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The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future will present the first Atkinson Center Award for Global Leadership in Sustainable Development to five-term president of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. 

Ólafur Grímsson to Receive First ACSF Global Leadership Award

November 20, 2014

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The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future will present the first Atkinson Center Award for Global Leadership in Sustainable Development to five-term president of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Under Grímsson’s leadership, Iceland has transitioned to a renewable energy economy based on geothermal and hydro and become a global model for sustainable economic development and green industry. The Atkinson Center will honor Iceland’s world leadership and Grímsson’s personal commitment to charting a path to a sustainable future at a dinner and award ceremony on Friday, November 21, at Cornell’s Statler Hotel. (PDF Press Release)

Before the ceremony, Grímsson will give a public lecture, “Iceland’s Clean Energy Economy: A Roadmap to Sustainability and Good Business,” at 4:00 in Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall. Tickets are required. The lecture also will be live streamed on CornellCast.

Grímsson’s November 20–22 visit to Cornell is cosponsored by the Atkinson Center and the Einaudi Center, Cornell Energy Institute, and Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs. While in Ithaca, Grímsson will meet with Cornell researchers to discuss ongoing collaborations on geothermal research, tour the library’s Icelandic literature collection, and visit the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Icelandic horses.

Geothermal expert Jefferson Tester, director of the Cornell Energy Institute and former Atkinson Center faculty director of energy, has known Grímsson for a decade and collaborates with Icelandic geothermal researchers. Tester said Iceland offers an instructive example of “how we might transform our own energy systems here at Cornell and in New York as a model for the rest of the country.” Cornell’s Climate Action Plan includes a commitment to explore geothermal energy at Cornell as one of the university’s sustainable energy sources.

“The intent of this Atkinson Center award is to recognize and support true leadership in global sustainability,” said Frank DiSalvo, ACSF director. “Iceland’s people and president have managed in a single generation to move from a fossil-fuel economy to one powered by clean energy. This is the kind of leadership by example the world needs to move forward to a thriving, sustainable future.”