About the strategic partnership

Centre for Small State Studies – Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence

Small States in Europe: Opportunities and Challenges

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This online forum was created during the Erasmus+ funded Strategic Partnership Small States in Europe: Opportunities and Challenges in 2014-2016.

This two year strategic partnership created a dynamic higher education consortium with the objective of developing the field of small state studies in Europe.

The strategic partners in this project are academically recognized leaders focusing on specific aspects of small state studies and European integration. The Centre for Small State Studies, run under the auspices of the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland, was the lead partner in this project. Other partners in the project were the following institutions:


In order to better understand the driving force in international relations it does not suffice to only study the big and powerful. Small states have a special place in the international system, with a striking capacity to defy the expectations of most observers and many prominent theories of international relations. They are in the position to protest the actions of more powerful states, precisely because of their relative capacities. Small powers can provide a moral balance of power in the international system. It is therefore important to study all states, small and large.

Small state studies is an under-developed research field best suited for development through the collaborative efforts of higher education institutions in small states. The overall objective of the project was therefore to address the challenges concerning the need to develop the field of small state studies. This was achieved by utilizing innovative practices in education with the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICT), open educational resources (OER), promoting awareness, close cooperation, and thus enhancing the capacities of the participating institutions.


The objectives of the project are linked to the following activities:


These activities were developed in close cooperation between the strategic partners and based on four interlinked key pillars:

Pillar 1: The role of small states in European integration
Pillar 2: Good governance, innovation and entrepreneurship in small states
Pillar 3: Foreign policy and security challenges of small states
Pillar 4: Promoting sustainable development in small states

As a whole, the consortium aimed to trigger the further modernization and internationalization in the involved higher education institutions and to remove artificial boundaries set by geography. The future goal of the consortium is to develop a joint Masters programme in small state studies. This initial collaborative project should thus be seen as a first step in that ultimate direction.