RNH Academic Director, Professor Hannes H. Gissurarson, gave a lecture 19 March 2016 at a conference at Akureyri University on international affairs. According to him, foreign powers only took interest in Iceland for a brief period of history, while it was true that their fishing vessels had for centuries been operating in the fertile Icelandic waters and had been reluctant to leave when Iceland extended her fisheries limits. Iceland had for a while been strategically important as a consequence of new technology in warfare, submarines, airplanes and weather forecasts, both in the Second World War and in the Cold War. This had changed after the collapse of communism. It had become apparent in the 2008 international financial crisis that the Anglo-Saxon powers had lost interest in Iceland. Nevertheless, Iceland’s place was in the North Atlantic and her natural allies remained Norway, the United Kingdom, Canada and the US.
The many speakers at the conference included Dr. Gudni Th. Johannesson, Associate Professor of History, on relations between Iceland and the US in 1976–91, Professor Eirikur Bergmann on the Icesave Dispute between Iceland and the UK, and Bjorn Bjarnason, former Minister of Justice, on the pursuit of a new balance of powers in Northern Europe. Gissurarson’s participation in the conference formed a part of the joint project of RNH and AECR, the European Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists, on “Europe, Iceland, and the Future of Capitalism”.