The President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, yesterday advised the ever-increasing group of Icelandic entrepreneurs who are now working and making money internationally to keep their feet on the ground and appreciate the society which fostered them and acknowledge their debt to it. Opening a lecture series devoted to the subject of útrás, the catch word for the increased activity of Icelanders abroad, the president maintained that the success of Icelandic businessmen abroad in recent years was not only based on their own qualities and drive, but also on the success of Icelandic artists and academics who work abroad. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
When asked if the unprecedented success of the businessmen was not dividing the nation into two tiers of rich and poor, the President replied that the country had always been this way. He cited examples from the 13th century and from the powerful and influential Thors family of the 20th century.
Grímsson is a former leader of the socialist People’s Alliance party in Iceland. Traditionally, the post of President in Iceland is largely ceremonial, however, and the President is not expected to take an active role in politics. (Compliled from Morgunblaðið and RÚV reports.)