“The importance of our members in the Sakha Republic, in particular the Northeastern Federal University (NEFU), to the past, ongoing, and future development of UArctic was made abundantly clear to all in this meeting. Despite being in what many would consider a remote place and associated challenges, NEFU is active in all of UArctic’s programs. In some key areas like north2north mobility and Circumpolar Studies, they are clear leaders in terms of the number of their students engaged,” commented James McDonald, newly appointed Chair of the Council of the University of the Arctic.


Dancers from Arctic State Culture of Arts

Seven new members were accepted to the UArctic family, bringing the total number of members to 126. The new members are:
  • Filial of Baykal State University of Economics and Law in Yakutsk (Russia)
  • Higher School of Music (Russia)
  • Krasnoyarsk State Agrarian University (Russia)
  • Norilsk Institute of Industry (Russia)
  • Northern Teacher Education Program/Northern Professional Access College (Canada)
  • Russian State Hydro-meteorological University (Russia)
  • University of Bergen (Norway)
  • Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia)

The meeting began with the introduction of UArctic’s new Vice President Indigenous Affairs, Jan Henry Keskitalo, former member of UArctic’s the Board of Governors. Vice-President Keskitalo’s knowledge, experience, and contributions in the areas of indigenous education issues and traditional knowledge are invaluable assets that he brings to this leadership position in UArctic. Keskitalo will combine his role as UArctic Vice-President Indigenous Affairs with his position as Executive Chairperson of WINHEC (World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium).

Among the decisions made by Council in the meeting was the election of new members of UArctic’s Board of Governors. In addition to the re-election of the current Board Chair Barry Scherr and Vice-Chair Andrew Greenshaw, the Council also elected Lasse Lønnum (University Director of the University of Tromsø, Norway), Evgeniya Mikhailova (Rector of the North-Eastern Federal University, Russia), Frits Pannekoek (President of Athabasca University, Canada), Tove Søvndahl Pedersen (Director of Greenland Self-Government Office in Copenhagen and Chairman of the Board of Ilisimatusarfik, Greenland), and as the Board’s student representative, Ingá Elisá Påve (Sámi University College, Norway). These new members replace the departing Mikkel Berg, Jan Henry Keskitalo, Erling Olsen, and Emoke Szathmáry

NEFU’s own Claudia Fedorova stepped down as Council Chair, having served two terms from 2006 after having also previously served as Council Vice-Chair. Current Council Vice-Chair Jim McDonald was elected as Council Chair, and current Council Secretary Geir Gotaas was elected as Council Vice-Chair. These appointments will keep continuity in Council, but new energy will also be brought to the Council officers with the election of Sargylana Zhirkova (Scientific Research Institute for National Schools, Yakutsk, Russia). At the closing of the meeting, the Council recognized Claudia Fedorova’s long service on behalf of UArctic in an emotional celebration.