ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud State University got a visit from our neighbor to the east this morning.

Iceland's ambassador to the United States Gudmundur Arni Stefansson was in Minnesota to give a guest lecture on the World's oldest democratic nation.

He touched on the economic crisis and the effect of banking in Iceland. This is Stefansson's second time visiting Minnesota. Stefansson says his first trip to Minnesota was in the summer and the climate is much different now.

"It's terrible to tell you the truth. The name Iceland sounds cold but it isn't cold, really. The normal temperature in the coldest month of January is around zero Celsius, that's 32 Fahrenheit.  But it never gets really hot either. In the hottest month of July the average temperature is around 55-56 Fahrenheit," says Stefansson.

The ambassador says he thinks it is important for Americans to know a little bit about Iceland.

"The fact of the matter is Iceland is your next door neighbor to the east. We are on the center of the Atlantic between Europe and North America. I think it's a necessity that Americans know a bit more country with a long history," says Stefansson.

Stefansson has served as the ambassador since 2005. He's also the Icelandic ambassador to Sweden, Albania, Cyprus, Syria and Kuwait.

He has a background in politics, radio broadcast and journalism. The free event was hosted by SCSU's School of Public Affairs and the SCSU Learning Resources Services.

Ashli Gerdes, WJON News