Reykjavík Global Forum: Women Leaders


18.11.2019 - 20.11.2019


Reykjavík, Iceland (view on map)


The international conference “Reykjavík Global Forum: Women Leaders“ took place in November 2019. Women leaders from around the globe visited Iceland to participate in discussions and share ideas on how to further advance societal change. The women leaders attended a comprehensive programme, in addition to a number of side events, organized by local partners and institutes. The GEST contributed to two events related to the Reykjavík Global Forum: a formal session of Leader Talks in Harpa, as the Icelandic operational partner of Nordic Women Mediators in partnership with the and the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iceland, and at a side event organized by the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute, where Dr. Irma Erlingsdóttir, director of GEST, participated in a panel on “Women, Leadership and the Sustainability of Languages and Cultures”.

Five women debating

Dr. Irma Erlingsdóttir, director of GEST during the panel discussion


The Leaders Talks session in Harpa took place on Tuesday morning and was titled “The Women, Peace and Security agenda - a platform for transformative change”, and focused on the UN Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). Almost 20 years after its adoption, women continue to be excluded from formal peace processes and continue to face inequality and violence. The session explored the mobilisation and strategic action to create change and sustain transformative WPS gains. The session was moderated by Kristín A. Árnadóttir, ambassador special envoy for gender equality of Iceland and consisted of two sets of dialogues, an introduction to the Nordic Women Mediators and concluding remarks. The first dialogue addressed how the WPS agenda as a platform can be used for transformative change towards social justice and equality.Ms. Atifete Jahjaga, former President of the Republic of Kosovo, and Magnea Marinósdóttir, former Advisor on WPS to UN Women in Kosovo, discussed the topic. During the second dialogue Ms. Catherine Gotani Hara, the speaker of the Malawian parliament, and Ms. Tuula Haatainen, the deputy speaker of the Finnish parliament, discussed the role of parliamentarians as mediators in peace processes. Thirdly, Aud Lise Norheim, Ambassador of Norway to Iceland, introduced the Regional Women Mediators Network and the Global Alliance of Women Mediators and their mission. Lastly, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, a former presidential candidate of Nigeria, concluded the session by emphasising the importance of equality to sustain peace.


On Tuesday night, Dr. Irma Erlingsdóttir, the Director of GEST, participated in a side event, a panel discussion on Women, Leadership and the Sustainability of Languages and Cultures, hosted by the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute at Veröld, House of Vigdís at the University of Iceland. The panel was moderated by Ólöf Ragnarsdóttir, from the Icelandic National Broadcasting Services, and was made up of Ms. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland, Ms. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the Icelandic Prime Minister, Ms. Dalia Grybauskaitė, former President of Lithuania and Chair Emerita of the Council of Women World Leaders, and Ms. Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia. The panel discussion included endangered languages as well as the importance and power of languages, especially languages spoken by small populations.