Oct 5, 2023

Prevention Day and The President and first lady's visit to Planet Youth

Planet Youth was honored to receive a visit from the president of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, and his wife, Eliza Reid, at its´ headquarters in Lagmuli, Reykjavik. For the occasion, our chairman, Jon Sigfusson, donned an apron and baked delicious waffles using his wife’s secret family recipe. These waffles were served with whipped cream and maple syrup, about which the first lady could provide detailed information, given her Canadian heritage. The event was relaxed and casual, but the discussions were of great significance to both parties. They centered on youth substance use prevention, a method that has been used in Iceland for over two decades and that Planet Youth has been promoting in various parts of the world in recent years.

The president’s visit to Planet Youth occurred shortly before Prevention Day, which is held in Iceland at the beginning of October every year. The Prevention Day has been a collaborative effort between the President of Iceland, the directorate of health, which is the main organizer, The city of Reykjavik, The Icelandic Olympic Association, The Scout movement, UMFI, ICSRA, Planet Youth, The organization of Icelandic municipalities, Samfés, Home and School, Partnership of prevention NGO ‘s and others. It serves to underscore the importance of this subject to all Icelanders. Planet Youth ‘s Knowledge Officer, Margret Lilja Gudmundsdottir, is a member of the steering group for Prevention Day. Margret gave a key lecture at the opening seminar, where she emphasized the most important elements for successful prevention work and the well-being of youth.

Prevention Day is held in the country’s primary and secondary schools every autumn, with a particular focus on students in the 9th grade and their first year of secondary school. On The Prevention Day, students engage in discussions about the latest research findings pertaining to their age group. They also share their thoughts on socializing, family, school, sports, leisure activities, and the impact of these protective factors on their lives. Students work in groups to record their ideas, and responses are collected to identify common themes from their discussions. Furthermore, they have the opportunity to participate in a game that helps them understand elements that can reduce risky behavior. Later in the year, an awards ceremony will take place at Bessastadir, the presidential residence.

We were deeply honored by the visit from our President and his wife and remain committed to maintaining our strong collaboration on prevention efforts in Iceland.