Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 327

327 Arctic Yearbook 2014 (~800 to ~1100), which is recorded in the Sagas. As a logical consequence of this close intellectual connection with Europe since its earliest settlement, the two late Viking age bishoprics of Iceland, first Skálholt in Southwest Iceland in the second half of the 1000s and subsequently Hólar in North Iceland in 1106, founded Latin Schools or grammar schools. The Skálholt school still exists today as the Reykjavik Grammar School (Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík, MR), which produced the first Kingdom of Denmark Nobel laureate, Niels Rybjerg Finsen (Medicine, 1903), and the literature Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness in 1955 (although he had left the school early). Since the Protestant reformation the school and church language of Iceland has been Icelandic. The Skálholt and Hólar schools supplied lower ranking clergy and equipped Icelanders to travel (especially) to Denmark for higher education throughout the centuries. This shows that Iceland has had a long history of strong domestic primary and secondary educational tradition in the national language, equipping Icelanders for going abroad to enjoy higher education. This “brain circulation” supplied a steady stream of Icelandic pastors for church leadership and education, jurists for administration and physicians for the nascent health service. It also maintained a vibrant Icelandic intellectual life in Copenhagen among Icelandic students and scholars, which would have profound impact on Icelandic political, social and intellectual development. In 1828 and 1832 these Icelandic intellectual circles would voice the first calls for building tertiary educational capacity in Iceland, in order to supply for the necessary highly skilled and locally relevant human capital in theology, philosophy, medicine, natural history, economics and commerce for local socio-economic development. These early voices called for adding higher education offerings to the secondary school offerings of the old Skálholt school (Jónsson 1961; Háskóli Islands 2014). It was a debate predicting much later debates throughout the Arctic about building higher education capacity in northern communities. The development of Icelandic higher education capacity is closely intertwined with state-building and independence politics. The Icelandic Althingi [Parliament] was reconstituted as a consultative assembly of the Danish King in 1845, and the School of Theology was created in Reykjavik in 1847 as a public administration capacity building initiative. In 1874, the Althingi gained legislative power over Icelandic affairs, and in 1876 the School of Medicine was created in Reykjavik to address recruitment problems and create locally relevant knowledge. In 1904, Iceland gained executive home rule, and in 1908 the School of Law was established in Reykjavik in light of the key role of building domestic law on the road to statehood. In 1911, the University of Iceland was founded, combining these schools and adding humanities with a clear purpose of supporting Icelandic state-building and independence aspirations. In 1918, Iceland gained sovereignty in a personal union with Denmark. In 1940, the University of Iceland inaugurated the main building of its future campus, which together with the neighboring National Museum from 1950 (the National Museum was founded in 1863 as a nation-building institution) are key architectural manifestations of statehood and the republic declared in 1944. The University of Iceland has since grown by leaps and bounds to an about 14,000 students-strong research university, which is supplemented by the University of Akureyri (1987) with the satellite campus University Centre of the West Fjords in Ísafjörður (2005), the private Reykjavik University (1998), Bifröst University (1988), Hólar University College (2003) and the Agricultural University of Iceland (1889/1947). These institutions have deep roots in older schools. What should The Challenges & Opportunities for Microstates in Developing an Energy Sector