Kofi Annan, former general secretary of the United National and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is currently in Iceland to give a speech to commemorate the University of Iceland’s 100th anniversary. He was a guest at the presidential residence yesterday.
Bessastadir, the presidential residence. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
Annan appeared in a press conference with President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson yesterday where he discussed current affairs; the international economic crisis in particular, which he said had to be regarded as a social problem, Morgunbladid reports.
“The faith of the public is gone; people neither trust politicians nor economic leaders. People don’t feel that they are tackling the problems that concern them,” Annan said.
He added that he has monitored Iceland’s progress in dealing with the banking collapse and that other nations in a similar position can learn from Iceland’s experience.
When asked about Palestine’s struggle to be recognized as a sovereign state before the United Nations, Annan said it is important for the UN to back those efforts.
“The United Nations and especially the states that have a permanent seat on the Security Council have a legal and moral obligation to complete the work that began in 1988. We haven’t seen any progress in the past twenty years. The international community and the UN must assist in bringing that project to an end,” Annan stated.
Annan has visited Iceland on an earlier occasion and said he was pleased to have returned. “When I was invited to come celebrate the 100th anniversary of the university I couldn’t say no and made room in my schedule. Universities pay a big part in the future.”
In other news of the University of Iceland, it is now considered to be among the 300 best universities in the world, ranking 276th, according to Times Higher Education Supplement, which is one of the two most important analyzers in this field.
“It is in fact incredible that a society of 330,000 people has built up an institution of science and education that boasts such success,” commented the university’s rector Kristín Ingólfsdóttir, pointing out in a statement that the university’s funding is well below the OECD average.
Among the factors taken into consideration in the ranking are how many scientific references are made to projects conducted by the university’s scientists, which have increased by more than 100 percent in the past five years.
Click here to read more about Annan’s participation in the university’s symposium.
University of Iceland rector Kristín Ingólfsdóttir is among the interviewees in the current issue of the print edition of Iceland Review.