Vigdís Finnbogadóttir: Founding Chair, President, Iceland, 1980-1996
With her election as President of Iceland in 1980, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir became the first female head of state in the world. She was subsequently re-elected three times and retired in 1996. Finnbogadóttir took an active role in promoting the country, acting as a cultural ambassador, and enjoyed immense popularity. After her presidency, she became Founding Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders. In 1998, she was appointed President of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology. Currently, she is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and a member of the Club of Madrid. She founded the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages.