The Institute of the North is calling on partners at the local, state and national level to join it in a new endeavor. The Institute of the North's board of directors met yesterday and named 2015 through 2017 the "Years of the Arctic." With the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the release of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission's draft Arctic policy and implementation plan, and increased global attention, it is important to the Institute that more be done to highlight the relevance of the Arctic for Alaskans and the nation.
"What better way to leverage the timing of the Chairmanship, Alaskan interests and circumpolar engagement than by focusing all of our attention on making a difference in the Arctic," notes Drue Pearce, chair of the Institute of the North. "This opportunity does not present itself often and the Institute of the North, in collaboration with partners, intends to increase public awareness, facilitate crucial conversations, and bring the necessary stakeholders to the table for future success."
What this means for the Institute will be monthly programming – the Arctic Policy Forum – that will connect subject matter experts and community leaders in conversations impacting Alaska's Arctic region. Quarterly Alaska Arctic Business Roundtables will further work done in prior years and potentially contribute to the work of the Arctic Economic Council.
Gone (for now) will be the Week of the Arctic, but in its place will be specially designed Alaska Arctic Policy Tours, set to coincide with and complement meetings of the Arctic Council. These 2-3 day events will occur in Alaska's Arctic hub communities (e.g.; Unalaska, Nome, Kotzebue, and Barrow), updating Alaskans on circumpolar affairs; highlighting local concerns for visiting delegations and domestic policy makers; and showcasing the capacity and capabilities of Alaskan communities and businesses.
The signature event for 2015 will be the Arctic Energy Summit, in Fairbanks, but also held will be the Hickel Day of the Arctic on August 18, in Anchorage. In 2016 the Institute will be assisting with the Arctic Social Science Week and hosting the Northern Regions Mining Summit. "Throughout these two years we will be finding ways to add value to the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, connecting it to Alaskan issues and Alaskans to the Arctic Council," says Nils Andreassen, the Institute's Executive Director. "We believe an Alaskan host committee would also be useful during this time, and will be working to develop this further."
(Source: Institute of the North)