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Iceland's ambassador to the U.S. to discuss global financial crisis during April 8 lecture at Whitworth

March 31, 2010

Hjálmar W. Hannesson, Iceland's ambassador to the U.S., will present, "Iceland in the Global Financial Crisis," on Thursday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University. It will be the fourth lecture in the 53rd annual Great Decisions Lecture Series at Whitworth. The series features five speakers who focus on current political, cultural and economic subjects of interest to the international community. The public is invited to attend the lectures free of charge.

Hannesson and his sub-polar country are well acquainted with the global financial meltdown. Icelandic banks were hit hardest by the global financial crisis: All of the major banks collapsed within the span of a week as a result of speculative loans in the United Kingdom and the U.S. The collapse caused significant economic retrenchment and political turmoil and posed considerable challenges for Iceland's government and society.

"Iceland, a globally-connected economy, is in many ways the worst-case scenario for a banking crisis," says Patrick Van Inwegen, associate professor of political science at Whitworth. "Ambassador Hannesson will talk about the global financial crisis from the perspective of an economy rocked by the decisions of foreign investors, giving the audience rare access to the thoughts of the leaders of that country."

Hannesson has previously served in a variety of diplomatic posts, including vice president of the United Nations General Assembly, ambassador to China, Canada and Germany, and a number of U.N. and NATO positions.

In addition to the April 8 lecture, the final Great Decisions lecture will take place on April 22. For information on upcoming lectures, please call (509) 777-3270. Great Decisions 2010 is sponsored by the Whitworth Political Science Department.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Barbara Brodrick, academic program assistant, political science department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3270 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or