The International Summer School in Karelia (ISSK) is organized by the Petrozavodsk State University (Russia) and four Finnish universities: University of Lapland, University of Tampere, Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki, and the University of Eastern Finland. In 2010, the ISSK is organized jointly in cooperation with the Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University (CBU).

ISSK is a meeting-point for Russian and Nordic university students with focus on European, Russian and Northern studies. Since the initial Summer School in 2003, the goal has been to bring together a limited number (25-30) of MA students for one week at the Petrozavodsk State University (PetrSU), in order to further increase their knowledge of Nordic-Russian policies and cooperation, and promote dialogue and discussion.

Coming now into its 7th year of existence in 2010, the ISSK expands its scope, vision and geography to attract larger audience of students and provide them with a more diversified academic, professional and social learning experience.

ISSK'10 is purposed for the students of international relations, politics, other relevant social sciences, economics and ecology.

ISSK’10: Changing Geopolitics and International Relations in the North

In classical geopolitics, the northernmost regions of the globe have been discussed as a reserve of natural resources and a space for the military. This periphery, either the entire circumpolar North or the Eurasian North or the European North, is also a homeland of indigenous peoples with their identities, and those of the settlers. Historically, states with national borders and demarcated territories expanded their influence. Thus, northern regions, particularly the Eurasian North, were industrialized and militarized after the 2nd World War.

The high political and military tension of the Cold War started to thaw in the 1990s as a result of increased interrelations between peoples and civil societies, as well as the region-building of nation-states. On one hand, this significant geopolitical change brought into cooperation new, mostly non-governmental (international) actors, and created new kinds of relations between them and inter-governmental organizations, such as the EU, NATO and the AC, and the states of the regions, such as Russia and Finland. This change also triggered off new geopolitical approaches, such as environmental protection, societal responsibility and the politics of identity.

In the early-21st century, some interpretations emphasize the "Race for the Arctic", claiming that the region could become a field of an armed conflict due to a fight over natural resources within the continental shelf. None of these is, however, happening, despite of the growing geo-strategic importance of the High North. Instead, a significant multi-functional geopolitical, socio-economic and environmental change is taking place.

Although so far it is not easy to analyse the on-going change, several indicators with geopolitical aspects, such as an importance of state sovereignty, energy security, institutionalized international cooperation and climate change affect to it. Finally, on one hand, there is a growing global interest toward the region and its natural resources, and on the other, the High North plays more important role in world politics.