Iceland: STATE OF THE NATION

On February 16 in Reykjavik, Iceland, the Organization for Civic Action will host a debate on the state of the nation in the wake of the economic crisis and the collapse of the Icelandic banking system.

Keynote speakers are economist Haraldur L. Haraldsson, psychiatrist Andres Magnusson and Adalheidur Asmundsdottir, law student. The newly installed centre left government has been invited to partake in the subsequent panel discussion, as have the chairs of the opposition political parties. Based on the experience of past civic meetings, the government is likely to attend. After the keynote talks, questions for the panel will be taken from the audience.

The meeting will focus on the current situation and progress made since October, when what the Economist has described as “the biggest banking failure in history relative to the size of an economy” occurred in Iceland. People are concerned whether the response so far by the government has proven sufficient to meet the scale of the problems facing the country. As elections have been scheduled in the spring, and a new interim government is in power, this is a good time to pause, and reflect on where we are going and what the future looks like.

Organization for Civic Action is a community based voluntary organization that came into being with the intent of hosting civic meetings where those in power were held accountable for their actions, or lack thereof, and a forum was created wherein citizens could voice their concerns directly to their representatives, among others. These meetings have been ongoing since October 27th, and include a civic meeting on November 24th which the group hosted in Reykjavík’s largest theater and invited the government which, having declined to attend previous meetings, attended and took questions from an audience of two thousand people; the event was broadcast live on television and can be seen as a watershed moment in terms of civic responses to the present crisis.

We would highly appreciate and sincerely welcome the presence of the international media at the event on February 16, and we will do whatever we can to facilitate visits and assist those who arrive in Reykjavik. For further information about the event, us, travel arrangements, or the situation in Iceland more generally, please contact Gunnar Sigurðsson (gus@mmedia.is; 354-8977694). We will be happy to respond to any inquiries.

The event will take place in Haskolabio (University Theater), Hagatorg, 107 Reykjavik on February 16 at 20.00. See also our website: http://www.borgarafundur.org/

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