The first group of the University of the Arctic (UArctic) Student Ambassadors meet in a four-day training workshop at UiT — The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, in connection with the Arctic Frontiers conference, January 17-20, 2015. The workshop includes briefings on the UArctic network and its activities, and training sessions on communication and social media. In addition, the workshop has a strong educational component, during which the students participate in lectures on contemporary Arctic issues from leading experts from across the UArctic network under the theme “Sustainable solutions for the Arctic.” The Student Ambassadors have group discussions, sharing experiences of different areas of the North to examine common challenges and potential solutions.

The academic lead of the workshop, Kari Laine, Director of the Thule Institute (University of Oulu) and UArctic Vice-President Research notes: “The key to the success of the workshop is how people from all across the Circumpolar North can learn from each other and share creative energy and engage in collaborative efforts irrespective of national boundaries.”

UArctic Student Ambassador Caitlyn Baikie from Labrador, and a student of Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada) highlights, “Being a part of the first group of student ambassadors for the University of the Arctic has been inspiring since day one. Tromsø is a beautiful host city for our diverse backgrounds, cultures, and educational interests. I look forward to continuing our work together and creating a positive future for our Arctic.” Alexander Terentjev from Syktyvkar State University in the Komi Republic (Russia) continues, “The knowledge I've gathered has helped me realize the amount of issues and problems of the Arctic and its people. They all need to be solved by us, the people living here, who understand these problems and care about our home.”

The presence of the Student Ambassadors in Tromsø is also an opportunity for these representatives of UArctic and its member institutions to meet with global leaders who are attending the Arctic Frontiers. A special seminar takes place on January 19 with Prince Albert II of Monaco. US Special Representative to the Arctic Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr. (ret) also meets with the Student Ambassadors ahead of the US taking on the chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Other political leaders having discussions with the Student Ambassadors and other UArctic representatives include the Prime Minister of Finland Alexander Stubb, Norway’s Minister Foreign Affairs Børge Brende, and Chair of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (MP, Parliament of Norway) Eirik Sivertsen, and US Special Advisor on Arctic Science and Policy Fran Ulmer. Other meetings will also take place with politicians from Sweden, the Kingdom of Denmark and Singapore.

“Indeed, with this list of dignitaries eager to meet with our Student Ambassadors, it is clear that the students are the real VIPs,” remarks UArctic Vice-President Organization Outi Snellman (UArctic International Secretariat, University of Lapland, Finland).

The UArctic Student Ambassador program was created in October 2014 by UArctic’s Board of Governors, as a select group of students drawn from our network of member higher education institutions. They represent a cross-section of the student body of our membership, and are selected based on their academic backgrounds and suitability for work in international cooperation. The Student Ambassadors act both as a bridge between UArctic’s leadership and programs, represent UArctic in different contexts, and work to promote UArctic activities and its member institutions to their peers.

See the profiles of the UArctic Student Ambassadors at education.uarctic.org/studies/students/student-ambassadors/ambassador-profiles/

The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, and other organizations committed to higher education and research in the North. Our members share resources, facilities, and expertise to build post-secondary education programs that are relevant and accessible to northern students. Our overall goal is to create a strong, sustainable circumpolar region by empowering northerners and northern communities through education and shared knowledge.

For more information:

Outi Snellman

UArctic International Secretariat
University of Lapland
Box 122, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
+358 40 5010209