“As we say in Iceland: ‘jump into the deep pool’ and challenge yourself.”
— Ambassador Anna Jóhannsdóttir
“Don’t underestimate what you can bring to the table. The value of your perspectives based on your knowledge and your life experiences, that is the essence of the importance of diversity in the workplace.”
— Gudrun Þorbjörnsdottir
“You should contribute with all that comes with being a woman…. When you really step into your power, that’s when things start to happen.”
— Svana Adalstensdottir
Iceland has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since its foundation in 1949. Membership of the Alliance and the Defense Agreement with the United States of America has been the two main pillars of Iceland’s security policy. With the changing security environment and the transformation of NATO, the contribution of Iceland to the Alliance has undergone major change. While having no standing army, Iceland contributes to NATO operations with both financial contributions and civil personnel.
In its work within the Alliance, Iceland inter alia puts emphasis on NATO’s role in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, including nuclear issues; the common values of the Alliance, i.e. respect for democracy, rule of law and human rights; collective defense and the importance of solidarity, the transatlantic link and the indivisibility of security. Iceland also stresses the important role of NATO in implementing Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; the High North and supports the notion that the Alliance should continue to be open to all European Countries that share the values of the Alliance as well as fulfill its conditions for membership.
Follow all the action at @IcelandNATO.
Ambassador ANNA JÓHANNSDÓTTIR represents Iceland at NATO headquarters in Brussels. She has previously served as Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister of Iceland and to Iceland’s Ambassador to Palestine. She was Director of the EU Department at the Iceland Ministry for Foreign Affairs and has lead the Iceland Crisis Response Unit, deployment of personnel to NATO, UN, EU and Nordic missions, and coordinating Iceland’s international crisis and peace operations. The Ambassador was also Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of Iceland in Geneva where her main responsibilities were overseeing free trade negotiations and international trade agreements, as well as human rights and humanitarian issues within international organizations in Geneva. Prior to this, she was First Secretary, External Trade Department at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs where she was an advocate for Iceland to the EFTA Court in several cases. For the first chapter of her career, the Ambassador was an Attorney to the District Court, GAJ Law Firm Ltd. She holds a law degree from the University of Iceland (Candidatus juris, 1994), a masters degree in European Law from the University of Edinburgh (L.L.M. 2000), and a masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Iceland (2015).
GUðRÚN ÓSK ÞORBJöRNSDOTTIR is an Officer for NATO and Multilateral Affairs in the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division at NATO. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iceland in Political Science and Gender Studies, and a Masters in Human Security from Aarhus University in Denmark. Her previous work includes integrating gender perspectives into military planning and operations as a member of the Office of the Gender Advisor in the International Military Staff at NATO, as well as supporting projects to enhance gender equality and women‘s empowerment for UN Women.
SVANA ADALSTENSDOTTIR has worked for the Icelandic Foreign Service since 1998. From 2015-2016 she served as a VNC working for the Special representative for Women Peace and Security at NATO and is head of Consular services at the MFA in Reykjavik. She is married to a scientist and Entrepreneur Julius B. Kristinsson and they have 4 four grown children and two grandchildren.