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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 7, 1998


Establishment of Leifur Eiriksson Millennium Working Group

The year 2000 marks the 1000th anniversary of Leifur Eiriksson's voyage to America. In honor of this occasion, the United States and the Government of Iceland have established a binational working group to coordinate a series of commemorative activities.

Chaired by the White House Millennium Council and composed of governmental and private sector appointees, the U.S. representatives will work with their Icelandic counterparts to showcase achievements that highlight our shared heritage, values and interests. These areas include our culture, our scholarship, our pioneer legacy, our strong defense relationship and our scientific discoveries and exploration. The appointees will volunteer their service.

Several projects are already well underway. The Congress plans to mint a commemorative coin and use the proceeds to support U.S. scholarship and research. The Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History is putting together a two-year travelling exhibition on the Viking experience in Europe and North America, as well as a website, educational materials and symposia. The Library of Congress and Cornell University are collaborating with Iceland to organize scholarly seminars and an exhibit on the ancient Icelandic saga texts, which also are being placed on the Internet.

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