February 11th, 2016.