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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Strengthening Utah’s Historical Connections with Iceland from the Pioneer Era


REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A team from Utah recently embarked on a journey to Iceland, with the aim⁤ of investigating the potential of harnessing the state’s ⁢geothermal energy. During their expedition, they discovered a historical‌ connection between Utah and the Land of Fire and Ice that dates back to the ⁢pioneer era.

As the delegation delved into the prospects of a cleaner energy future for‍ Utah, they made numerous introductions and participated​ in symbolic exchanges. However, the highlight of ⁤the trip was the revelation‌ of ‌a‍ deep-rooted link ​between Iceland‍ and Utah’s pioneer history. ‌This connection was​ brought ‍to ⁢light multiple times,‍ including​ during a meeting‍ with the⁢ Icelandic President, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

“The President ‌was well-informed about Utah and ‌the historical ‍ties between our two regions. He was aware ⁣that the first Icelandic settlers in the United States established their homes ​in Spanish Fork, Utah,” shared Franz Kolb, the ⁢Director of International ‍Trade and Diplomacy for the Utah Governor’s Office‌ of Economic Opportunity.

Although the President declined ​an interview, he expressed‌ his admiration for the shared history and the tale ‌of approximately 400 individuals who converted to The Church of Jesus⁣ Christ of‌ Latter-day ​Saints‌ and subsequently migrated to Utah. The majority of ‍these emigrants settled in Spanish Fork.

In 2005, a memorial was⁢ dedicated by Church⁤ President Gordon B. Hinckley to honor these Icelandic⁣ emigrants.

President Jóhannesson’s ​knowledge of the emigrants’ journey to Utah can likely be attributed to his⁤ background​ as a​ historian before he was persuaded to⁤ run for the ​presidency in 2018.

“I feel extremely privileged to be ⁣here. From an international business and diplomacy perspective, this trip ⁤was⁢ of utmost importance,” Kolb expressed.

Kolb was thrilled to meet President Jóhannesson and is confident ​that​ the bond between Utah and⁢ Iceland will remain robust, even after⁢ Jóhannesson’s term ends in‌ the summer.

“In the realm of international relations,​ learning is a two-way street. We don’t just learn from one another, we grow ‍together. We are looking ‍forward to welcoming​ a delegation ​from Iceland⁣ to Utah in the ‍near​ future,” he added.

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  1. Agree – It’s important to preserve and celebrate the historical connections between Utah and Iceland, especially during the Pioneer Era.


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