PUBLISHED: 5:27 PM on Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Alaska, Iceland build circumpolar cooperation
ANCHORAGE - Lt. Governor Sean Parnell and Iceland President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson met Sept. 24 to discuss areas of common interest between Iceland and Alaska, including renewable energy and economic development.

In this, the 20th anniversary of opening borders between Alaska and Russia, both Alaska and Iceland note the value of building circumpolar cooperation on a host of Arctic issues to promote peace, safety, security, and sustainable development.

Through Grimsson, Iceland has invited Alaskans to Iceland to better understand the opportunity geothermal energy can play in Alaska's economy, with its great potential to reduce heating and fuel costs for Alaskans as well as to increase exports from the state.

Educational and research exchanges between Alaska and Iceland have the potential to improve understanding between both regions, and to build long-term economic ties, according to state officials. Toward those ends, Grimsson and Parnell discussed further development of the University of the Arctic, with the participation of universities in both Iceland and Alaska.