On September 6th, IPI hosted a luncheon at the InterContinental Hotel in honor of H.E. Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, who spoke on “The Challenges and Opportunities for Small States: Economic Development, Climate Change, and New Security Issues.” IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen moderated a discussion period following the talk.
In his speech, President Grímsson noted that globalization and the changing international system present great opportunities for the flourishing of small states and for their increased participation in international affairs. Never before have small states “enjoyed such potential for prosperity and progress,” he said. In return, small states are now in the unprecedented position of being able to play key roles in the formulation of global responses to today’s most urgent problems, including climate change and the “new security issues.” President Grímsson concluded, “the future of the United Nations and the search for solutions to many of the most pressing problems of the twenty-first century could be strongly influenced by active and wide-ranging cooperation among the small states which now account for more than a quarter of the entire UN membership.”