Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson

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Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson
Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson 2011.jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
28 September 1988 – 23 April 1995
Prime Minister Steingrímur Hermannsson
Davíð Oddsson
Preceded by Steingrímur Hermannsson
Succeeded by Halldór Ásgrímsson
Minister of Finance
In office
8 July 1987 – 28 September 1988
Prime Minister Þorsteinn Pálsson
Preceded by Þorsteinn Pálsson
Succeeded by Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
Personal details
Born (1939-02-21) 21 February 1939 (age 78)
Ísafjörður, Iceland
Political party Social Democratic Party

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson (born 21 February 1939) is an Icelandic politician and diplomat.


The son of Hannibal Valdimarsson, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson earned an MA in Economics from the University of Edinburgh in 1963. He studied at Stockholm University from 1963 to 1964, and studied to become a teacher at the University of Iceland in 1965. He attended Harvard University's Center for European Studies from 1976 to 1977.


He edited Frjáls þjóð (1964–1967) and Alþýðublaðið (1979–1982).

Political career[edit]

European Economic Area[edit]

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson led Iceland's delegation while Iceland participated in forming the European Economic Area.

Diplomatic career[edit]

Later he served as a diplomat in the United States and Mexico from 1998 to 2002 and to Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from 2002 to 2005.[1] Ambassador to Ukraine from 2004 to 2006.[2]He recognized the Baltic States' independence in 1991, as the only western foreign minister to arrive on the scene in January 1991 when Gorbachev was at the brink of a military crack down.[3]


In January 1991, after the bloodshed in Vilnius, he started the process of reestablishing diplomatic connections between Lithuania and Iceland. Thus Iceland was the first state to take a conflict with the Soviet Union to support Baltic freedom.[4]

In recognition, the square in front of Estonian Foreign Ministry in Tallinn is named as "Iceland Square", and on the grounds of the Lithuanian Seimas (Parliament) the rocks of the last barricades from January 1991 bear the inscription "To Iceland - They Dared When Others Remained Silent".

For his role in recognizing Lithuania's independence, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson was awarded Commander's Grand Cross of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, as well as Medal of 13 January and title of honorary citizen of Vilnius. He is also a recipient of the Estonian Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 1st Class and the Latvian Order of the Three Stars (3rd class).

He was, purportedly, the first foreign minister in the world to recognize Croatia as a sovereign nation in 1991.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson (speaker profile)". Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Skrá yfir fulltrúa Íslands hjá erlendum ríkjum frá upphafi
  3. ^ "Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson". (The profile was written for the exhibition "Good-bye, Charlie! 20 Years since the Fall of Communism in Europe). Estonian History Museum. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Kristensen, Gustav N. 2010. Born into a Dream. EuroFaculty and the Council of the Baltic Sea States. Berliner Wissentshafts-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-8305-1769-6.

External links[edit]