The Winter School included lectures and workshops given by Russian, US and Norwegian experts in the field of Arctic policy and international relations. A role-play took three days and included three stages: Working Groups Session, Senior Arctic Officials Session and Ministerial Meeting.
The Working Group Session took place on Wednesday. The Winter School participants took the roles of representatives of different countries, Permanent Participants and members of other working groups of the Arctic Council, such as AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program), CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna) and others. Some of participants played roles the Arctic Council Observers as well.
The participants of the Model Arctic Council discussed issues that could get in the agenda of a real meeting of the Arctic Council. For example, they discussed a project proposed by the Russian Federation. Peeyapat Rabieb (she took the role of a representative of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North) spoke about the main aspects of the project which aims to support reindeer herding.
On Thursday, the students simulated the Senior Arctic Officials Session of the Arctic Council which actually takes place twice a year. The Winter School participants presented reports on current projects of their groups. After the presentations and discussions of these projects, the students began to work on the text of the declaration.
On Friday, the simulation of Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council took place in the framework of the winter school. The students presented the text of the declaration, which included various projects that could be useful for the sustainable development of the Arctic region. At the end of the Winter School participants discussed the results of their work during the week and shared their experience with us.
Alexandra Giese, Dartmouth College (USA):
It was very interesting to see the new projects being developed, when the ideas gain structure and transform into real projects and get in the declaration. The brainstorming was very good. We got hands-on experience and now we know about all the procedures of the Arctic Council, about the priorities and potential topics for discussion related to the Arctic.
Brittanie Walker-Reid, Nordland University (Norway):
The Model Arctic Council experience was a tremendous opportunity to learn about Arctic issues and Arctic diplomacy. We developed skills in consensus-based decision-making in tacking current and future challenges of the Arctic. Furthermore, we networked with many bright individuals from various countries. Here, we fostered relationships which will continue to be professionally helpful as we develop our careers into the scientific, political and civic leadership of the future. I personally felt inspired by the capability of the Arctic to unify so many people from different nations and areas of expertise. Whether from backgrounds in political science, social work, international relations, languages, economics or environmental sciences and sustainability, we all understood the MAC experience as one which brought us together to practice skills in protecting this vulnerable portion of the globe. Perhaps our enthusiastic energy to this end was derived from an understanding that the continued sustainability of this land is directly linked to that of our own health and wellness. There is something which went beyond ‘work’ and ‘study’ when it came to this task. For me, it’s an opportunity to model a way of relating to each other and to our environment which reduces harm and elevates our potential for creativity in producing sustainable solutions for our generations to come.
The Winter School Model Arctic Council took place in Arkhangelsk on February 25-28
Wed, Mar 12, 2014
The Winter School Model Arctic Council hold under the auspices of the University of the Arctic (one of the Arctic Council Observers) took place in Northern Arctic Federal University on 25-28 February 2014. The Winter School attracted proactive Master and PhD students from different countries, lecturers, practitioners from academic and administrative institutions and business in the Arctic region, and offered unparalleled opportunities for recruiting top talent. Attendees learnt about recent and ongoing projects of the Arctic Council and discussed their opinion on the issues with researchers and practitioners in the field. Students from the UArctic member institutions, such as University of Alaska Fairbanks (USA), Dartmouth College (USA), Nordland University (Norway), North-Eastern Federal University (Russia) and others, took an active part in this event.