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Name: Hannesson, Hjálmar
Current Position: Ambassador

Hjálmar W. Hannesson was appointed as ambassador to the United States in January 6, 2009.

He graduated from the Icelandic Teachers College in 1966 and moved to the US to earn a BA in Political Science at the University of North Carolina in 1968. In 1969 he received a Masters in Political Science, also at the University of North Carolina.
In 1969, Hannesson returned to Iceland and taught at the Icelandic Teachers College, the Reykjavik College, and the University of Iceland until 1976. He then became the First Secretary at Iceland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs while also filling a position on the UN General Assembly. From 1977 to 1980 he served as the First Secretary for the Delegation to NATO/Embassy, Brussels. He went on to become the First Secretary, and later Counselor for the Icelandic Embassy in Stockholm from 1980 to 1984.
Hannesson served as counselor and subsequently Minster Counselor for Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1984 to 1988. In 1988 he was appointed Ambassador for CSCE-matters, Disarmament and Arms Control at the Ministry of Affairs.
From 1989 to 1995 Hannesson served as Ambassador to Germany and simultaneously to Switzerland, Austria, and Greece. During the same time period, he was Ambassador to Hungary (1990) and to Liechtenstein (1992). Then in 1995 he was appointed Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, the first Icelandic Ambassador to reside in Beijing. He also served simultaneously as Ambassador to Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and North Korea from 1995 to 1998.
From 1998 to 2001 he served as Ambassador and Political Director for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Deputy Permanent Secretary of State. Afterwards, he became Ambassador to the Holy See (Vatican City) from 1999 to 2002. From 2001 to 2003 he was the Ambassador to Canada, Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama.
Then from 2003 to 2009 Hannesson served as the Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations, while also holding the position of Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Jamaica, and Guyana. While serving as Ambassador, he also was the Vice President of the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly 2006 and 2007 Vice President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Hannesson speaks English, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and German. He has been married to Anna Birgisdottir since 1966 and has two sons, one daughter, and 14 grandchildren.
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