Political Science Dept. launches program focused on challenges facing small countries

Issues that have particular consequences for small countries, including those in the Caribbean, will be the focus of a new program at the University of Central Florida.

The Isle of Man Small Countries Program aims to develop greater awareness about small countries; encourage the exchange of information about their security, political, economic, social and environmental issues; and facilitate links between UCF and those countries. Toward those ends, it will present public discussions involving prominent speakers, panels and other meetings; encourage scholarship; and work with partners from the United States, the Isle of Man and the Caribbean.

The program is a cooperative undertaking of UCF’s Global Perspectives Office, UCF’s Political Science Department, the Small Countries Financial Management Centre (SCFMC) on the Isle of Man, and the Global Connections Foundation. It is supported by the Ellan Vannin Fund of the Global Connections Foundation, in association with the Isle of Man business community.

“This small-countries initiative represents yet another step in UCF’s efforts to sharpen its international focus and bring more global content into the regional mainstream,” said John C. Bersia, special assistant to the president for Global Perspectives at UCF.

Tim Cullen, executive director of the SCFMC, said the program will build upon the work of the center “in underscoring and addressing the unique challenges facing small countries, which are disproportionately affected by global forces.” Cullen added that the SCFMC “was established with the purpose of contributing to the growth and prosperity of small countries through education programs that provide improved skills in government financial activities.”

Kerstin Hamann, chair of the Political Science Department at UCF, said “the program represents an excellent opportunity for cooperation in light of our new Ph.D. program in security studies, as well as many of our other global interests.”

Because of UCF’s proximity to and connections with the Caribbean, the program will have a special focus on that region, but it will also promote awareness and discussion of small-country issues throughout the world.

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