How it Started
The idea came up at the Nordic Association's office and is based on the same idea as Nordjobb, a Nordic exchange program that arranges summer jobs for young people in the Nordic countries.
The idea was welcomed by everyone and the timing was perfect. The Nordic Association and the Icelandic National League Iceland (INL-Iceland) became co-operative partners in implementing the Snorri Program by offering a group of 19 young people to participate in a six week program in the summer of 1999. The program was sponsored by the Leifur Eiríksson Millenium Commission in 1999 and DeCODE Genetics Inc. made a generous contribution in 2000.
Aims and Objectives
Strengthening the bonds between people of Icelandic descent in North America and the people in Iceland. The purpose of the program is to encourage young people of Icelandic descent to preserve and nurture their Icelandic cultural and national heritage within the multicultural societies of Canada and the United States. The program also aims at strengthening the ties with Iceland and Icelanders as well as strengthening the ties to other Icelandic communities outside of Iceland.
It was one of the program's original objectives to make the program reciprocal. In 2001 the Snorri West Program started in Manitoba with two participants. The province of Ontario organized a program in 2008 but that was the only year. The Manitoba program ran for 10 years or until 2010.
In the summer of 2012 Minnesota, Manitoba and North Dakota co-operated on a new 4-week Snorri West Program. In the summer of 2014, Snorri West participants will visit Washington DC, Toronto, Ottawa, L'Anse aux Meadows and Halifax. In 2015 the participants will visit the west-coast; Vancouver, Seattle etc.
In 2003 the Snorri Program mainframe was expanded to include a program for those who find themselves just above the proposed age range (30+) for the first program and for those who may be travelling as a couple. This was called Snorri Plus and is a two week program that runs in August.
212 people of Icelandic descent have participated in the Snorri Program, over 100 in Snorri Plus and around 70 in Snorri West.
The Government of Iceland, Icelandair, Eimskip, Landsbanki and Skipti sponsored the program in 2012-2014.
Previous sponsors have been: The Savings Bank, VISA Island (now Valitor Various municipalities and companies have sponsored the program with modest contributions.
The Icelandic National League of North America has sponsored the Historic tour around Iceland since 2009.
All the Snorri Programs are non-profit.
The Snorri Foundation Board
Current Board of Directors 2014-2016
Halldór Árnason - Chairman
Úlfur Sigurmundsson - Vice Chairman - On behalf of the Nordic Association
Eydís Egilsdóttir - On behalf of INL-Iceland
Ástrós Signýjardóttir - Alternate member, on behalf of INL-Iceland
Ásdís Eva Hannesdóttir - Alternate member, on behalf of the Nordic Association
Gísli Rúnar Gíslason - on behalf of the Snorri Alumni Association
Almar Grímsson, 1999-2002 & 2004-2010
Róbert Trausti Árnason, 2002-2004
Ásta Sól Kristjánsdóttir