Country: Iceland Iceland

Director: Pia Hansson


Contact: IIA Information


The Institute of International Affairs (IIA) was established in 1990 but was expanded and re-structured with the creation of the Centre for Small State Studies (CSSS) in 2001. The Centre for Arctic Studies (CAS) was launched in March 2013 and in October 2016 Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre, the newest addition to the Institute of International Affairs, was established. The Institute and its three centres are supervised by a joint steering board. All the centres are housed within the University of Iceland’s School of Social Sciences but with close links to the School of Humanities.

The Institute of International Affairs (IIA) is a forum for dialogue between the academic community, the private sector, and public service in the area of international relations. The role of the IIA is to provide education, promote research, and carry out service projects. It aspires to serve both academic and professional needs and stimulate a general discussion on subjects relating to international affairs. To this end, the IIA plans and carries out research on various subjects and hosts conferences, seminars, and lectures concerning international relations. 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 and its centres which have ties to a number of foreign research bodies.

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The Centre for Small State Studies (CSSS)

The Centre for Small State Studies (CSSS) is run under the auspices of the Institute of International Affairs (IIA) at the University of Iceland. It aims to encourage research and education on the subject of small states and 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 Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence grant from the EU and has since then operated as a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, the first of its kind in Iceland. The centre cooperates closely with numerous institutes and academics in Europe and has published widely on small states and European integration. The CSSS has been awarded several Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership grants and in 2017 the IIA/CSSS was awarded a Jean Monnet Network grant for the project Navigating the Storm: The Challenges of Small States in Europe (NAS).

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 CSSS has runs two reviewed publications series offering occasional papers as well as working papers, available in print and online. It has also published books on various related topics.

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Centre for Arctic Studies (CAS)

The Centre for Arctic Studies (CAS) is run under the auspices of the Institute of International Affairs (IIA) at the University of Iceland. CAS 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 between academia and the the public and private sector. CAS organizes conferences, seminars and lectures on Arctic issues as well supporting teaching and offering publications in the field. A recently signed joint agreement between CAS 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 chairmanship of the Arctic Council. CAS also coordinates the Arctic work within the University of Iceland and hosts a series of seminars to promote research findings regarding the Arctic, from all disciplines within the university. The centre is also involved in the UArctic network, on behalf of the University of Iceland. Being part of the IIA and the University of Iceland, CAS is uniquely situated to draw from a large academic community devoted to Arctic research and studies, in Iceland and abroad.

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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. It is run under the auspices of the Institute of International Affairs (IIA) at the University of Iceland. The creation of Höfði Reykjvík Peace Centre provides the IIA with the opportunity of expanding its research areas, which has led to more 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 Reykjavik Peace Centre has received several grants from the EU and the Nordic Council for projects it is leading. Amongst them is the development of edX online courses in peace and conflict studies and cultural competency, as well as the Jean Monnet research network  Post Truth Politics (PTP)which aims to address the possible impact of ‘fake news’, disinformation and ‘post-truth politics’ on the legitimation and delegitimation of European integration. In order to promote the different research fields within the IIA, 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, as well as Startup Social, an accelerator for social innovation and entrepreneurship.

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