In Fréttir, News, VIMIUC
There was a large gathering of people today in Veröld – House of Vigdís for the 70th birthday celebration of Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir, professor of Second Language Acquisition at the University of Iceland.
Birna has had a distinguished career at the University of Iceland. She has been a prolific researcher and held numerous confidential and managerial positions, both within and outside the University. After completing her Ph.D. degree in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin, Birna directed the faculty of Notre Dame University in New Hampshire in English as a second language. She began working at the University of Iceland in 2002, where she has been a professor since 2008. She was the director of the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute for Foreign Languages in 2018-2020. Currently Birna represents Iceland in the steering committee for the United Nations’ International Decade of Indigenous Peoples (IDIL 2022-2032).
In her research, Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir has focused on the use of languages in many different contexts: linguistics, Icelandic in North America, English as lingua franca in Iceland, academic English, bilingualism and language acquisition, and foreign and second language learning pedagogy. As the founder and project manager of Icelandic Online, Birna became a pioneer in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) in Iceland.
At the event, the Rector of the University of Iceland, Jón Atli Benediktsson, gave the opening speech. Other speakers included Ásdís Rósa Magnúsdóttir, director of the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of foreign Languages, Auður Hauksdóttir, professor emerita, Höskuldur Þráinsson, professor emeritus, Hafdís Ingvarsdóttir, professor emerita and Kolbrún Friðriksdóttir, adjunct lecturer. Branislav Bédi presented Birna with the book Perspectives on Language and Context, a festschrift dedicated to her containing a collection of essays on her research interests. Former colleagues and doctoral students also gave short speeches at the event. 
Perspectives on Language and Context, Festschrift in honor of Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir, can be downloaded here.
Photos by Gunnar Sverrisson.


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