President of Iceland: Can Small States Make a Difference?

With a population of 376,000—less than half the size of Cyprus—and land area of 40,000 square miles (103,000 square km), lceland is one of Europe’s smallest states.

In his lecture “Can Small States Make a Difference? The Case of Iceland on the International Scene,” President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson shares his perspective as the leader of a small country that was a founding member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

According to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Peace Index, Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation—for the 14th consecutive year. Iceland has consistently held the top position since the index launched in 2008.

Jóhannesson argues that Iceland’s national commitment to peace; disarmament, arms control, and nonproliferation; and the shared values of the NATO alliance, including respect for democracy and human rights, are part of how his small state makes an outsized impact on international relations.

Hosted by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, this Distinguished Speakers series event is part of Einaudi’s work on Democratic Threats and Resilience.

The event will be moderated by Peter Katzenstein, the Einaudi’s Center Walter S. Carpenter Jr. Professor of International Studies and Professor of Government in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Free ticket required: Reserve your ticket today!

Note: Due to security precautions, attendees may be searched, and bags will not be allowed in the auditorium. Free and secure bag storage will be available at the venue.

If you’re not able to attend in person, we invite you to join the livesteam.


About the Speaker

Guðni Th. Jóhannesson took office as Iceland’s president in 2016. Previously, he was professor of history at the University of Iceland. He also taught at Reykjavik University, Bifröst University, and the University of London.

Jóhannesson has written numerous books on modern Icelandic history—including works about the Cod Wars, the Icelandic presidency, late Prime Minister Gunnar Thoroddsen, spying in Iceland, and the 2008 banking collapse—as well as dozens of scholarly articles and newspaper articles. In 2017 he was awarded an honorary degree by Queen Mary University of London, where he earned his PhD in history in 2003.

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