Iceland Learning Journey
23 - 27 May 2018
an initiative by Willem Vreeswijk & Ivo Valkenburg (New Financial Forum)
Iceland …The land of old sagas, fearless Vikings, beautiful nature, and the oldest parliament in the world. A country with only 330,000 inhabitants. A close community of hard workers and creative entrepreneurs, of down-to-earth people who believe in elves and trolls. A country with equal opportunities for everyone, and where men and women in similar positions earn the same. The land of geysers, glaciers, and the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano which halted that grounded Europe’s air traffic in 2010 and created an unprecedented tourist flow towards Iceland. Iceland is also mentioned in the same breath with the financial crisis that devastated the country. The debts of banks were so astronomically high that there was nothing to save, and almost all banks had to go bankrupt. The inhabitants had to bite the bullet, bankers were actually tried, and the result had not been foreseen. The rigorous measures worked better than anyone would have dared to hope. The crisis was overcome on by Iceland itself. Since then, Iceland is seen as an economic world wonder. During this Learning Journey, we will search for the secret of the recovery from the crisis. But we also look deeper. Because the economic crisis may have been overcome, confidence in the financial sector and in one another has not returned. What lessons can we learn from Iceland? Which successful citizens' initiatives have arisen from the ruins of the crisis? How is a new democracy being built? Which mirror has been presented to us and what can we take home from it? We meet the movers & shakers of Iceland, such as: Halla Tómasdóttir (founder Audur Capital, a bank based on female values which was the only one to survive the crisis), Birgitta Jonsdóttir (former leader of the Pirate Party, a key figure in the regeneration of Iceland), Robert Bjarnason (CEO Citizens Foundation, initiator of dozens of democratization processes worldwide), Katrín Oddsdóttir, a lawyer, activist and human rights worker. She was member of Iceland’s 2011 Constitutional Council, together with 24 other citizens of Iceland that drafted the new Icelandic Constitution, an occurrence highly unprecedented in modern European politics, Smári McCarthy, an Icelandic/Irish politician, innovator and information activist. He is known for his work relating to direct democracy, transparency, and privacy and Jón Ágúst Gudjónsson (successful ICT entrepreneur and naturalist Iceland). After the successful experience trip to innovative Greece in 2015, this is the second learning journey organized by Willem Vreeswijk (New Financial Forum) and Ivo Valkenburg (Love Made Visible).