Today, the Islands Society announced the appointment of Derek Bolton as Managing Director of the Baltic Islands Society. Mr. Bolton will now lead the Islands Society’s efforts to increase the participation of the residents of the Baltic Islands in foreign affairs and cultural relations through community diplomacy.
“In the last few years, the Baltic Sea has re-emerged as a potential area of concern for international peace and security,” says Keiko Ono, Vice President of the Islands Society. “It is therefore critical that we more fully engage the residents of the islands of the Baltic Sea as partners in foreign affairs and cultural relations. That is the mission of the Baltic Islands Society. And, I could think of no better person to lead such an important initiative than Derek Bolton. Not only is he widely recognized as a next generation leader on international security. As a former resident of Finland, he also understands the unique challenges faced by local island communities in the Baltic Sea.”
Over the next few months, Bolton will be responsible for drafting a strategic plan and messaging framework for the Baltic Islands Society. He will also be recruiting ambassadors, business leaders, nonprofit leaders, and senior academics from the region to serve on the Baltic Islands Society’s Board of Advisers. And, he will launch two new programs modeled on previous programs by the Pacific Islands Society.
“I am extremely excited to be able to take the reins of the newest constituent society at the Islands Society,” adds Bolton. “I believe that it is incredibly important that more local islanders in the Baltic Sea – particularly women, minorities, and next generation leaders – participate in strategic dialogues related to foreign affairs, cultural relations, and climate change. It is my hope that programs like the 2016-2017 Baltic Young Leaders on Disarmament Program and the 2016-2017 Baltic Security Scholars will provide islanders in the Baltic Sea with a platform to do just that.”
In 2016, the Islands Society expects Bolton to develop and implement three additional programs specifically designed for islanders in the Baltic Sea. He will also be responsible for promoting new relations between islanders on the Baltic Sea and those on islands served by the other constituent societies.
“I am excited about the opportunity to partner with the managing directors of the Pacific Islands Society and Sea Islands Society. For example, consider the 2016 Baltic Islands Security Scholars program. Next year, the Pacific Islands Society will be running the 2016 Pacific Islands Security Scholars, and the Sea Islands Society will be launching the 2016 Sea Islands Security Scholars. In the past, these programs would have been stand-alone programs in their respective communities. However, the Islands Society realizes that we have the opportunity to not only help the participants grow their networks within their programs. We also have the opportunity to create networks between programs.”
“In my opinion, the ability to inter-network our programs will be of huge value to the participants in our programs for islands in the Baltic Sea,” opines Ono. “Imagine, the Baltic Islands Society can do more than just help a participant in Poel connect with a participant in their program from Mariehamn or their mentor in the program who is working in Geneva. In partnership with the Sea Islands Society and Baltic Islands Society, they can also help the participant connect with those in our programs in other regions of the world. In this way, a participant in Helsinki might establish important connections in Pago or Hilton Head Island without ever having to step foot in either place.”
About the Islands Society
The Islands Society is a “Top-Rated” American 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to respect, inspire, and empower islanders around the world. These projects are currently organized around two main themes: community projects and next generation leaders. The community projects center on ten issue areas, including charity, conservation, democracy, disaster relief, education, equality, health, innovation, security, and sustainability. Meanwhile, the next generation leader projects support artists, athletes, chefs, incubators, musicians, policymakers, storytellers, and technologists. The Islands Society is based on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Baltic Islands Society
The Baltic Islands Society is one of seven constituent societies of the Islands Society. Its primary mission will be to develop and implement programs that enable individuals and sub-national organizations from island communities on the Baltic Sea to more fully participate in international relations. Specifically, the society develops and implements programs that provide women, ethnic minorities, and the next generation of leaders from island communities on the Baltic Sea with the knowledge, networks, platforms, and exposure required to realize their full potential as artists, athletes, chefs, designers, educators, musicians, nurses, scholars, policymakers, scientists, technologists, etc. From 2016 onward, the Baltic Islands Society will be based in Turku, Finland.
About Derek Bolton
Derek Bolton is the Managing Director of the Baltic Islands Society and a Young Leader at Pacific Forum CSIS. Prior to pursing a PhD at the University of Bath (United Kingdom), he served as a Research Associate at Global Co Lab Network, where he worked to foster greater international cooperation within the Science and Technology (S&T) field between American and European researchers and implementers. Earlier in his career, he served as a Junior Research Fellow at the American Security Project and worked on science engagement with CRDF Global. An American citizen, Bolton was previously a permanent resident of Finland. He received his MSc in International Relations and International Military Security from the Universiteit van Amsterdam (Netherlands) and his BA in Politics and History from the University College Cork (Ireland).