The aim of the Institute of International Affairs of the University of Iceland is to strenghten the position of Iceland in the society of nations. The Institute encourages co-operation and discussions between scholars, the public and other parties interested in Icelandic foreign affairs and international politics in general. The Institute serves as a forum for academic relations and interdisciplinary research projects for companies both in the private and public sector. Professionalism and accountability are the principles the Institute promotes in all its work.
The aim of the Institute is to serve as a leading force in the research of international affairs and small state studies and increase the quality and offering of a number of courses on international affairs and small states in both undergraduate and graduate studies. Furthermore, to carry out service projects for the private sector and public bodies. To reach these goals the Institute will encourage co-operation between scholars, the private sector and public bodies in the field of international affairs and offer conferences, seminars and lectures.
The preparation for establishing the Centre for Small State Studies (CSSS) began in September 2001 under the lead of Baldur Thorhallsson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Iceland. The idea to create a research centre in small state studies was welcomed both in Iceland and abroad and has received several grants by the European Union, the Nordic Council and the Nordic-Baltic Council. The Centre has also received a number of research grants in Iceland both from the public and the private sector.
The Centre for Small State Studies has already established itself as one of the main research centres for small state studies in the world. The main goal of the Centre is to increase research and education in the field of small state studies. In 2013 the CSSS was awarded a prestigious Centre of Excellence grant from the EU and will thus become a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, the first of its kind in Iceland. Since 2003, the CSSS has run an annual summer school on Small States and European Integration. The course runs for two weeks and is open to both Icelandic and international students.
The Centre for Arctic Policy Studies (CAPS) is a forum for interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of Arctic research with an emphasis on the role and policies of states and institutions, non-state and corporate actors, and broader aspects of governance, culture and society in the Arctic and High North. CAPS was launched in March 2013 at the high-level international seminar in Reykjavík: The Trans Arctic Agenda: Challenges of Development, Security, Cooperation. CAPS organizes conferences, seminars and lectures on Arctic issues as well as supporting learning in this important field of study. The Centre also publishes books and runs two publication series, offering occasional papers as well as working papers, available in hard copy and online.