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Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

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The fourth President of the Republic, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, was born on 15 April 1930. Vigdís was elected President on 29 June 1980, returned without opposition in 1984, in an election in 1988 and again without opposition in 1992. She stepped down in 1996.

Although the Icelandic presidency is largely a ceremonial position, Vigdís took an active role as environmental activist and fought for Icelandic language and culture, acting as a cultural ambassador in promoting the country. She emphasized the role of small nations and hosted a crucial summit between the US President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet leaders Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986. She had as her motto: 'Never let the women down' and worked specifically to promote girls' education. She was also aware of her role as a model for young women.

Since 1998, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir has been UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador for languages. She is also a member of the Fondation Chirac's honour committee, ever since the foundation was launched in 2008 by former French president Jacques Chirac in order to promote world peace.


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