Reykjavík is using its brains to attract more academic conferences, with its convention bureau teaming up with three of Iceland’s top universities.

An official partnership agreement was signed between Meet in Reykjavík and the University of Iceland (HÍ), Reykjavík University (HR), and the Iceland University of the Arts (LHÍ) in a bid to in strengthen Reykjavík as an international conference destination.

Meet in Reykjavík will help staff at the universities gather information, bid, and prepare contracts for international meetings and conferences, and promote the universities’ facilities to organisers. Events that align with Iceland’s existing knowledge strengths will be of particular interest. Iceland has been formulating policies on issues pertaining to equal rights, geothermal energy and the Arctic region, and there has been increased interest in holding meetings in these areas.

Þorsteinn Örn Guðmundsson, managing director of Meet in Reykjavík, said: “We have had good relations with the universities in recent years and are interested in expanding on our collaboration and making greater efforts to seek suitable projects for the destination and the university community here in Iceland.”

Iceland is already a world leader in geothermal power, drawing on a core of knowledge from six geothermal power plants, active geothermal fields, and local experts at the Iceland School of Energy. It generates 100 per cent of its electricity with geothermal and hydro power, while more than 90 per cent of all industrial facilities and residences are heated by geothermal water. It will hold the Iceland Geothermal Conference, IGC2018, this month (April), and in 2020 Reykjavík has won the right to host the World Geothermal Congress, expecting up to 3,500 delegates.

Iceland is a major player in the The International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), with The Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNIS) participating in the SAON initiative (Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks) a joint project with IASC and the Arctic Council. A number of its universities incorporate Arctic studies, including the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies at the University of Iceland. The largest international gathering on the Arctic, The Arctic Circle Assembly is held every October at Harpa Conference Center and Concert Hall in Reykjavík.

Iceland is also a global frontrunner in equal rights, topping the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index for nine years in a row. It is the first country in the world to legally enforce equal pay, with any public or private body employing more than 25 people required to be independently certified as paying equal wages for work of equal value, or face fines.

Dagur B Eggertsson, the Mayor of Reykjavík, added: “We wish to develop the city as a higher education city and as a knowledge based community. An environment where enterprises are given excellent opportunities to grow and prosper. One can say, therefore, that many objectives coalesce in the agreement that has now been signed.”


(Featured image: The rectors of the three universities, Jón Atli Benediktsson from HÍ, Ari Kristinn Jónsson from HR and Fríða Björk Ingvarsdóttir from LHÍ, signed the agreement together with Þorsteinn Örn Gunnarsson, the Managing Director of Meet in Reykjavík and Dagur B Eggertsson, the Mayor of Reykjavík. Photo by Meet in Reykjavík)


(via AMI, Meet in Reykjavík)