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Arctic Circle
  • January 14, 2021

Estonia in the Arctic Council? What can it offer?

During this event, President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, discussed the application, what Estonia can offer the Arctic and answered questions from the global audience.

Estonia submitted an application for observer status in the Arctic Council on November 9th 2020.

President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid discussed the application, what Estonia can offer the Arctic and answered questions from the global audience.

Moderated by H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Chairman Arctic Circle, President of Iceland 1996-2016

Kersti Kaljulaid

President of Estonia

President Kaljulaid is a supporter of a non-restrictive legal space for the ongoing digitalization of economies and governments. She is an active promoter of sustainability and halting climate change. She advocates for publicly speaking up against violence and for giving a voice to those affected by it.

In 2016 Kersti Kaljulaid was elected President of the Republic of Estonia. Previously she served from 2004 to 2016 as a member of the European Court of Auditors. Kersti Kaljulaid was the CFO and CEO of the Iru Power Plant of the state-owned energy company Eesti Energia from 2002 to 2004. From 1999 to 2002, Kersti Kaljulaid was Prime Minister Mart Laar's Economic Advisor. She graduated from the University of Tartu in 1992 in the field of genetics in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and completed her master's studies in the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in 2001.

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

President of Iceland 1996-2016, Chairman of the Arctic Circle

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson served as President of Iceland for twenty years, 1996-2016; elected five times in nationwide elections. Previously, he was Minister of Finance, Member of Parliament, Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the first Professor of Political Science at the University of Iceland. He now serves as Chairman of the Arctic Circle, which he founded in 2013 with various Arctic partners. The Arctic Circle Assembly held in Iceland every October has become the largest annual international gathering on the Arctic, attended by more than 2000 participants from 60 countries. The Arctic Circle also organizes specialized Forums in other countries; so far, in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Before and after his presidency, President Grímsson has worked closely with members of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate as well as with many key members of governments in European countries. For decades, he has been an active participant in the global climate dialogue and during his Presidency and in recent years initiated and promoted clean energy projects in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the United States and the Americas; especially using Icelandic achievements and technologies as a model. Cooperation with Sinopec has led to the largest geothermal projects in the world, building clean energy urban heating systems in a multitude of Chinese cities. He was the Chairman of a commission established by IRENA on the new geopolitics emerging from global renewable energy transformation. Grímsson served on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Energy for All, created by the United Nations and the World Bank. In addition to devoting his post-presidential efforts to the three areas of climate, the Arctic and clean energy, Grímsson is also involved in international cooperation on the oceans and the evolution of sustainable use of marine resources.

President Grímsson has received many international awards, including the Nehru Award for International Understanding, presented to him by the President of India.

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