2014 was a busy year for the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland and the two centres run under its auspices: The Centre for Small State Studies (CSSS) and the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies (CAPS). Here are some of the highlights:
The Centre for Small State Studies awarded a large Erasmus+ grant
The Centre for Small State Studies at the University of Iceland was recently awarded a grant from the European Union’s new Erasmus+ programme. The total amount is 36 million ISK. The project focuses on a strategic partnership between higher education institutions and will last for two years. The University of Iceland is the lead partner, with five other universities participating in the project: The University of Copenhagen, Vilnius University, Tallinn University of Technology, University of St. Andrews and the University of Malta. The Centre for Small State Studies is run under the auspices of the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland.
Pia Hansson, Director of the Centre for Small State Studies, Jón Gunnar Ólafsson, Project Manager at the Centre for Small State Studies and Baldur Þórhallsson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Iceland developed the project and are in charge of its implementation on behalf of the University of Iceland in cooperation with academics from the other five universities. The first transnational work meeting of the project took place at the University of Copenhagen on September 19. During the next two years the six higher education institutions will develop close cooperation in the field of small state studies. The grant will be used to organise summer schools, seminars, student mobility and to develop cooperation with regard to teaching.
The Erasmus+ grant is a great acknowledgment of the work carried out by the Centre for Small State Studies, which has specialised in the role of small states in Europe. In 2013, the Centre was awarded a Centre of Excellence grant from the European Union and thus became a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for three years. The establishment of the Centre of Excellence was a continuation of previous acknowledgements that the Centre has received, such as Erasmus grants to organise a Small States Summer School for the last 12 years, as well as grants to develop teaching in European Studies, in collaboration with the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Iceland.
The Institute’s report on Iceland’s accession negotiations with the EU
The Institute of International Affairs published a lengthy and detailed report focusing on Iceland’s accession negotiations with the EU. The report was commissioned by the Icelandic Confederation of Labor, the Confederation of Icelandic Employers, the Icelandic Federation of Trade and the Iceland Chamber of Commerce. The report’s main findings were presented at an open meeting at Grand Hotel in Reykjavík on April 7. It was streamed live on RÚV.is and Vísir.is and received substantial media attention.
The authors of the report are Auðunn Arnórsson, Ásgeir Jónsson, Bjarni Már Magnússson, Daði Már Kristófersson, Jóna Sólveig Elínardóttir, Jón Gunnar Ólafsson, Pia Hansson, Tómas Joensen and Vilborg Ása Guðjónsdóttir.
The full report in Icelandic can be accessed here: http://ams.hi.is/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Uttekt-AMS-um-adildarvidraedur-Islands-vid-ESB.pdf
The summary of its main findings in English can be accessed here: http://ams.hi.is/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/IIA_EU_Iceland_Report_Executive-Summary.pdf
The Trans Arctic Agenda conference was a success
The Centre for Arctic Policy Studies at the University of Iceland held its second annual Trans-Arctic Agenda seminar on October 28-29. This year the seminar was at the Center Hotel Plaza, Reykjavík. The main themes were governance, cooperation and sustainability in the Arctic. The participation of top academics and government officials made the seminar a very successful event. This year funding from the US State Department and the Arctic Studies fund made the event possible. Furthermore, the European Union delegation to Iceland and the Canadian Embassy hosted networking receptions. There were 33 presenters at the seminar from 14 countries. Additionally 10 graduate students from Iceland and Norway participated by taking notes that will lay the foundation for a summary report to be published within the next few weeks.
Pictures from the event can be found on the website of the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies: http://ams.hi.is/myndir/
The seminar was recorded, see here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=trans+arctic+agenda
The programme is available here:
The establishment of a Peace Centre
The Mayor of Reykjavík announced in October that the Executive Council of the City of Reykjavik would support the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland in the establishment of a Peace Center within the University of Iceland. The objectives of the center would be to support Reykjavik in its mission of becoming a city of peace, and to advise on how Reykjavik can promote peace at home and abroad. The Peace Center will promote non-violent communications, the eradication of inter-personal violence and peaceful relations between states and organizations. Additionally, it will promote peace through research and education.
Project grants awarded for Arctic research in 2014
The Centre for Arctic Policy Studies awarded research grants to projects conducted in cooperation with the centre. The aim of the grants is to support research on Arctic affairs, outstanding students and promising new researchers in developing Arctic research projects. Many qualified researchers applied and this year four researchers were awarded grants: Dr. Marc Lanteigne for his project Crowded Northern Waters: China’s Emerging Cross-Regional Diplomacy in the Arctic. Dr. Katerina Peterkova for her project Shipping and Navigation in the Artic: A Need for a more Coherent Regulatory System. Dr. Jesse Hastings for the project The Rise of Asia in a Changing Arctic: The View from Iceland. Eva Balounová, postgraduate student at the University of Iceland, was awarded a grant for her master’s project Protection of the Arctic mammals in International Environmental Law.
Furthermore, Deng Beixi and Sumarliði Ísleifsson have been guest researchers at the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies.
A new joint Nordic master programme in West Nordic Studies
The Centre for Arctic Policy Studies has since spring 2013 managed the preparation of a joint Nordic Master Programme. The project concerns the development of a joint master programme focusing on issues of particular relevance to the West Nordic Regions. This is an interdisciplinary programme entitled West Nordic Studies, Governance and Sustainable Management and one of its aims is to encourage mobility within the region. The consortium consists of five universities: The University of Iceland, the University of Akureyri, the University of Greenland, the University of the Faroe Islands and Nordland University in Norway. The programme will be launched in fall 2015. For further information visit www.westnordicstudies.net.
A new textbook on European integration
The Centre for Small State Studies received a grant from the Educational Materials Development Fund to make a textbook on the European integration for upper secondary schools in Iceland. The book will be published in the first months of 2015 and is the first of its kind written in Icelandic. Seven experts in European Studies contribute to the book, which consists of 10 chapters, and covers various aspects of European integration. There is, furthermore, a special focus given to Iceland‘s participation in the European integration process throughout its history and on the position of small states within the EU.
Open seminars on development cooperation in March
The Institute of International Affairs organized four seminars on development cooperation in March in cooperation with the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Iceland.
March 6 – Providing emergency assistance and choosing states to cooperate with. Jónína Einarsdóttir.
March 13 – Gender mainstreaming in development cooperation. Are we on the right path? Þórdís Sigurðardóttir.
March 20 – The UN Development Goals after 2015. Guðrún Helga Jóhannsdóttir.
March 27 – Bilateral development cooperation. Engilbert Guðmundsson.
Open seminars on European Integration in May and June
The Institute of International Affairs, the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies and the EU Info Centre in Iceland hosted open seminars in May and June focusing on contemporary issues in Europe. Special emphasis was placed on nationalism, human rights, the Arctic, climate change and governance in small states.
May 13 – Nationalism, Identity and the EU. Herman Roodenburg, Guðmundur Hálfdánarson and Alyson Bailes.
May 19 – Human Rights and the EU. Kinga Göncz and Pauline Torehall.
June 2 – The EU’s Arctic Strategy. Several international speakers discussed the topic from various angles.
June 5 – The EU, Iceland and Climate Change issues. Several Icelandic and international speakers discussed the topic from various points of view.
June 25 – Small States, Governance and the EU. Several Icelandic and international speakers discussed the topic from various points of view.
More open events
The Institute of International Affairs, the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies and Centre for Small State Studies organised and participated in numerous other open events including:
January 14 – Why the Arctic Matters? Prospects of Development. Natalia Loukacheva.
January 16 – The Arab Spring: All Hope Lost? Magnús Þorkell Bernharðsson.
January 17 – The Arctic and globalization. Caroline Kennedy and Nick Lambhert.
January 24 – Seminar on Nelson Mandela.
February 18 – Nordic Cooperation and NATO. Open seminar.
February 20 – The Transition to Democracy in Central Europe. Petr Just.
February 20 – Arctic Governance and Traditional Knowledge: Indigenous People and the Arctic Council. Jim Gamble and Carolina Behe.
February 25 – Iceland and the Large Powers 1400-1600. Open seminar.
March 24 – Ukraine: The Current Situation in a Historical Context. Jón Ólafsson and Sverrir Jakobsson.
March 28 – Is the UN Immunity from Local Jurisdiction Working? Mikael Magnússon.
2. apríl – Málþing um ferðamennsku og leit og björgun á norðurslóðum. Margrét Cela.
April 4-5 – Conference on UN Resolution 1325.
April 10 – Seminar on Tourism and Identity in the Arctic. Several international speakers discussed the topic from various angles.
April 29 – Seminar focusing on the work of the Conservation of Arctic Flaura and Fauna (CAFF) and Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME). Tom Barry and Soffía Guðmundsdóttir.
May 14 – Development Cooperation and its results. Open seminar.
May 27 – A New Security Strategy for Iceland? Open seminar.
May 28 – Security in the Arctic: New Perspectives. Per Erik Solli, Alyson Bailes and Page Wilson.
June 2 – A Safe Future for the Land. Open seminar.
July 3-5 – Culture and Security: Small Northern States in an Age of Uncertainty. Several Icelandic and international speakers discussed the topic from various points of view.
August 29 – Scotland: A New Independent State in Northern Europe? John MacDonald.
September 10 – Scotland’s Choice: Independence or Union? Alyson Bailes and Baldur Þórhallsson.
September 11 – Introducing the UN Human Development Report 2014. Open seminar.
September 11 – Elections in Sweden. Open seminar.
September 12 – Greenland and Iceland: Meeting Place of Global Powers in the Arctic. Damien Degergous.
September 23 – Singapore and the Arctic. Jesse Hastings.
September 30 – Outsourcing War: The Nordic Countries and Afghanistan. Open seminar and a film screening.
October 1 – The Ukraine Crisis and Russia. Open seminar and a film screening.
October 10 – Practicing Peace. Open seminar.
October 14 – US Relations with India and China. Jarrod Hayes.
October 16 – Open seminar on North Korea. Geir Helgeson.
October 20 – New Small States in Europe. The Case of Catalonia. Open seminar.
October 24 – The Main Issues at the UN General Assembly in 2014. Talk with Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, the Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs.
October 27 – Small States in Europe: Slovenia and its Positition within the EU. Cirila Toplak.
October 28-29 – The Trans Arctic Agenda. Many Icelandic and international speakers participated.
November 3 – Schengen’s Mediterranean Border: Year of Horror. Hugo Brady.
November 14 – Do Bureaucracies Kill Creativity? The Experience of the European Council. Maria Strömvik.
November 19 – Russia, the West and Ukraine: A New Cold War? Andrew Cottey.
November 20 – Elections in the US 2014. Michael Corgan.
November 20 – China’s Emerging Arctic Strategy. Deing Beixi.
November 24 – Nordic Cooperation on Civil Security: What is happening? Alyson Bailes og Carolina Sandö.
December 1 – Elections in Greenland: What Does the Future Hold? Inga Dóra Markussen and Damien Degeorges.
Publications – Centre for Small State Studies
New Publication Series – Small State Briefs
The Centre for Small State Studies (CSSS) at the University of Iceland has launched a new publication series in which contemporary academic research concerning small states is introduced in a succinct and coherent manner. These short analytical papers are aimed at journalists, bureaucrats, embassy staff and all those interested in learning about new research in the field of small state studies.
Five short analytical papers are now available online at the Centre for Small State Studies website. Baldur Þórhallsson is the author of the short paper Europe: Iceland Prefers Partial Engagement in European Integration and Alyson Bailes is the author of the short papers Nordic Cooperation in Civil Emergencies and Nordic and Arctic Affairs: Why is ‘West Nordic’ Cooperation in Fashion? Caroline Grön is the author of the short paper Small States seeking influence in the European Commission: Opportunities and Constraints and Kristmundur Þór Ólafsson and Alyson Bailes are the authors of the short paper Nordic and Arctic Affairs: Iceland’s Security Policy: Latest Progress.
All the short papers can be accessed here: http://ams.hi.is/utgafa/utgafa-rannsoknaseturs-um-smariki/
More short analytical papers in the “Small State Briefs” series will be published in the coming weeks and months.
New publications in the CSSS publication series:
Microstates as Modern Protected States: Towards a New Definition of Micro-Statehood
Höfundur: Zbigniew Dumienski
Nordic Cooperation on Civil Security: The ‘Haga’ Process
Höfundar: Alyson JK Bailes and Carolina Sandö
Publications – Centre for Arctic Policy Studies
New publications in the CAPS publication series:
The West Nordic Council in the Global Arctic
Egill Þór Níelsson
Understanding the Arctic Council: A ‘Sub-Regional’ Perspective
Alyson JK Bailes
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We thank you for all your interest and support for our work last year and look forward to further cooperation in 2015.