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Vigdís Finnbogadóttir


The fourth President of the Republic, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, was born on 15 April 1930.

Vigdís was elected President on 29 June 1980, returned without opposition in 1984, in an election in 1988 and again without opposition in 1992. She stepped down in 1996.

Vigdís matriculated in 1949 and pursued studies in French and French Literature from 1949 to 1953 in Grenoble and in Paris at the Sorbonne and studies in the history of the theatre at the University of Copenhagen in 1957-1958. She took a BA degree in French at the University of Iceland and a teaching diploma in 1968.

Honorary doctorates have been conferred on her by the following universities: Grenoble (1985), Bordeaux (1987), Smith College, USA (1988), Luther College, USA (1989), Manitoba (1989), Nottingham (1990), Tampere (1990), Gothenburg (1990), Gashuin, Tokyo (1991), Miami (1993), St. Mary´s University, Halifax (1996), Leeds (1996), Memorial University, St John, Newfoundland (1997), Guelph, Canada (1998) and the University of Iceland (2000).

Vigdís was press officer of the National Theatre of Iceland 1954-1957 and 1961-1964, a tourist guide during the summers for many years and a teacher at the Reykjavík Grammar School 1962-1967 and the Hamrahlíð Grammar School 1967-1972. She taught for a time at the University of Iceland and was Director of the Reykjavík Theatre from 1972 to 1980. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the first woman in the world to be elected President in a national election.