Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir’s inauguration as president of Iceland, reports Icelandic State Radio, RÚV. Her appointment received worldwide attention as the world’s first female president.
In the 1981 election, Vigdís, one of four candidates, received one third of the vote. RÚV recounts that she was a single mother when she took office and from press conferences at that time it is evident that not everyone found a single mother worthy of residing at Bessastadir, the official presidential resident, representing the country and welcoming dignitaries.
RÚV reports that this opinion was not long lived, as Vigdís soon became an immensely popular president. She was reelected without a ballot in 1984, elected 1988, again elected without a ballot in 1992 and stepped down in 1996. As president she traveled the world, meeting with national leaders, promoting Iceland wherever she went. According to her official C.V. during her years as president of Iceland she “devoted herself to the identity and integrity of the nation; its language, its individual and distinctive culture and its youth”.
She turned 75 this year and is still an active spokesperson for human rights. In 2001, the Vigdis Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages was established at the University of Iceland.