Magnusson Fellows focus on social finance and ageing societies

02 October 2014

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, Professor Eva Haller and Dr Sally Magnusson were joined by leading experts at the 2014 Magnusson Fellowship event

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, Professor Eva Haller and Dr Sally Magnusson were joined by leading experts at the 2014 Magnusson Fellowship event

The 2014 Magnusson Fellowship event has taken place in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The Magnusson Fellowship was founded in honour of GCU’s late Chancellor Magnus Magnusson. It provides a forum to bring together leading international experts from different disciplines and backgrounds to discuss pressing problems in society and to agree social action solutions.

The 2014 Magnusson Fellowship discussion concentrated on two main themes - the use of different models of social finance such as social impact bonds, and the policy approaches needed to deal with ageing societies.

The 2014 meeting was attended by Magnusson Fellows Dr Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland; Professor Eva Haller, GCU Visiting Professor and social activist, (who was accompanied by GCU honorary graduate Dr Yoel Haller); Professor William Storrar, Director of the Centre for Theological Enquiry at Princeton University; Dr Sally Magnusson, GCU honorary graduate and Honorary President of the Magnusson Scholarship Foundation Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University.

The Fellows were joined in their discussions by Icelandic experts including: Steinþór Pálsson, CEO of Landsbankinn, Iceland’s largest bank; Jon Snaedal, Associate Professor in Geriatric Medicine at Landspitali University Hospital and former President of the World Medical Association; Professor Magnus Karl Magnusson, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland and Professor of Pharmacology; Rannveig Guðnadóttir, nurse and a coordinator for the Eden Alternative in Iceland; Arni Sverrisson, Chairman of the Alzheimer Association of Iceland.

The programme included a public lecture by Dr Sally Magnusson and a presentation delivered by GCU Professor Cam Donaldson, Director of the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health. The wider programme of activity included a guided tour of the ‘Are you Ready Madame President’ Exhibition, which focuses on the challenges of being the first elected female President in the world and on the importance of fashion during the presidency of Dr Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.

The Magnusson Fellows were also the guests of the University of Iceland, at an official dinner hosted by Dr Kristín Ingólfsdóttir, at Harpa Conference Centre in Reykjavik.

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE said: “This latest meeting of the Magnusson Fellows was an outstanding success and we are hugely grateful for the generosity and energy of our hosts who facilitated our discussions.

“The potential initiatives emerging from our meeting could have a significant impact on policy and practice in relation to how we can all live longer lives in Scotland, Iceland and beyond. There is scope for collaboration with our Icelandic colleagues in both applied research and social innovation activity consistent with our University’s social mission to work for the common good.

“It was really quite special to have these discussions in the homeland of Magnus Magnusson, our late Chancellor, whose memory continues to inspire the Fellowship that bears his name.”

The Fellowship was hosted by cultural entrepreneur, Ragnheiður Jóna Jónsdóttir, and the meeting took place at Hannesarholt Cultural Center, a centre for cultural engagement in Iceland and the home of the first Minister of Iceland, Hannes Hafstein.

The inaugural Magnus Magnusson Fellowship Lecture took place on 1 December 2008, and was delivered by the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Professor Muhammad Yunus, who was installed as GCU Chancellor in October 2012.