In recent years, foreign policy experts have been reminded of the strategic importance of the Baltic Sea region. Faced with a severe deterioration in NATO-Russia relations, the NBP9 states – the Nordic Five (i.e., Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), the Baltic Three (i.e., Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), and Poland – have been forced to reconsider their political, economic, and strategic relations with other states around the world.
Those with the most at stake in Russian relations with the West are responding to this development, including the United States, Russia, and the European Union. And Islands have featured prominently in the recent posturing. From recent calls in Finland for a discussion over defense policy regarding Åland, to deployment of troops and naval assets on Gotland, Baltic Islands have found themselves at the forefront of discussions on security.
Of course the breadth of issues faced by islanders is, like everywhere, complex and varied, and are by no means limited to military threats. As focus on these islands continues to grow one must ask what the future holds for societies on, for example, Gotland, Åland or Bornholm. And what is the largest risk faced by these populations?
Through the “Baltic Sea Region Security Essay Competition,” the Islands Society challenges young professionals across the Baltic Sea Region to consider these issues and come to their own determinations about what the future holds. Then, they are asked to draft an essay that provides practical recommendations on how island communities can best position themselves and the region.
Young professionals interested in participating in the essay competition are invited to submit an article of 500-900 words. They are also asked to provide a resume. All materials must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00pm EST on April 30, 2016. Only completed applications received by that date and time will be considered. Selected essays will then be professionally edited and published on The Islander – the official blog of the Islands Society. A press release will also be issued and the articles will be shared with over 3,000 contacts across the region.
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.