BAHNE is short for Barents Arctic Network on Higher Education. It is a network of universities mainly within the Barents Euroarctic Region promoting teaching and research within the interdisciplinary field of Northern Studies. The project is led by the Department of Tourism and Northern Studies of UiT-The Arctic University of Norway (AUN) and has as of today the following partners: Murmansk Arctic State University (MASU), Luleå University of Technology (LUT), Higher School of Economics, Campus St. Petersburg (HSE), and Petrozavodsk State University (PetrSU). One goal of BANHE is to run teaching seminars based on-site visits like the short field course BBR which involved students from many countries. The project is funded by the Norwegian Barents Secretariat with additional support from the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education of AUN.
There were three full days with lectures, workshops and fieldwork/excursions in the Norwegian-Russian borderland. BANHE partners gave lectures on the global aspects, culture and regional development of the Barents Euroarctic Region. Emphasis was placed on the resilience of Norwegian-Russian cross-border collaboration and how it is upheld on an every-day basis in Sør-Varanger Municipality by local professionals, politicians and business-persons. Related issues discussed by teachers and students included peace and security, oil and gas development, bilateral fishery regulation, media and society, indigenous issues and the innovative impact of Barents artists’ public interventions. The rising importance in the high north of non-Arctic AC observer states such as China and South Korea was discussed not least since the BBR group include Southeast Asian students.
International students and Norwegian student visiting in Kirkenes on this occasion were mixed evenly into teams with Russian students participating on-line to solve given task jointly addressing challenges in security broadly defined, indigenous/minority cultural resilience or the challenges and opportunities brought by natural resources extraction in the High North. The student groups presented the results of their group work successfully on the final day of this BBR event. The UiT organizer of the BBR seminar are members of the Northern studies research group and teaching at the Bachelor of Northern studies programme at the UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Department of Tourism and Northern Studies.