The Institute of International Affairs
The role of the Institute of International Affairs (IIA) is to provide education, promote research, and carry out service projects in the field of international relations. It aspires to serve both academic and professional needs and stimulate a general discussion on subjects relating to international affairs. To this end, the Institute plans and carries out research on various subjects and hosts conferences, seminars, and lectures concerning international affairs. It offers various services to both the private and public sector, conducting surveys, writing reports, and carrying out research on a range of topics. It publishes books and papers on international relations and Icelandic foreign affairs. International cooperation and interdisciplinary discussions are important factors in the work of the IIA.
Over one hundred scholars with various types of expertise participate in the work of the IIA, CAS and the CSSS, and the institutes have ties to a number of foreign research bodies. The IIA is a forum for dialogue between the academic community, the private sector, and public service in the area of international relations. The Institute of International Affairs was established in 1990 but was expanded and re-structured with the creation of the Centre for Small State Studies in 2001. The Centre for Arctic Studies was launched in March 2013. The Institute and the Centres are supervised by a joint Steering Board. All three are housed within the University of Iceland’s School of Social Sciences but with close links to the School of Humanities. Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre is the newest addition to the Institute of International Affairs and it was established in October 2016.
The Director of the Institute of International Affairs is Pia Hansson. Project Manager is Auður Birna Stefánsdóttir.
The Centre for Small State Studies (CSSS)
The Centre for Small State Studies (CSSS) aims to encourage research and education on the subject of small states. It has established itself as one of the leading research centres in the world focusing on this theme. The CSSS has received several grants from the European Union, the Nordic Council, and the Nordic-Baltic Council. It has also received support from both private and public enterprises in Iceland. 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 Summer School is a joint project of several universities in Europe and is sponsored by the EU’s Erasmus program. The Centre runs two reviewed publications series offering occasional papers as well as working papers, available in print and online. The Centre has also published books on various related topics.
The Project Manager of the Centre for Small State Studies is Tómas Joensen. Baldur Þórhallsson, Professor at the Faculty of Political Science, is the Programme and Research Director of CSSS.
Centre for Arctic Studies (CAS)
The Centre for Arctic Studies (CAS) is run under the auspices of the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland. The Centre is a forum for interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of Arctic research. The main goal of the Centre is to support and conduct research both on a national and international level and to increase cooperation of academia with the public- and private sector. The Centre organizes conferences, seminars and lectures on Arctic issues as well supporting teaching and offering publication in the field. A recently signed joint agreement between the Centre and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs involves the organisation of a joint seminar series and an annual international conference on Arctic issues, in conjunction with the upcoming Icelandic chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Being a part of the Institute of International Affairs and the University of Iceland, the Centre is uniquely situated to draw from a large academic community devoted to Arctic research and studies, in Iceland and abroad.
The Project Manager of CAPS is Margrét Cela.
Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre at the University of Iceland
Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre, a collaborative effort of the City of Reykjavik and the University of Iceland, is a forum for international multidisciplinary cooperation, with an emphasis on the role of small states, cities and citizens in promoting peace. HÖFÐI is the name of the house where Reagan and Gorbachev met in Reykjavik in 1986 and refers to the role Iceland played as a small non-militarised state in the conflict between two superpowers.
Reykjavik has placed great emphasis on human rights and peace in its work and policies. The launching of Höfði Reykjavik Peace Centre at the University of Iceland is thus an important next step in Reykjavík’s mission of becoming a city of peace. The Peace Centre promotes non-violent communications, the eradication of interpersonal violence and peaceful relations between states and organizations. Additionally, it promotes peace through research and education, including the development of a graduate programme in peace and conflict studies at the University of Iceland.
The creation of Höfði Reykjvík Peace Centre provides the Institute of International Affairs with the opportunity of expanding its research areas, which has lead to a greater emphasis on the challenges now facing modern societies, such as climate change, immigration and refugee issues, increased diversity, as well as rising nationalism and populism in the mainstream discourse. Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre organizes open seminars at the University of Iceland, focused on the role of cities and citizens in promoting peace. To promote the different research fields within the Institute, Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre organizes an international conference on 10/10 each year under the theme The Imagine Forum: Looking Over the Horizon, bringing together different actors in a dialogue on youth, peace and security. Furthermore, the Centre established a summer course in peace education for children of diverse origins in June 2017, in collaboration with the Youth Committee of the City of Reykjavík, the Icelandic Red Cross and the Education and Youth outreach programme at the University of Iceland.
The Project Manager of Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre is Auður Örlygsdóttir.