Highlights of the year 2013

2013 was a busy year for the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland. Here are some of the highlights:

Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (the first of its kind in Iceland)

The Centre for Small State Studies at the University of Iceland was awarded a Centre of Excellence grant from the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme. The Centre for Small State Studies will thus become a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the next three years. The Centre is run under the auspices of the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland.

In regard to the grant, the Centre will focus on three specific projects. Firstly, to strengthen interdisciplinary research and teaching on European integration, the European Union and the European Economic Area. Secondly, to establish an international school on small states, their public administration and their position within the European Union. Thirdly, to publish an Icelandic textbook on European integration for high school and university students. In addition, the Centre will continue organising various meetings and conferences, as well as publications, on European affairs.

The Centre of Excellence grant is a great acknowledgement of the work done by the Centre for Small State Studies, which has specialised in the position of small states in Europe. The establishment of a Centre of Excellence is a continuation of previous acknowledgements that the Centre has received, such as grants from the Lifelong Learning Programme to organise a Small States Summer School for the last 12 years, as well as grants to develop teaching in European Studies led by Baldur Thorhallsson, Professor of Political Science, in collaboration with the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Iceland.

Those involved in the application, in addition to professor Thorhallsson, were Pia Hansson, Director of the Centre for Small State Studies, Guðmundur Hálfdánarson, Professor of History, Ómar H. Kristmundsson, Professor of Public Administration, Alyson Bailes, Adjunct Lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science and Maximilian Conrad, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political Science.

In addition, the Centre recieved a special grant to host an international conference on governance in small states and the challenges they face in the international community.

Centre for Arctic Policy Studies – CAPS

The Institute of International Affairs launched the new Centre for Artic Policy Studies (CAPS) at a high-level international seminar in Reykjavík titled The Trans Arctic Agenda: Challenges of Development, Security, Cooperation. The Centre is run under the auspices of the Institute. The keynote speeches at the seminar were delivered on the evening of 18 March by their Excellencies the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Iceland and Sweden respectively: Össur Skarphéðinsson and Carl Bildt. Carl Bildt was also acting in his capacity as current Chairman of the Arctic Council.

You can watch their remarks here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDs1HaFDY4s

This seminar was designed to explore how current developments in the Arctic – driven inter alia by climate change and ice melting – may create new and complex long-range relationships among the nations circling the North Pole, and other interested state and  non-state actors. Addressing generic issues rather than individual national approaches, the programme sought to highlight the stakes that all players share in the challenges and opportunities arising, and their shared responsibility to find effective, equitable and sustainable solutions.

You can read the summary report from the seminar here: /wp-content/uploads/old/summary_report_trans_arctic_a5.pdf

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. CAPS aims to increase collaboration between the private and public sectors and the academic community. Through its knowledge production the Centre seeks to inform societal, cultural and environmental development as well as transnational communication in the High North.

Among projects managed by CAPS is a new joint West Nordic masters programme. It aims to provide specific knowledge of the High North combined with abilities to manage and link present day issues and past developments with the major themes of debate on societal challenges.

Further information: www.caps.hi.is

Open events

The seminar series Europe Dialogues was concluded in the first half of the year with seven open events:

March 8 – Peter Katzenstein

The Sovereign Debt Crisis: Great powers and small states in the EU

April 3 –Vivien Pertusot

The European Union: Differentiated integration or one size fits all?

April 5 – Guillaume Xavier-Bender

Protectionism and liberalism? The single market and the EU‘s position in global affairs

April 12 – Peadar Kirby

Eurozone small states in crisis: Lessons from the Irish case

June 14 – Ole Poulsen

Development of the EU’s fisheries policy – the Danish experience

June 21 – Agnes Hubert

Has gender equality led to increased European integration? 

July 3 – Philip Lynch and Richard Whitaker

The UK Independence Party, the Conservatives and attitudes towards European integration in the UK

Furthermore, the IIA organised several open seminars and conferences this autumn in cooperation with various partners. The events include:

August 26 – Patricia Cochran

Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change in the Arctic and Beyond

September 4 – Elections in Norway

A discussion focusing on the parliamentary elections in Norway

September 6 – Robert Wade

Why Income Inequality puts Democracy – and the Global Climate – at risk

September 10 – NO! The Ousting of Pinochet

A seminar and film screening focusing on the ousting of Pinochet

September 13 – Catherine de Wenden

The Globalization of Migration: The Case of Southern Countries

September 18 – Marc Lanteigne

What Beijing Wants: The Next Phases of Chinese Foreign Policy

September 19 – Knud Bartels

NATO now and in the Future: Operations, Missions, and Challenges

October 4 – Conference organised by CAPS

Claiming the North: Re-territorializing the “Westnordic Arctic”

October 23 – Angus Robertson, Colin Fleming, Stefán Pálsson, Katla Kjartansdóttir and Þórður Snær Júlíusson

An Independent Scotland? A new Northern European small state

October 25 – Margrét Cela, Kristinn Schram, Katla Kjartansdóttir, Sumarliði Ísleifsson and Bjarni Már Magnússon

Arctic Challenges in the West Nordic Region

November 13 – Gunnhildur Lily Magnúsdóttir

Gender in Nordic Climate Policy: Does Equal Representation Make a Difference?

November 20 – Andrew Cottey

‘From Afghanistan to Syria and Beyond: A Post-Interventionist Era?’

November 27 – Camilla Gunell

Åland, a demilitarized zone in a new age of security


New publications in the Centre for Small State Studies publications series:

Defence and Security for the Small: Perspectives from the Baltic States

Authors:  Raimonds Rublovskis, Margarita Šešelgyte og Riina Kaljurand

Electronic access here:  /wp-content/uploads/old/defence_and_security_-_layout3.pdf

Sovereign Liechtenstein The Soft Power Projection of a Very Small State

Author: Kevin D. Stringer

Electronic access here:  /wp-content/uploads/old/liechtenstein_layout_final.pdf

Research collaborations

The staff at the Institute of International Affairs and Centre for Arctic Policy Studies went on a work trip last August to Norway. They met with staff at the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, academics at the University of Oslo and various experts that work on Arctic affairs at research institutions. Following the trip the aim is to work jointly on projects focused on the Arctic and international relations in the coming months.

Last December the staff at the Institute of International Affairs and Centre for Arctic Policy Studies, along with representatives from Reykjavík University and Bifröst University, went on a work trip to Washington DC and Alaska. The group met with experts at the US State Department, academics at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and Fairbanks and various experts that work on Arctic issues at research institutions in Washington DC and Alaska. Several collaborative research and educational projects will be launched as a result of the trip in the coming months.

We thank you all for your interest and support for our work last year and look forward to continued cooperation in 2014.

Follow us online:

The Institute of International Affairs: www.ams.hi.is

Centre for Arctic Policy Studies: www.caps.hi.is

The Institute of International Affairs on Facebook: www.facebook.com/althjodamalastofnun

Further information:

Pia Hansson, Director of the Institute of Internatinal Affairs: ams@hi.is / tel.: 693-9064

Jón Gunnar Ólafsson, Project Manager at the Institute of International Affairs: jgo@hi.is / tel.: 694-6624