Boris and Brexit

Radio interview on Boris Johnson and Brexit, Reykjavík Síðdegis, Bylgjan, 24 July 2019.

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Merkel, Pence and the Prime Ministers of the Nordic states in Iceland

Radio interview on visits of world leaders to Iceland and the country's increased strategic importance, Reykjavík Síðdegis, Bylgjan, 19 August 2019.

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SSANSE Project: Symposium on Russia and China's Political Interference Activities in NATO Small States

SSANSE symposium on Russia and China's Political Interference Activities in NATO Small States on 8 April. The speakers included Neringa Bladaitė (University of Vilnius) Anne-Marie Brady (Wilson Center/University of Canterbury), Donald J. Jensen (Center for European Policy Analysis), Ryan Knight (Georgetown University), Martin Hála (Charles University), Margarita Šešelgytė (University of Vilnius) Khamza Sharifzoda (Georgetown University), Mark Stokes (2049 Project), Alan Tidwell (Georgetown University), Abe Denmark (Wilson Center) and myself. The presentations were recorded on audio and can be listened to here.

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The Future of Icelandic Foreign Policy

The Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland hosted an event about the future of Iceland's foreign policy in the Nordic House in Reykjavík on 24 April. The event featured a number of esteemed presenters and discussants from politics, academia and non-government organizations. Iceland's Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, the Icelandic Minister of Education, Science and Culture Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir were among the participants.

All the presentations and discussions were recorded on video and can be seen here (in three parts).


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Coverage of new research on Nordic states

Morgunblaðið recently covered new research by Nordic scholars (including Douglas Brommesson, Nina Græger, Anders Wivel, Tapio Raunio and Hanna Ojanen) on the foreign policies of Nordic states, with a particular focus on recently published research on Iceland.


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Seminars on Nordic states' foreign policies

What are the options of the Nordic states in current geopolitical changes in their neighborhood? - An exciting week behind us - with an explicit focus on the Nordic states' foreign policies - at NUPI in Oslo, Hanaholmen - kulturcentrum för Sverige och Finland in Helsinki and the Lithuanian Military Academy (Generolo Jono Žemaičio Lietuvos karo akademija). Thank for your hospitality and great discussions on Nordicness and the concept of shelter.



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NUPI seminar: Sheltering, security and small states

Seminar at NUPI on Sheltering, Security and the Nordic States with Juha Jokela, Nina Græger and Kristin Haugevik. Small and middle powers like the Nordics depend on the economic, political, and societal shelter provided by larger states and international organizations to survive and prosper. We discuss what kind of security relationships Iceland, Finland and Norway seek with great powers – such as the United States and Russia. How do Nordic states position themselves in relation to the EU and NATO? And how do they deem the potential for more Nordic security cooperation?


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Sovereignty and shelter

Iceland - a sovereign state for 100 years. An article in one of the main newspapers in Iceland, Morgunblaðið.

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Recording from the Book Launch: Small States and Shelter Theory

A recording from our Book Launch which we held at the University of Iceland. The aim of the seminar was to answer the question: Which states and international organizations have provided Iceland with political, economic and societal shelter in the past and which world actors will provide Iceland with shelter in the near future?
The importance of shelter for small states
Baldur Thorhallsson, Professor of Political Science, University of Iceland
Do the Nordic states and Nordic cooperation provide Iceland with shelter? Þorsteinn Kristinsson, PhD student, University of Lund, Sweden
Iceland’s relations with the United States:  Shelter or risk?
Sverrir Steinsson, researcher and lecturer at the University of Iceland
Iceland’s participation in the European project:  Shelter or trap?
Baldur Thorhallsson
Panel discussions
Do the Nordic states provide Iceland with shelter?
Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, Minister for Education and Culture
Does the United States provide Iceland with shelter?
Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Alþingi.
Does participation in the European project, particularly Schengen, provide Iceland with shelter?
Georg Kr. Lárusson, Director General of the Icelandic Coast Guard
And speakers
Closing Address
Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister, will give the closing remarks and discuss the position of Iceland in the international system
Chair: Pia Hansson, Director of the Centre of small state studies and the Institute of International Affairs

Small States and Shelter Theory: Iceland’s External Affairs presents a new small state theory on the behaviour of small states in the international system and examines Iceland’s external affairs from 1940 to the present. The book is an outcome of an extensive research project on Iceland’s political, economic and societal relations with its larger neighbouring states and international organizations. The research was conducted under the leadership of Professor Baldur Thorhallsson at the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Iceland and a team of scholars at the Centre for Small State Studies.

The extend of political, economic and social shelter that Iceland has been provided by its larger neighbouring states and international organizations has been underestimated since 1940. For instance, Nordic cooperation has provided Iceland with essential societal, economic and political shelter and Iceland’s participation is the European project has provided greater societal shelter than anticipated by membership of the European Economic Area (EEA). Also, generally, societal shelter, in terms of transfer of norms and values, has been as of much importance as economic and political shelter.

Ever since the United States closed its military base in Keflavík and refused to help Iceland out during the 2008 economic crisis, Iceland has been seeking shelter by other world actors. Iceland works closely with NATO and its neighbouring states on security and defence, puts greater emphasis on Nordic cooperation, was the first European country to make a free trade agreement with China and applied for membership of the European Union. Moreover, many policy-makers in Iceland regard Brexit as an opportunity and hope to establish closer ties with Britain after it leaves the European Union. Nevertheless, Iceland has not been able to secure itself a comprehensive shelter similar to the shelter it was provided by the United States during the Cold War.

The book is published by Routledge  and can be bought in University Book Store at the University of Iceland and online. More information on the book

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The book everyone has been waiting for

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