Author's Note: I promise, this will be my last post on Iceland. I know it's been over a month ago - I'm just slow getting to posts I plan to write...
One of the reasons that the entrepreneurship conference was held in Iceland is that Iceland heavily subsidized the costs. Why was Iceland so interested in getting our conference to come there? It turns out that actually, Iceland went bankrupt in 2008. The economy was built on banking, and all three of the country's major banks collapsed.
To rebuild the economy, the Icelandic people and government have decided to rely on innovation - entrepreneurship from the grassroots up. Sustainable, robust growth comes from adding value, and great minds with great ideas are the ingredients you need.
So hosting this conference was part of this plan to restructure and rise up from the crisis. Toward this end, the President of Iceland invited the organizers of the conference to a reception with him at his official residence.
I got to meet the President of Iceland at his HOUSE. I was honored.
We drove up, and there was no security - no guards, or fences, or show of military force. The Icelandic people in general I found were very eager to be open and friendly (especially to tourists, I imagine - given that they are bankrupt!). The house looked like this:
It was situated on a beautiful landscape - snow capped mountains, a river, grassy plains, and lava fields. We were led through the reception area, the Presidential office, and to a waiting room with pictures of officials and important events. Then the door opened on the far end of the room, and we each greeted the President with a handshake.
He was very gracious, and said "Welcome, Miss Outlier." I was tongue tied and said something unintellgible in response. I happened to be standing closest to the door, so I was the first one to shake his hand, so I hadn't gotten my wits straight. I meant to say "Thank you" or "Pleased to meet you, Mr. President" but I got all twisted and I'm afraid what came out was something like "Thank welcome, Mr. President Sir."
In case you wondered, Miss Outlier has never met a head of state before.
Figure: Miss Outlier is on the left, the only person over 30 is President Grimsson
I will be more prepared next time. Hopefully I will meet more important people in my lifetime so I can practice this receiving line business...
This is a picture taken while we were sightseeing on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. The scenic road goes around the glacier where the Snaefellsjokull volcano is. That volcano is not the erupting one - it's the famous one that Jules Verne chose as his doorway into inner earth in the book Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Figure: Yes, it was windy.