President - Herdis THORGEIRSDOTTIR

Iceland / Islande / Island

Herdis Thorgeirsdóttir (President / Iceland)

C.V. Professor Dr. jur Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir - President of EWLA
Profile in members database: Herdís Þorgeirsdóttir

Dr. Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir was appointed professor of constitutional law and human rights at the Faculty of Law, Bifrost University in 2004. She has since 2003 been member of the Network of Legal Experts that ensures that the European Commission is kept informed in relation to important legal developments in the field of gender equality at national level and the impact of these developments. She was elected President of the European Women Lawyers’ Association (EWLA) in 2009. Prior to that she had been Vice President since 2005. She was appointed member of the Venice Commission, the European Commission for Democracy through Law in 2010 after having been substitute member on behalf of Iceland since 2003. She is chairman of the Sub-Commission on Human Rights of the Venice Commission since December 2011.

Born in Reykjavík in 1954, Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir studied psychology at the University of Aix-en-Provence, journalism at the College of Journalism in London, political science at the University of Iceland (B.A), international law and politics at the Fletcher School of Law (M.A.L.D) and is doctor of laws (Dr. Jur) from the Faculty of Law at Lund University. She wrote her doctoral dissertation  on freedom of expression within the media from the perspective of comparative constitutional law in the United States and of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Her book on the subject: Journalism Worthy of the Name: Freedom within the Press and the Affirmative Side of Article 10 under the ECHR, was published by Brill in 2005. She did her undergraduate studies in law at Reykjavík University after which she passed the bar exam and got license to practice law in Iceland. She was a guest researcher at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford University in 1999.

She is partner at Vik Law/ law firm in Reykjavík.

She has written books and articles on freedom of expression  (f.ex.) and other human rights and her focus has been on the impact of the corporate and political ties on freedom of expression of the media; on self-censorship and corruption, which contributed to the collapse not only of the Icelandic banking system in 2008 but fostered the atmosphere of fear and conformism conducing to a system where critical political debate could not thrive. 

Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir started her career in journalism and was an editor and publisher of a monthly magazine for 10 years. She also initiated the network to empower women in 2004 and was twice appointed to the Icelandic gender equality prise. She was nominated by EWLA as one of the women inspiring Europe in 2010 as stated in the letter of nomination, she "breaks the stereotypical images of women by having reached the very top of the media tree not ‘by towing the line,’ rather by not being afraid to push the boundaries to expose unequal practices where they occur.
In addition, Herdis supports other women not just through her work with EWLA, but also by establishing and running networking events for women in Iceland and on mainland Europe, She truly is a woman of Europe who continues to inspire us all


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