Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Washburn University Professor Gives Talk on Experiences in Iceland

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Washburn University Professor Gives Talk on Experiences in Iceland

Article excerpt

As part of Washburn University's Brown Bag lecture series, sociology professor John Paul spoke Wednesday afternoon about his experiences in Iceland, a country of about 300,000 people.

Paul took nine students there in June to learn about Icelandic politics and culture.

The group consisted of sociology, anthropology, psychology and political science majors. They visited parliament, police stations and prisons to find out more about how Icelandic society functions.

Paul said Iceland has dealt with social and economic challenges differently than the United States.

During the economic crisis in 2008, the country went bankrupt, which prompted a new crowdsourced constitution and a number of new political parties, Paul said. The banks were allowed to fail, which was a drastic contrast to the way the U.S. handled the financial crisis.

The country also implemented debt forgiveness for individuals who qualified.

Part of Iceland's social welfare program includes free entry into cultural and sporting events, an effort made to "humanize" people and help them feel connected as part of a community and country, Paul said.

Additionally, the police often act more as social workers than law enforcement officers, he said. …

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