INTERNATIONAL VISITS PROGRAM
By founder of the program,Gail Einarson-McCleery with additions from current Co-ChairJoan Eyolfson-Cadham
The resurgence of interest in the ties of Icelandic-Canadians with Iceland has taken on near phenomenal proportions in the past few years. Before then, when observing the scene from Toronto, I could only regard with envy the ever increasing number of Icelanders who ventured to the Interlake area of Manitoba bringing with them displays of artistic and intellectual talent. On a visit to Red Deer, Alberta in 1995 while attending the “Icelandic Connections” conference, I was delighted to see the participation of so many people from Iceland, but felt it was a shame that they had made such a long journey only to be restricted to a “one off” twenty minute presentation and to such a small audience. My immediate thought was that people of this caliber, with so much of Iceland to communicate to all of us, should be able to visit all over Canada and the U.S., and to do so in an on-going manner.
From that thought, came the idea of creating something permanent in the way of cultural visits between Canada and Iceland. The result was the formation of the Icelandic National League ’s International Visits Program, now in its sixteenth year. From the outset, the idea was enhanced to create an exchange program; in effect, offering Icelanders the opportunity to know something of the artistic talents of Icelandic-Canadians. I had been active in the Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto for many years, and I knew of several people within our own group who would be very supportive of the idea. Local artist, Tom Bjarnason was quick to respond and he suggested that the first person to introduce to Canadians was the Icelandic art critic, Aðalsteinn Ingólfsson. “Addie” was a former curator of the National Gallery in Iceland , and with the support of Garry Oddleifson, president of the ICCT at that time, the concept was presented to the INL convention and accepted as a viable project.
PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROGRAM (FROM ICELAND)
1997 Aðalsteinn Ingólfsson – Icelandic art – 16 lectures and slide shows.
1999 Páll Stefánsson, Iceland Review´s internationally acclaimed photographer
2001 Fríður Ólafsdóttir, leading expert in the national costume, led workshops
2002 Inga and Gurry… Ingveldur Ýr Jónsdóttir, soprano and Guðriður St. Sigurðardóttir,
pianist – 10 concerts and 6 workshops in schools
2007 Víkingur Ólafsson, pianist, and Karen Ouzounian, cellist, presented ten concerts, and then Víkingur went on to do two solo shows in Ottawa, all to rave reviews.
2007 Bjárki Sveinbjornsson, musicologist, toured the west to talk about early Icelandic North
American composers and collect yet more information on them.
2008 Ýrsa Sigurðardóttir, writer of mystery novels and geothermal engineer, visited 13 towns
and cities to read from her books and talk about her vocation, the energy sector.
2010 Kristinn Guðjónsson toured 11 cities with his beautiful pictures of Eyjafjallajökull and explanations of the geology of the volcanic structure of Iceland
2011 Mats Wibe Lund brought us his interesting photos of our ancestral farms, each of the 11 locations was presented with a show which included farms from which people in their club had emigrated.
PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROGRAM (TO ICELAND)
Tammy Axelsson suggested we make this an exchange…
1998 Patricia Peacock of Vancouver – her Norse themed art to Hofsós
1999 Einar Vigfusson, naturalistic bird carver showed in Hofsós, Nordic Centre and University of Iceland
2001 Carol Davis, soprano from Vancouver with accompanist Harold Brown, toured Reykjavík, Seyðisfjörður, Akureyri, Hofsós and Ísafjorður
2002 Doug Rognvaldson, spinning wheel maker from Edmonton demonstrated his craft in
Akureyri and Reykjavík
2003 Ruth Christie, aboriginal storyteller and descendant of John Ramsey, spoke in schools and libraries.
2003 Martha Brooks from Winnipeg did double duty, reading from her stories for teenagers and singing with her trio in Akureyri and at the Jazz Festival in Reykjavik.
2007 Steve Benediktson, international energy expert and grandson of Stephan G.Stephansson, was the main speaker at the INL Iceland Convention, and also spoke at the University of Iceland,the University of Akureyri and at Hofsos Emigration Centre.
2007 Ingunn Benediktsson of Toronto and Calgary and her Quartetto Constanze toured, and IVP program contributed $1000 to their costs.
2009 Nelson Gerrard was approached to tour Iceland,but his time limitations got in the way.
2009 Christina Sunley introduced the Icelandic translation of her book ‘The Tricking of Freya, with readings in Reykjavik and Akureyri and Skriðuklausur.
2010 and 2011 Laurie Bertram presented excerpts from her Masters thesis on themes from the settlement era, such as ghosts, vinarterta, and costumes, in Reykjavik and Akureyri.
August 2012, Pam Olafson Furstenau will be touring Iceland to familiarize people with the work of the INLof NA and the settlements across N.A.,with a particular focus on North Dakota.
As each tour was planned, local clubs across the country became more and more
involved. Artists, previously known only to a narrow group of people, began making themselves known and asked to be considered as exchange candidates. This has provided all of us with an added bonus….we have all been able to learn more of the creative talent within our own communities as well as those artists coming from Iceland. Before long, our friends in the Icelandic communities in Minneapolis and Seattle became participants in the program.
Stefan Jonasson heading to Iceland as INLNA International Visitor
The Icelandic National League of North America is pleased to announce that Stefan Jonasson will be its 2017 Lecturer for the International Visits Program. He will undertake a speaking tour of Iceland following the Easter holiday, sponsored by the INLNA in collaboration with Þjóðræknisfélag Íslendinga.
Stefan will be offering a choice of lecture in each place he visits from among five general themes: Icelandic involvement in North American public life, Western Icelandic contributions to literature, religious controversies among the Western Icelanders, Icelandic immigrants’ religious life in the absence of a state church, or a general survey of the history of Icelandic Winnipeg.
No stranger to Lögberg-Heimskringla readers, Stefan has been the paper’s editor for the past two years. An ordained Unitarian minister, he came to L-H after a distinguished 24-year career as a denominational executive with the Boston-based Unitarian Universalist Association. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg, he was the recipient of the Governor General of Canada’s Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. He has been president of the university’s alumni association and currently sits on its board of regents. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 in recognition of his community service.
Stefan is deeply immersed in Icelandic history and culture on both sides of the ocean. He has been a frequent tour guide for Icelanders visiting Winnipeg, at the request of the Consulate General of Iceland in the city, and he has led several tours of varying size for North Americans visiting Iceland. There are few topics involving Iceland about which he does not have at least a passing interest.
The international visitor during the 2016-2017 academic year was to have been Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, but he was elected President of Iceland last June and had to decline the invitation to visit North America last fall. It normally would have been Iceland’s turn to receive a visitor, so Stefan was recruited to go to Iceland in place of Guðni’s scheduled visit here. In October 2015, Dr. Grímur Valdimarsson was the international visitor and he toured INLNA clubs to speak about the state of the world’s fisheries and Iceland’s fishing practices.
The International Visits Program was established to foster understanding and relationships between Icelanders and people of Icelandic descent living in North America. Each year, the program sponsors either a person from Iceland to visit North America or a person from North America to visit Iceland. The program selects people with special qualifications or expertise as writers, scholars, scientists, genealogists, researchers, or other areas of interest. Previous international visitors have included literary scholar Viðar Hreinsson, genealogist Sunna Furstenau, photographer Mats Wibe Lund, and crime novelist Yrsa Sigurðardóttir,
For more information about the INLNA International Visits Program, please contact Alicyn Goodman, Chair, IVP Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Icelandic National League of North America
North American Visitors to Iceland
The International Visits Program of the Icelandic National League and the Icelandic National League of North America has been established to foster understanding and relationships between Icelanders and people of Icelandic descent living in North America. Each year the Program sponsors a person from Iceland to visit North America or a person from North America to visit Iceland. The Program selects people from North America with special qualifications or expertise as writers, scholars, scientists, genealogists, researchers or other areas of interest to audiences in Iceland . Presentations are made in several locations in Iceland, usually about a dozen or so.
While an objective of the Program is to select persons of Icelandic descent, this does not exclude others whose expertise might be of interest to Icelandic audiences.
Return airfare, IcelandAir, North America/Iceland is provided. While in Iceland transportation, some meals and accommodation are provided by Icelandic hosts. You may be a welcome guest in a home or stay in a bed and breakfast, inn or hotel.
The International Visits Program invites expressions of interest from persons wishing to participate in the Program.
Icelandic National League of North America
#103 – 94 1st Avenue
Gimli, Manitoba, R0C 1B1
Phone: 204.642.5897 Fax: 204.642.9382 Email: email@example.com
Viðar Hreinsson, an independent literary scholar, grew up on a farm in the North of Iceland. A lecturer on various aspects of Icelandic literary and cultural history at universities in Iceland, Denmark, and Canada, he also acted as general editor of the acclaimed five-volume series The Complete Sagas of Icelanders, published in 1997.
Viðar’s two-volume biography of Icelandic-Canadian literary giant Stephan G. Stephansson was published in Icelandic in 2002 and 2003. Volume I was nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize in 2002 and the completed work received the 2003 Award for Excellence in Scholarly Writing.
An English, one-volume version of this biography is now available in English: Wakeful Nights. Stephan G. Stephansson: Icelandic-Canadian Poet. It has already received good reviews in Lögberg Heimskringla and Kirkus Review.
An outspoken environmental and political activist and former Director of the Reykjavík Academy, Viðar Hreinsson has since written two biographies and worked on developing new and critical approaches to Icelandic literary and cultural history.
Viðar will present Stephan G. Stephansson's biography, discuss his immigrant experience, introduce his profound poetry and philosophy of life that is highly relevant today, and finally read a few of his poems in Icelandic.
MATS WIBE LUND BRINGS HIS BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS OF ICELAND’S FARMS TO NORTH AMERICA
Click on the picture below to see a video of Mats explaining how he works
at the Toronto Presentation with Gail Einarson-McCleery
Video by Vern Austman
Reviews of this very successful tour coming soon. In the meantime:
Mats main website is: www.mats.is
His interactive website, set up especially for the Ancestral Farm Photo presentations is: http://mats.photoshelter.com
On this site you can view each and every presentation and also set up a preliminary order and get price quotes for final decision on whether or not to buy or alter you order.
In the latest N.A. tour by the International Visits Program of the INL of NA, photographer Mats Wibe Lund from Iceland will visit 11 clubs and feature his pictures of ancestral farms in their natural surroundings, be it the mountains, glaciers, or seaside.
Flying his own plane, Mats has photographed most of the farms and towns in Iceland and will be custom making his presentations to feature farms submitted by INL club members, from which their ancestors immigrated to NA. This is an unique opportunity for us, and digital images will also be for sale.We are very grateful to Icelandair for helping to make this tour possible.
Make sure to come out to see Mats’ show … locations and dates are on the next page; more information from local presidents as to venue and times.