Our new Ambassador, Þórður Ægir Óskarsson, arrived in Ottawa at the beginning of February, and one of his first engagements with our Icelandic Canadian community was his attendance at the Friends of Iceland Þorrablót, at which he was warmly welcomed.
After an early career including journalism, working with NATO and in the Foreign Ministry, he was promoted to Ambassador in 1999, and became Permanent Representative of Iceland to the OSCE, UNOV, IAEA and CTBTO.
Since then, he has filled the Ambassador post in Austria, while also being accredited as Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Slovakia, and in Japan, as well as being Special Representative to the Palestinian Authority and most recently Director for Defence and Security Affairs in the Foreign Ministry.
He is married to Mrs. Sigurbörg Oddsdóttir and has two daughters. She will be joining him shortly when her obligations have been met in Iceland; his daughters are in University elsewhere.
I met with Þórður briefly while in Iceland for Christmas and was impressed with his easy manner and great interest in all things Icelandic in North America. He has been researching the settlement period and our current position in the Canadian mosaic and looks forward to travelling across the country and getting to know us all. Having already attended Ottawa’s Þorrablót, he is planning to be in Toronto for April 14, as well as attending the INL of NA Convention in Brandon, Manitoba the first weekend in May.
One of his interests is music, especially collecting vinyl records, so we hope to see many more Icelandic musicians travel to Canada in the near future.
We welcome him to Canada and look forward to many pleasurable opportunities to introduce him to our great country.
Ambassador hosts FOI AGM
The FOI – Ottawa Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday, February 26, 2012, in the residence of Ambassador Þórður Ægir Óskarsson in Ottawa. In his welcoming remarks, the new Ambassador noted that the Friends of Iceland had a long historical connection to the Ambassador’s residence and that he looked forward to a continuation of this relationship – “This is your home too.” He noted that in the short time he had been in Canada, he found that he did not like snow but was warming up to hockey. He extended greetings from his wife who will join him in the spring. For the benefit of the group, he outlined his career which started as a son of a fisherman from Akranes. He closed by inviting the group to a reception after the meeting, noting that in the absence of his wife, it would not include pönnukökur.
Thirty-four members of the FOI attended the AGM. The Ambassador’s dining room table was laden with delicious finger food, along with some very nice wine. The AGM provided an excellent vehicle for Ambassador Óskarsson to welcome the members of the FOI to his official residence and “meet and greet” a number of members he had not met previously.