Board members in Iceland
Icelandic board members are appointed by the Ministry and U.S. board members by the U.S. Embassy. They serve for a maximum of five consecutive years. The board meets approximately 4-5 times a year.
Iceland’s Minister of Education and the U.S. Ambassador to Iceland are Honorary Chairmen of the Board. The board consists of eight members and two alternates, with equal numbers of Icelanders and Americans.
Minister of Science, Industry and Innovation
U.S. Ambassador to Iceland
Professor of Computer Science
Páll Melsted (Vice-chair) is a professor in the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Iceland, where he has worked since 2011. He received his PhD degree in Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization from the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University in 2009. In 2014, he received a Fulbright scholar grant to conduct research at the University of California, Berkeley.
Professor of Environmental Engineering
Hrund Ólöf Andradóttir is a professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Iceland. She received her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT in 2000. She worked for 6 years in management consulting before joining the University of Iceland in 2006. Dr. Andradóttir has contributed to the research fields of sustainable urban drainage, air quality, and physical limnology.
Associate Professor in Psychology
Dr. Bryndís Björk Ásgeirsdóttir is an associate professor and the head of the Department of Psychology at Reykjavik University. She received her PhD from King´s College London in 2011 and has in her research focused on trauma, mental health and the effects of sexual abuse. In 2018 Bryndís was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University.
Former Ambassador to the U.S.
Geir H. Haarde served as Ambassador to the U.S. from 2015–2019 and then was Executive Director at the Board of the World Bank Group on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries from 2019–2021. Previously, Mr. Haarde served as Prime Minister of Iceland from 2006–2009, Foreign Minister from 2005–2006 and Minister of Finance from 1998–2005. He was a member of the Icelandic Parliament, Althingi, from 1987–2009. Mr. Haarde has an M.A. in Economics from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University – Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in Economics from Brandeis University.
Artist and Professor in Contemporary Music Performance
Dr. Berglind Tómasdóttir (alternate) is a flutist and interdisciplinary artist, as well as a professor in contemporary music performance at Iceland University of the Arts. In her work she frequently explores identity and archetypes, as well as music as a social phenomenon. Berglind holds degrees in flute playing from Reykjavik College of Music and The Royal Danish Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and a DMA in contemporary music performance from University of California, San Diego, where she was a Fulbright fellow.
Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavík
Karen Huntress (Chair) is a U.S. diplomat, and currently serves as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. She has previously served in London, United Kingdom; Bogota, Colombia; Havana, Cuba; and Ottawa, Canada, and has also worked on Western Hemisphere Affairs in Washington, DC. Karen earned a journalism degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and a law degree from Boston College Law School. She worked as an attorney for 12 years prior to joining the State Department.
Affiliate professor at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Iceland
Margaret Cormack is an affiliate professor at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Iceland and a visiting researcher at the Árni Magnusson Institute for Icelandic Studies. She was a professor at the Department of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston from 1995 to 2017 and is currently professor emeritus. She received her PhD in Medieval Studies from Yale University in 1983. Margaret received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to Iceland in 1994 and 2000.
Researcher and PhD student
Elizabeth Lay is a researcher and PhD student at the School of Education, University of Iceland, with a focus on immigrant parent involvement. She previously worked as an architect from 2000 to 2010 in Reykjavík and Washington, D.C. She has volunteered for immigrant organizations, served on the Immigrant Council of the Ministry of Welfare, the School Board of the International School of Iceland, and founded Vera Center, an information service for immigrant citizens of Reykjavík.
Retired State Department Foreign Service Officer
Jeff Dirks (Treasurer) is a newly retired State Department Foreign Service Officer, most recently serving as the economic and commercial officer in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Prior tours included Bogotá in Colombia and Banjul in Gambia. Through his economic work, Jeff saw first-hand the global benefits of the Fulbright program and how it leads to innovation and stronger intracultural connections. The State Department was Jeff’s third career. First was journalism, where Jeff was a reporter, editor, and general manager for newspapers in his Pacific Northwest home. Following was a 16-year stint at Microsoft, where he ended his time as a business development director working on products for education. Jeff holds a degree in Political Science from Pacific Lutheran University.
Research Manager of the University Centre of the Westfjords
Dr. Catherine Chambers (alternate) is the Research Manager of the University Centre of the Westfjords. She received her PhD in Fisheries from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2016. In her research, Catherine focuses on human dimensions of fisheries governance and small-scale fisheries management, among other things. Catherine was a Fulbright student in Iceland in 2011.