Ma-Mawi (Senior Leadership Team)

UArctic's day-to-day activities are overseen by the President and Vice-Presidents, who collectively form the Senior Leadership Team, known as Ma-Mawi. Watch video messages from the leadership.

Lars Kullerud
Has overall responsibility for UArctic's operations and oversees the senior administration.
Lars Kullerud has held the position of President of UArctic since May 2002. Throughout his UArctic Presidency, Lars has continued to foster an academic interest in the northern environment and development issues and published several academic papers on the issue in addition to representing UArctic. Before joining the UArctic team, he was the Polar Programme Manager for GRID-Arendal which serves as UNEP's (United Nations Environment Program) key polar centre. His academic background is in Precambrian Geology and Isotope Geochemistry, geostatistics, petroleum resource assessments, as well as assessments of the Arctic environment.
Outi Snellman
Oversees the UArctic organization, with primary responsibility for supporting UArctic's membership, governance and management structures, as well as internal and external communication. Head of UArctic International Secretariat.
Outi Snellman has worked in international education and the development of cooperation in higher education in the circumpolar region for over 25 years in her capacity as the Director of International Relations at the University of Lapland (1990- ) and Secretary General for the Circumpolar Universities Association (1992-1998) as well as Vice-President Organization of the University of the Arctic.
Kirsi Latola
Responsibility areas: Main contact point for UArctic Thematic Networks and Institutes. from planning to proposal and establishment and operation of the network. Supports Thematic Networks in their activities including strategies for fundraising. Promotes Thematic Networks and their activities to the wider public.
Over the past fifteen years PhD Kirsi Latola has worked in several Polar coordination actions and holds a positions of research coordinator at the Thule Institute at the University of Oulu, Director of University of the Arctic Thematic Networks and Chair of the European Polar Board. She has managed several national and international projects on Arctic research and coordination, knowledge sharing including organising several international events and graduate education. As a Director of Thematic Networks she has managed the University of the Arctic (UArctic) Thematic Networks strategic area since 2005. I addition to her work for UArctic and supporting the Arctic research conducted at the University of Oulu, she is leading the transnational access work package and acts as a Transnational access Watch Dog in INTERACT - International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (H2020 2016-21, 2020-24) and leads a work package on stakeholder engagement in the EU-PolarNet 2 project on coordinating and co-designing the European Polar Research area (H2020, 2020-2024). Her expertise in the project is a stakeholder engagement which follows the work and white paper she completed during the first EU-Polarnet (2015-20).
Arja Rautio
Develops and oversees UArctic’s research strategy. Support the current collaboration and actions of the Thematic Networks.
Arja Rautio has been working in the field of circumpolar health since 2006 at the Thule Institute and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu. Her research interests are on health and wellbeing of populations living in the changing Arctic, marginalization, indigenous health and wellbeing, research ethics and human-environment relationships. She has been the Lead of international Master’s and Doctoral programs. Dr Rautio is a member of the Human Health Expert groups of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme and Sustainable Development Working Group (Co-Chair 2017-19), Social and Human Sciences Group of the International Arctic Science Committee, a board member of the International Union of Circumpolar Health and Chair of the Nordic Society of Circumpolar Health.
Sheila Downer
Provides strategic leadership for UArctic’s economic development.
Sheila Downer has been a strong advocate for the development of rural and northern communities in Canada for more than 30 years. She has a strong background in regional development and her work has built strong connections with municipal, business, education, health, tourism, crafts, and regional development sectors. She has been the lead for major ICT initiatives, involving indigenous communities, private sector companies and governments. These partnerships resulted in the development of local knowledge, skills and effective tools to support the way people live, work and do business in northern communities.
Diane Hirshberg
Provides strategic leadership for all of UArctic's academic activities.
Diane Hirshberg is Professor of Education Policy at the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage. She also serves as Associate Vice President Academic for UArctic, and sits on the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. Board and the International Arctic Social Sciences Association Council. Her research interests include education policy analysis, indigenous education, circumpolar education issues, and the role of education in sustainable development. She has studied the boarding school experiences of Alaska Native students, teacher supply, demand and turnover, including the cost of teacher turnover in Alaska, co-authored the Education chapter for the Arctic Human Development Report II, and co-edited “Including the North: A Comparative Study of the Policies on Inclusion and Equity in the Circumpolar North.” Dr. Hirshberg currently teaches in the Master of Public Policy Program in the UAA College of Business and Public Policy. She has a PhD in Education from UCLA, a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University and two bachelor’s degrees from UC Berkeley.
Isabelle Guissard
Provides strategic leadership for all of UArctic's mobility related activities. Management and international coordination of the north2north mobility program, guidance to new north2north member institutions.
Isabelle Guissard has a PhD in Nordic Languages from Paris-Sorbonne University from 2009. She wrote her doctoral thesis about the language policy implemented in Finnmark between 1700 and 2000 and the impact it had on the Sámi people’s possibility to use their own language and show their own cultural identity. Her main research interest is about national and regional policies as tools to support the use of indigenous people’s languages. Isabelle has been working for UiT The Arctic University of Norway since 2011. She has been involved with both internationalization and research administration during the past 10 years. She was the north2north National Agency for Norway until 2019 when she took over the international coordination of north2north (ICO). She has been working together with former UArctic VP Mobility during the past 2 years until she took over the position as VP Mobility in January 2022.
Rebecca Mearns
Strengthens Indigenous perspectives within the network, and ensures that UArctic contributes to the well-being of Northern Indigenous communities.

Mimir (Academic Advisory Committee)

Mimir is the UArctic Academic Advisory Committee, which serves as a high-level strategic body for UArctic.

Avatitsinni (formerly Indigenous Issues Committee)

This committee works with the Vice-President Indigenous to ensure that all UArctic activities support and reflect indigenous values, perspectives and systems of knowledge. See also Indigenization.