I collected my tools for my day of interviews- a ZOOM recorder, my Iceland Bible containing my interview notes and sources’ contact info, a map of Reykjavík and my pen and paper- and set off to meet Sigrún Brynja Einarsdóttir, who is the General Director at the Department of Trade and Tourism at the Ministry of Industries and Innovation. Although she’s clearly a busy and important person, she was very sweet and took the time to explain some aspects of general Icelandic trademark law as it relates to my During story, which is on trademark disputes in Iceland.
I rushed over to Harpa my second interview with Margrét Hjálmarsdóttir, the Legal Director of the Icelandic Patent Office. We had a delicious lunch of carrot soup and baked bread over an informative conversation about trademark law as well. Hjálmarsdóttir has an interesting story in that she started her undergraduate degree when she was 30 and completed it with a law degree five years later. She started as a secretary in the Icelandic Patent Office and worked her way up to Legal Director. Although she wasn’t able to speak on the current Iceland vs. Iceland Foods case for privacy reasons, she was able to tell me about past trademark issues.
Since lunch took longer than expected, Hjálmarsdóttir kindly drove me over to my next interview with Thoranna Jonsdottir, a marketing coach and business consultant who is a source for my Final story on Iceland’s economy. She lent a really interesting perspective on what it was like for businesses and entrepreneurs when Iceland’s banks failed in 2008, and we discussed Iceland’s relationship with the European Union.
I headed to the University of Iceland for my next interview with Ásgeir Jónsson, a Senior Lecturer in the Economics department at the University of Iceland. He is also a source for my Final story. We could have talked for hours about Iceland’s economy, but Jónsson did an excellent job answering my questions in about 15 minutes. He commented on the uniqueness of Iceland’s economic independence here:
He directed me to his book, titled Why Iceland?, for further information, so I went to the University of Iceland’s bookstore and picked up a copy.
My last interview of the day was with Eyjólfur Guðmundsson, who is the Rector at University of Akureyri. He has a PhD in Economics and has had a unique career merging computer science and Economics. We also could have talked for hours on all things Economics, but we talked specifically about the concept of controlling an economy as opposed to controlling a currency.
I finished my interviews around 5:20 p.m. and went back to the hotel to chill for a bit until the group met for dinner at Tapas Barinn at 7:00 p.m. Dinner was an incredible eight-course meal of puffin, arctic char, lamb kebobs, white fish, lobster, whale and a passion fruit sorbet. We definitely got a taste of Iceland, and I think everyone at the table tried something they hadn’t before.
Overall, today was a success! I feel really good about all of my interviews and am overwhelmed by how nice all of my sources were. It is only day two, but I already feel very comfortable in this country.