Have you cast your vote for the next Young ICCA Co-chair?

Garðar Víðir Gunnarsson

Name: Garðar Víðir Gunnarsson

Age: 34

Hometown: Sauðárkrókur, Iceland

Current City: Reykjavik, Iceland

Current Employer: LEX Law Offices and Reykjavik University

Education: Stockholm University, LL.M. in International Commercial Arbitration Law

Reykjavik University, Master of Law

How did you get involved in international arbitration? During my studies at Reykjavik University I participated in the Willem C. Vis Moot. This is where it all started for me. After returning home from Vienna, I started reading up on where I could specialise in this crazy little thing called arbitration and it eventually led me to Stockholm University.

What is your favourite virtue? Integrity.

What are your favourite qualities in another person? Authenticity. In my opinion, the recipe for authenticity consists of a handful of optimism, a dash of integrity, a splash of candour and a spoonful of courage to follow your own convictions.

What is your chief characteristic? Perpetual optimism.

What is your main fault? Sometimes not realising that less is more, and also … no wait let’s put a full stop here.

What is your favourite occupation? Travelling and learning new things. Next on the list is learning how to ski … and yes, I realise the irony that the guy from Iceland doesn’t know how to ski.

What is your idea of happiness? Finding myself in a remote valley in Iceland, where there is no mobile or internet connection, standing hip-deep in the clearest rock stream river imaginable, whilst fly fishing.

What is your idea of misery? Running through airports trying to catch a connecting flight only to see it take off right in front of you.  

If not yourself, who would you be? An international food critic and if fictional characters were possible: Tony Stark, I mean his suit flies. Enough said.

Where would you like to live? Paris, the same city as my fiancée (and soon to be wife). Although, what seven years of a long-distance relationship have taught me is that home is where the heart is.

Who is your favourite prose author? Miguel de Cervantes.

Who is your favourite hero/heroine in fiction? Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Who is your hero in real life? My late grandmother, for her conviction and courage that inspired me, for all the values she instilled in me and the respect she garnered around her. She is also the most industrious person I have ever known, if people were generally as industrious as she was we would see a spike in the global GDP.

What historical person do you most dislike? Anyone who has no respect for the sanctity of life or civil liberties.

What is your favourite name? Victoria for the ladies and Philippe for the lads.

What do you hate the most? At the top of the list: arrogance and those who belittle others.   

What is your natural talent? Making the best of a bad situation … and karaoke.

What is your favourite arbitration-related decision? It is hard to pinpoint only one decision.However, I am going for one of the classics: JOC Oil v. Sojuznefteexport, for the very simple reason that it always helps me explain and put into context the doctrine of separability to my students who are otherwise flabbergasted with the notion that there is a contract within the contract.

Who is your favourite arbitrator? One that is efficient, pragmatic and comes to a hearing prepared.

Who is your mentor? There are several persons that have provided me with advice and guidance over the years, but all things considered, I would say my father. In a more arbitration related context, it would be Dr Patricia Shaughnessy, the godmother of the ICAL family, a.k.a. Stockholm University’s arbitration program.

What is your motto? Edgar A. Guest sums it up best in this excerpt from one of his poems:

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in it with a trace of a grin

On his face. If worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Why should you be elected Co-chair? Because I know first-hand how instrumental Young ICCA is in providing young practitioners, especially those from less represented jurisdictions, with the opportunity to be part of a wider international arbitral community. Young ICCA exists to motivate and inspire young practitioners to become involved with arbitration and to provide a platform for them to be able to engage and partake in meaningful discussions. As I know from personal experience just how beneficial it is to partake in the organisation’s activities, I am willing and able to work relentlessly in the pursuit of those objectives. It would therefore be an honour and a privilege to be passed the torch to carry on the important work of Young ICCA as a Co-Chair.