On 31 May and 1 June, Her Excellency Jeannette Menzies, Canadian Ambassador to Iceland, visited Arctic institutions and research facilities in Akureyri and Norðurland eystra. The visit was organized by the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network (IACN) with the scope of introducing the Ambassador to experts on Arctic issues and Renewable Energy and Innovation, local business and activities located and working in the region.
Jeanette Menzies was appointed Ambassador to Iceland in November 2020, replacing Ambassador Anne-Tamara Lorre. Ambassador Menzies served in various roles, with special emphasis on Arctic affairs and including: senior adviser to the assistant deputy minister of Consular Affairs and Emergency Management, deputy director of Circumpolar Affairs and deputy director of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Response, head of the Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region in Oslo during Canada’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, director at Polar Knowledge Canada, and senior adviser in the Nordic and Polar Relations Division (read more here).
During her visit, Ambassador Menzies visited Kárhóll, about 60 km East of Akureyri, where the China-Iceland Joint Aurora Observatory (CIAO) is located; she met with the staff of the University of Akureyri, including Eyjólfur Guðmundsson, Rector of the University of Akureyri, and Rúnar Gunnarsson, International Coordinator, who presented the University and its campus, focusing on some of the areas of specialization and research, namely health and Well-Being, Fisheries and the Polar Law Programme. Several Arctic institutions are based in Akureyri, and Ambassador Menzies met and discussed with representatives of the International Arctic Science Committee, Northern Research Forum, the Tourism Research Centre, the Polar Law Institute, and the Rif Research Station, the Arctic Council Working Groups CAFF, PAME and the Stefansson Arctic Institute. The visit continued with a meeting with Ásthildur Sturludóttir, Mayor of Akureyri and member of the Arctic Mayor forum, with key Renewable Energy and Innovation organization such as Vistorka and Eimur, and the regional development agency SSNE. A trip was also organised to Hjalteyri, a small and very active community about 20 km North of Akureyri, where the Ambassador visited the Strýtan Diving Centre and the resident artist Artist Lene Zachariassen.
In her meeting with the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network the Ambassador discussed further strengthening of cooperation between Iceland and Canada, including through building on a previous letter of understanding between the Canadian High Arctic Research Station and the IACN. Further, Embla Eir Oddsdóttir, Director of IACN and lead of Gender Equality in the Arctic (GEA) project, and Hjalti Omar Águstsson, GEA project Manager, voiced their appreciation to Canada for Canada´s extensive and continued contributions to and support for the GEA Project and its recently published Pan-Arctic Report on Gender Equality in the Arctic.