Vigdís Finnbogadóttir


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Finnbogadóttir, Vigdís

(vĭg`dēs fĭn'bōgədô`tĭr), 1930–, Icelandic teacher and politician, president of Iceland (1980–96). She first became a public figure as the director of the Reykjavik theatre company (1972–80), and as the presenter of a television series on French language and literature. She was a member (1976–78) and then chair (1978–80) of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Affairs in Nordic Countries. She was elected president of Iceland in 1980 with support from a center-right coalition, becoming the first woman to be a popularly elected head of state. Although the Icelandic presidency is a largely ceremonial office, Finnbogadóttir enhanced the international stature of the post and of Iceland. Reelected in 1984, 1988, and 1992, she retired in 1996.