The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies is an independent academic research institute within the University of Iceland answering directly to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.⁷ It conducts research on Icelandic Studies and related scholarly topics, especially in the field of Icelandic language and literature, disseminates knowledge in these fields, and preserves and augments the collections within its care. The institute is composed of five divisions, International Outreach, Manuscript Studies, Language Planning, Place Names and Name Studies, Word Studies and Lexicography. Its policy is guided by four ideas: open access, collaboration, research and innovation, and joined effort, which refers to the collaboration of the institute's five divisions. A new house, Hús íslenskra fræda – House of Icelandic Studies, will be built in the near future to house the institute, bringing all its operations finally under one roof, so public educational activities and research can be in one place. The University's Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies will also be housed in the new building. Among the numerous projects that the institute has a hand in is Icelandic courses for foreigners, and organizing an international summer school in manuscript studies. The manuscript school is operated in collaboration with the Arnamagnaean Institute in Copenhagen, the National and University Library of Iceland, and the universities in Zürich in Switzerland, Tübingen in Germany, and Cambridge in England. Icelandic is now taught at about forty universities all over the world, such as the University of Zagreb in Croatia, Charles University in Prague and Waseda University in Japan. The Icelandic State financially supports seventeen of these programs. The institute also offers summer courses in Icelandic at the University of Iceland for pupils from the other Nordic countries, in addition to international summer courses in Icelandic in collaboration with the University's School of Humanities. These courses have now been taught for twenty-three years. Last summer twenty-eight people from twelve countries participated in the course. Icelandic Online I and II are self-instruction courses and the website receives around 600 hits every day (statistics from 2009) from all over the world. The Árni Magnússon Institute's scholars take part in various international collaborations. They collaborate on research with overseas colleagues, in addition to lecturing at universities abroad. The institute is one of the pillars of Icelandic studies in the world and as such attracts foreign scholars and therefore is a very international research
“Language is the tool by which we define ourselves” as a wise saying has it. From the settlement of Iceland in the ninth century the nation's love of storytelling - our treasured Sagas and poetry have conveyed a clear expression of our sense of self and our place in the world. The art of the word is therefore the oldest of arts in Iceland and a strong basis for a vibrant modern culture. It is with great pleasure that I declare my support for Reykjavík's application to become a UNESCO City of Literature and look towards a meaningful collaboration between the City of Literature and The Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages. I firmly believe that Reykjavík as a City of Literature, dedicated to cultural exchange and the dissemination of ideas between different creative cities, can both inspire and communicate valuable lessons. This is not least drawn from the fact that knowledge of foreign languages for a sparsely-populated nation, with its own unique language and culture, is an absolute necessity. Such knowledge is the key to a greater understanding and a broader vision of a world in which everything and everyone is becoming increasingly interrelated. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Languages.
society. In 2009, over 60 foreign guests used the institute's available research facilities for shorter or longer periods of time, and foreign students worked on research and were instructed by the institute's staff. The institute keeps information on scholars working within the field of Icelandic studies and stores it in a databank that is available online. In addition to this, the institute keeps a list of translators working from Icelandic into other languages. It also supervises Icelandic courses at foreign universities and keeps tabs on collaborations between Icelandic scholars and these universities, and this information is also available on the institute's website. Furthermore, the institute administers the Snorri Sturluson Fellowships, which are granted to foreign writers, translators and scholars in the field of Icelandic literature to enable them to stay in Iceland for a period of at least three months, in order to improve their knowledge of the Icelandic language, culture and society.
UNESCO City of Literature
Published on Jul 23, 2012