Guðni Th. Jóhannesson is the current President of Iceland, a NATO member country. Having assumed the office on 1 August 2016, he has been busy in improving his approval rating to an all-time high. Previously, Jóhannesson was an Icelandic history docent at the University of Iceland.
Early Life and Education
Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was born on 26 June 1968 in the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik. His father was a sports instructor and his mother was a teacher. Jóhannesson grew up with his brother, who is a former handball player.
Jóhannesson and his brother went to Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík for high school and joined the University of Warwick for undergraduate degrees in history and political science. Jóhannesson also attended the University of Iceland for a Master’s degree in history and the University of London for a Ph.D. in history. Jóhannesson also went to the University of Oxford for Master of Studies in 1999.
Jóhannesson is married to Eliza Jean Reid since 2004. The couple has four children.
Although raised under Catholicism, Jóhannesson never believed in religion. However, he does have a credo: Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Jóhannesson started his academic career as a lecturer. By now, he has already been to three prominent universities, University of Iceland, Bifrost University and the University of London, teaching history to undergraduate and post-graduate students. Jóhannesson also writes research papers on Icelandic history and has published numerous works so far. Some of his books in the Icelandic language are as below:
- Kári í jötunmóð. Saga Íslenskrar erfðagreiningar og Kára Stefánssonar, 1999
- Labyrinth of power. Management formations, of the government and the post of President of Iceland in office Kristján Eldjárn 1968–1980, 2005
- Enemies of the state. Threats and internal security in the Cold War in Iceland, 2006
- Troubled Waters: Cod War, Fishing Disputes, and Britain’s Fight for the Freedom of the High Seas, 1948-1964, 2007
- Collapse. Iceland on the brink of bankruptcy and disintegration, 2009
- Gunnar Thoroddsen. life story, 2010
- The History of Iceland, 2013
Besides researching and teaching history, Jóhannesson has also risen as a significant politician since he announced his presidential candidacy on 5 May 2016. He always remained well above other contenders in terms of opinion polls and even won the final day elections with 39.1% votes in favor. This plurality gave Jóhannesson his place at Bessastaðir, the official residence of Icelandic President.
Just 48 years old, Jóhannesson is the youngest President of Iceland – and perhaps the one with record-breaking approval ratings. When he took the office, the ratings hovered around 68%. Now, the ratings have gone up to 97%. So far, as a President, Jóhannesson has formed a coalition government and has made preliminary efforts to strengthen Icelandic economy and its foreign ties.
Trump and Jóhannesson
Icelandic President Jóhannesson and his counterpart President Donald Trump are two prominent NATO member leaders. Hence, it’s important that they agree on issues, mainly on the military. However, looking at Trump’s acts, it doesn’t seem he is happy with NATO’s performance and budget share other countries bear for their protection.
On one hand, President Jóhannesson is Iceland’s favorite, but, on the other hand, President Trump is not everyone’s champion. His presidency has arguably turned the United States of America into the ‘Divided States of America’.