The Althingi is the oldest existing parliamentary institution in the world. Its establishment, as an outdoor assembly or thing held on the plains of Þingvellir (“Thing Fields”) from about the year 930 AD, laid the foundation for an independent national existence in Iceland. To begin with, the Althing was a general assembly of the Icelandic Commonwealth, where the country’s most powerful Leaders (goðar) met to decide on legislation and dispense justice.
Then, all free men could attend the assemblies, which were usually the main social event of the year and drew large crowds of farmers and their families, parties involved in legal disputes, traders, craftsmen, storytellers and travelers. Those attending the assembly dwelt in temporary camps (búðir) during the session. The Centre of the gathering was the Lögberg, or Law Rock, a rocky outcrop on which the Law speaker (lögsögumaður) took his seat as the presiding official of the assembly. His responsibilities included reciting aloud the laws in effect at the time. It was his duty to proclaim the procedural law of Althing to those attending the assembly each year.
The program at Althingi
Althingi, as a symbolic way of gathering after travelling, has been done in Iceland for centuries. On Saturday 29th of July all the participants will gather at the Úlfljótsvatn Outdoor and Scout Center where they will spend the second half of the World Scout Moot together in a gathering similar in nature as Althingi. The program at Althingi will include outdoor activities, workshops, roundtable discussions, challenges, campfires, diverse cultural activities and basically having a great time together while sharing each others experiences and knowledge.
The program during Althingi is organized into four program villages where the four Land Wights from the Icelandic Coat of Arms are the inspiration and protectors. All of the villages will work with the theme of change – or with activities that explore what makes us who we are, what impacts change in us and how we can impact change in our surroundings.
- The Bull Village: working with an environmental theme, exploring how nature impacts us and how we impact nature
- The Eagle Village: working with a historical theme, exploring how our histories have shaped us and what we can do to impact our future– as individuals, as local communities and as a scouting movement
- The Giant Village: working with the theme of lifestyle and health, exploring how our lifestyle is the foundation of our lives
- Dragon Village: working with the theme of arts and innovation, exploring how creativity can unleash a different performance and thus impact our lives and our community
- Yggdrasill Village Yggdrasill is the name of the giant World Tree that connects the Nine Worlds of ancient Norse cosmology, and thus symbolizes change through dialogue and respect, knowledge and understanding, as well as trust and respect. The name and symbol of Yggdrasill was chosen for this program village because in the same way as the branches and roots of a tree link everything together, Scouts all over the world are connected by The Scout Promise and Law. In the Yggdrasill Village, participants learn mindfulness and how to live in and enjoy the here and now, with all the unexpected and wonderful experiences life has to offer. Every participant will have time for inner reflection as well as quiet time alone or among friends. Duty to God is a central part of the Scout promise, and the focus of the Yggdrasill Village is on exploring and learning to understand and respect different faiths and beliefs. It is often said that “Religion causes wars”, but the reality is that intolerance causes war. By sharing their own religious and spiritual practices and learning about the religious traditions of others, participants can gain a better insight into and deepen their understanding of what each of us believes, through a religious dialogue and by celebrating what we have in common rather than what divides us. The Yggdrasill village is a place where participants can take part in activities and a dialogue that will yield a better insight into different faiths. The majority of the world‘s major religions will be represented: Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, The Church of Latter Day Saints, Won Buddhism, along with the ancient Norse Ásatrú. This village provides participants the opportunity to simply be themselves, as well as an opportunity to embrace the diversity of faiths and beliefs of their fellow scouts.
- Global Development Village The global Scout must be aware of how important changes in the world have come about, and of what he or she can do to effect future change. The Global Development Village (GDV) is a venue for different organizations and charities to share, through activities, what they do to effect positive change. There will not be a special program area for the GDV. Rather, the GDV will consist of subvillages in the Giant, Bull, Eagle, and Dragon Villages, depending on the theme of each village.
Have you ever:
- Wondered what it is like to have breakfast with 5000 Rovers?
- Played a game where you have to enter a new culture and learn how to behave within that culture?
- Made others aware of where you come from and the things that affect who you are?
- Tasted food from 15+ different countries in one day?
- Danced at dawn and dusk?
- Invited people from the around the world for dinner and allowed your taste buds to expand?
You will experience all the above during the International Day.
Get ready for an action packed day, full of opportunities to meet people and make new friends. The International Day will promote the exCHANGE of cultures, open up participants minds and provide plenty of opportunities to have fun with others from around the world.
We will kick off with a unique breakfast experience and spend the morning having loads of fun! We will complete activities that will give us experiences to learn and understand what cultural and personal things affect who we are today. Lunch is followed by a carnival of culture where each contingent will introduce their unique country with; food, dance, games and traditions. This will run into the evening, until you dine with the world of scouting. The CHANGE will continue until the sun goes down.
The whole day will give our participants the opportunity to experience CHANGE in an atmosphere of International Friendship and to feel the realization of BP´s Dream.
*Detailed information on how to prepare for the carnival will be provided nearer the Moot
A Youth Forum will be organized during the days of Althingi.
Althingi is a gathering in Iceland where legislation is debated in order to find a common ground for developing the society. The World Scout Moot will use the opportunity of having people from all around the world to debate on World Issues and how they would like to see the world. Do you want to make an impact? Do you feel like you can change the world? Then the Youth Forum is something for you.
Topics debated at the Youth Forum can include unemployment, education, health, water, energy, environmental sustainability, equality and conflict – or what ever you are interested in and believe is relevant.
The main campsite of Althingi, Úlfljotsvatn, has a lot to offer on a daily bases. It is possible to hike, swim, sail, practice using a bow or just enjoy the nice environment. Café’s with live music will be open during the Moot, and of course there will be old friends and new all around.