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Language is the starting point for everything

 Photo with permission ©: Kristinn Ingvarsson

 

Remarks by Her Excellency Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland, on the occasion of the opening of Veröld – Hús Vigdísar and the inauguration of the Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding on April 20, 2017.
Our distinguished President and First Lady Eliza,
In this moment of celebration, foremost in my mind is a sense of gratitude toward those who have made Veröld, a shrine to languages in Iceland, a reality.
Language is the starting point for everything. Nothing can happen until we put our thoughts into words – in one of the six thousand languages that exist on the planet. Just as for the people of the world, some of these languages face harsher struggles than others – too many are fighting for survival – and the death of a language is a cultural loss to the detriment of all mankind and all nations.
In a steel pipe that was bricked into the western wall and laid as a cornerstone to Veröld on 19 June 2016, the following text is preserved:
“Language is the mark of mankind.  . . .

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David Arnason: a lifetime of literary achievement

Photo: Leif Norman / Courtesy of the Manitoba Writer's Guild

Author: Di Brandt, Winnipeg, MB

What a great honour it is to present the Manitoba Book Awards Lifetime Achievement Award to David Arnason, the man who, above all others, has led and nurtured and fed the creation of a home-grown Manitoba literature right here in Winnipeg, over the past half century, that began with a small handful of local wannabes in the 1970s and grew under his benevolent watch, in the space of a few short decades, to become a world class oeuvre, renowned and celebrated the world over: the grand and lovely collective achievement we are lucky to be part of and celebrating here once again today.  
David Arnason made this extraordinary literary blossoming possible with his own gorgeous, larger-than-life blend of excellence, humour, wit, appreciation, generosity, entrepreneurial foresight, hard work, kind mentorship, and canny ability to recognize the possibilities of the “not yet,” and how to bring them into being in his own writing, and thinking, and the creative writing of our province and country generally.
David Arnason’s literary achievements make up a formidable, star-studded CV.  . . .

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Icelanders search for their roots in Minneota

Photo: Byron Higgin

Author: Byron Higgin
Reprinted with permission from The Minneota Mascot

The big blue bus pulled directly in front of the Minneota Mascot – looking to all the world like a group of movie stars had arrived to shoot a film on the plains of Minnesota. Or, was it a rock n’ roll band looking for a stage for their next concert?
Suddenly the familiar face of Cathy Josephson, a Minneota native, appeared in front of the Mascot window, smiling and pointing to those who began unloading – all craning their necks in various directions, much like sight-seers hoping to take it all in. Oh yes ... these folks were Icelanders returning to their roots in one of the small Icelandic hamlets that cropped up at the end of the 1800’s.
“I’m Almar Grímsson, tour leader,” a gentleman proclaimed. “We’re on a pilgrimage to discover our roots in Minnesota,” he said. No movie stars. No rock band, but certainly more impressive because Minneota was their main concern at the moment.
“They want to heard about the 1870 Icelandic settlement here,” said Josephson, who organized the visit.  . . .

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