I attended the International Conference on International Security Studies in February 2020 with my supervisor, Dr Constantinos Adamides. In presenting our research and preliminary findings, we were able to interact with other scholars and researchers in an interdisciplinary fashion. As the overarching theme focused on international security, we were equally receptive of other views within security studies, such as the role of culture and identity, software use and technological innovation, as well as questions on the relationship between small states and other bigger states in blocs such as the European Union. Our presentation mainly focused on how the lack of a comprehensive security framework in small states might present itself as a considerable threat for the overarching bloc – in this case, a weak security and defence infrastructure in Cyprus would leave the entire EU bloc exposed. We engaged with both the theoretical and empirical concepts behind this reasoning. Our preliminary data also presented case studies in which Cyprus indeed left the EU exposed (e.g. the hacking of diplomatic credentials discovered in December 2018 gave Chinese hackers access to confidential information on migration, security and energy policy, and others – thus effectively jeopardizing the bloc).
Although our initial work focused on mainly the abstract, keywords, theoretical challenges, as well as some practical and technical understanding of empirical cases, we have emphasized that this is part of a larger project on security studies in Europe and in international politics. In fact, this segment we had analyzed is a portion of my on PhD, thus I am proud that my own research has led to an exciting new path, which is supported by own supervisor’s work.
As a Research Associate at the Diplomatic Academy – University of Nicosia and PhD candidate at the Department of Politics and Governance, I received useful feedback from my supervisor during the in improving further on my presentation skills. In fact, the support provided to me by both my supervisor, as well as from other fellow researchers at the conference was of paramount importance. I have been able to utilize this and attend classes as a guest lecturer on International Relations Theory and Digital Diplomacy at my University.
Finally, this preliminary work has opened up new opportunities for further research within small states in Europe, particularly Cyprus, Malta, and Estonia. I have pursued partnerships with other researchers from King’s College London, the LSE, and the University of Auckland (New Zealand). Such partnerships are expressed in the form of future articles – a future publication examines grand strategy of small states within the EU, whereas another looks at the importance of critical infrastructure systems in small states.