The Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Foreign Languages Center was yesterday formally opened to the world.
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was President of Iceland from 1980 to 1996 and was the world’s first democratically elected female head of state. During that time, and ever since, Vigdís has been a strong ambassador of languages. She is passionate about the Icelandic language, but also about the role of foreign language learning in opening up whole new cultures.
The opening ceremony took place at Háskólabío cinema complex, before guests were invited to walk the short distance to Veröld, the building which houses the foreign languages center.
The center is on three floors and enjoys a subway connection under Suðurgata, allowing people to walk to the Háskólatorg university atrium without going outside.
Vigdís hopes that the new center will be popular with locals and tourists alike—with visitors enthusiastic to find out what the center holds on their own native languages.
The director of the center, Auður Hauksdóttir, says there are many opportunities ahead in language research, teaching and other areas: “We can now have cultural festivals and could, for example, introduce Greenland—our nearest neighbor which we know shamefully little about. We want also to have a lively operation here which will be open to all Icelanders, to tourists and also, not least, to youngsters.”
Vigdís is also in no doubt that the foreign languages center will help to protect Icelandic; as she anticipates excellent cooperation with the new Icelandic Language House, set to rise soon, right next door, RÚV reported.