Conference 2019

Sidmennt – the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association

What are the Ethical Questions of the 21st Century?


June 1. 2019


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Conference program

  • 08:30 Registration
  • 09:30 - 09:45 Opening address

    Opening address by the president of Sidmennt.

  • 09:45 - 11:05 1st session - Environment

    Sián Berry, Guðbjörg R. Jóhannesdóttir, Rannveig Magnúsdóttir

  • 11:05 - 11:30 Intermission
  • 11:30 - 12:50 2nd session - Refugees

    Þórunn Ólafsdóttir, Henrik Nordentoft, Gita Sahgal

  • 12:50 - 13:50 Lunch break
  • 13:50-15:00 3rd session – Economic injustice

    Guðmundur Ævar Oddsson, Eyja Margrét Brynjarsdóttir, Polly Toynbee

  • 15:00-15:30 Coffee break
  • 15:30-16:50 4th session – Democracy

    Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Torbjörn Tännsjö, Brian Klaas

  • 16:50-17:00 Conference summary and conclusion
  • 20:00-22:30 Gala dinner – Restaurant Reykjavík


Brian Klass

Dr. Brian Klaas is an Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Global Politics at University College London and a columnist for The Washington Post. Klaas is also a frequent television commentator and political consultant. He was previously based at the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford.


Eyja Margrét Brynjarsdóttir

Eyja Margrét Brynjarsdóttir is an adjunct lecturer of philosophy at the School of Education at the University of Iceland. She got a PhD in philosophy from Cornell University in 2007 and works on various topics having to do with the application of philosophy to the social world, such as in social metaphysics, social epistemology, and feminist philosophy. Most recently, she has been working on matters pertaining to economic inequality, delusions concerning meritocracy, epistemic injustice, epistemic and emotional manipulation, and various issues concerning the #MeToo movement. Her book The Reality of Money: The Metaphysics of Financial Value was published by Rowman and Littlefield International in the fall of 2018.

Gita Sahgal

Gita Sahgal, born 1956/1957 (age 61–62) in Bombay, India,[2][3] is a writer and journalist on issues of feminism, fundamentalism, and racism, a documentary films director, and a women’s rights and human rights activist.

She has been a co-founder and active member of women’s organisations. She has also been head of Amnesty International’s Gender Unit, and has opposed the oppression of women in particular by religious fundamentalists.

Guðbjörg R. Jóhannesdóttir

Guðbjörg is an associate professor both in the Department of Design and Architecture and the Department of Arts Education at the IAA as well as being a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Iceland’s Institute for Philosophy. Environmental philosophy has been at the center of her works from the start of her studies at the University of Iceland. She completed an MA in Values and the Environment at Lancaster University and PhD studies at the University of Iceland. Guðbjörg’s research interests include environmental aesthetics, environmental ethics, phenomenology, sensuous knowledge, embodiment, perception, landscape, interdisciplinary practices and participatory practices.

Guðmundur Ævar Oddsson

Guðmundur Oddsson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Akureyri, Iceland. Oddsson currently heads the university’s Police Science program. He received his PhD from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 2014 and was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northern Michigan from 2014 to 2017. His research focuses on social control, deviance, and class inequality, particularly the subjective dimensions of class. He has published in journals such as The Sociological Quarterly, Acta Sociologica, Sociological Focus, the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, and Berkeley Journal of Sociology.

Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir

Ms. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir (Iceland), has been Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights since 19 July 2017. Ms. Gísladóttir has 35 years of leadership experience working on human rights, democratic governance and the rule of law at the international, national and local levels. Before taking up the position of ODIHR Director, she served from 2014 as Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia at UN Women, and Country Representative to Turkey. From 2011 to 2014 she was Country Representative of UN Women to Afghanistan. From 2007 to 2009, Ms. Gísladóttir served as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. She was previously a Member of Parliament and Chairperson and Leader of the Social Democratic Alliance (2005 – 2009) and Mayor of the City of Reykjavik (1994 – 2003). In the early years of her political career, in 1982, she was one of the founders of the Women’s Party, laying the ground for Iceland’s remarkable progress in gender equality. Throughout her career, Ms. Gísladóttir has been involved in policy and development work in conflict and non-conflict countries, aimed at strengthening democratic institutions and human rights.

Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee, political and social commentator for The Guardian newspaper, is the BBC’s former Social Affairs Editor. Twice named Commentator of the Year, she is also a winner of the George Orwell prize. Her books include studies on manual work, inequality, the health service and the last Labour and Conservative governments. „Unjust Rewards – Ending the greed that is bankrupting Britain“ was written with David Walker. Their latest book is Dismembered – How the attack on the state harms us all.

Rannveig Magnúsdóttir

Rannveig has a Ph.D. in mammal ecology from the University of Iceland in collaboration with the University of Oxford in the UK. She also has an M.Sc. in the same subject from the University of Iceland in collaboration with Deakin University in Australia. She also studied filmmaking at the Icelandic Film School. Rannveig has extensive work experience and has for instance carried out research on seabirds, mink and Australian carnivorous marsupials. She was on the board for the journal Náttúrufræðingurinn from 2012-2016 and has been an environmental radio columnist for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service since 2016. She has worked as a specialist at Landvernd since 2013 and in 2018 she had a talk about plastics at the TEDxReykjavík conference.

Sian Berry

Sian Berry has lived in London since 1997 and has worked as a medical copywriter, PA, website manager, project manager for a digital start-up, author and transport campaigner before being elected to the London Assembly in 2016.

She has been a local councillor in the Highgate ward of Camden since 2014. She was one of the Green Party’s Principal Speakers from 2006 to 2007, stood as candidate for London Mayor in 2008 and 2016 and is currently party Co-leader with Jonathan Bartley.

In 2003 Sian co-founded the Alliance against Urban 4×4s, was a driving force behind the Reheat Britain campaign that secured a boiler scrappage scheme in 2009 and worked for Campaign for Better Transport from 2011 to 2015. She is a patron of the British Humanist Association and is a trustee of her local nature reserve.

Torbjörn Tännsjö

Torbjorn Tannsjo is Kristian Claëson Emeritus Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University. He has published exstensively in moral philosophy, political philosophy and bioethics. His most recent books are Understanding Ethics (Edinburgh UP, third edition 2013), Taking Life. Three Theories on the Ethics of Killing (Oxford UP 2015) and Settingh Healt-Care Priorities. What Ethical Theories Tell Us (Oxford UP, forthcomning 2019).

Wilfried Buchhorn

Deputy Regional Representative for Northern Europe at UNHCR. Wilfried Buchhorn joined UNHCR in 1994. He has previous been Head of the UNHCR Liaison Officer to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and has supported the development of a Common European Asylum System and the coordination of UNHCR activities in response to the European refugee emergency.

Þórunn Ólafsdóttir

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