Norwich School Model Arctic Council: A case study in promoting Arctic awareness and understanding amongst youth

Lead Author Anthony, Speca
Institution Contact Polar Aspect Consulting, 25 The Maltings, Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham, Bungay, NR35 2SA UK -and- Norwich School, 71A The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DD, UK
Theme Theme 4: Building Long-term Human Capacity
Session Name 4.6 Gaining a better understanding and awareness of the Arctic through education and outreach
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 04:00 PM - 04:15 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text Norwich School, one of the UK's leading co-educational independent day-schools, held a Model Arctic Council (MAC) on 2nd July 2016, under the direction of a member of staff with experience living and working as a government official in the Canadian Arctic. MAC is a simulation of the institutions and processes of the real Arctic Council, with pupils playing the roles of official representatives of the eight Arctic States, six indigenous Permanent Participants and various observers. Unlike Model United Nations, MACs are a relatively new educational development. Whilst a number of MACs have now been held at university level, research suggests that the Norwich School MAC may have been the first MAC in Europe, and only the second in the world, at secondary-school level. As the Norwich School MAC had yet to be held at the time of writing, outcomes will be reported the 2016 UArctic Congress, along with commentary on pupil learning, organisational issues, and plans to hold a second, larger MAC in 2017. However, initial preparations suggest pupils are already being exposed to many issues of Arctic governance, indigenous rights, community and economic development, environmental policy and geopolitics to which they had little or no previous exposure. Indeed, where the standard UK secondary-school curriculum focuses on the polar regions at all, it tends to emphasise the physical geography of the Antarctic or of glaciated regions generally. It seems likely that it is the very rare UK secondary-school pupil who enters university inspired to study the Arctic further, whether as a natural or social scientist. For these reasons, the Norwich School MAC has the potential to become a primary channel for promoting Arctic awareness and understanding amongst UK youth and, if grown over time to national or international scale, perhaps also more widely in Europe and beyond.
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