Immigration and Intergration in Rural Areas

From 26.03.07- 28.03.07, the Multicultural Centre of Iceland and the University Centre of the West Fjords hosted an international conference concerning immigration and integration in rural areas.  The conference honored the European Year of Equal Opportunities and was funded by the European Union. The Icelandic title of the conference, Hvalreki eða ógn, means "stranded whale threat?"  A stranded whale was, in the old days, the best that could occur for Icelanders because it helped them to survive by providing food, oil, skin, etc.  The conference focused on immigration in rural areas against the background of the threat of depopulation, especially in the West Fjords and in parts of rural Canada and northern European countries.  In addition to Icelandic subject matter experts, renowned researchers and practitioners from Europe and Canada participated in the conference, as well as two ministers and one ambassador.  On the occasion of the conference, the minister of social affairs instituted a new fund, known in English as the "Development Fund for Immigration Issues" (Þróunarsjóður Innflytjendamála).  This fund will be administered by the University Centre of the West Fjords.