For the first time since 2019, the Korea Arctic Academy was organized with an in-person and real-time component for students living in Korea. Coordinated real-time sessions were also hosted online so international students could join in the conversations and lectures. KAA provided a one-week education about Arctic policy, research, and international cooperation.
The week kicked off with in-person lectures from Ambassador Park Chong-Suk, Ambassador Anne Kari Ovind, Shin Hyoung Chul, and Oskari Lampi. Ovind and Lampi serve at the Norwegian and Finnish Embassies, respectively, in South Korea. They presented on their countries’ involvements in the Arctic and related policy areas. Park and Shin discussed Korea’s key policy issues in the Arctic and the impact of scientific cooperation on polar research. South Korea gained observer status in the Arctic Council in 2013, and research collaboration and maritime issues have been some of the core matters Korea has prioritized.
Social activities included a homecoming session for alumni of earlier KAAs. Alumni shared their experiences and how their work and research has been impacted by participating in the educational program. Students also introduced themselves, their interest in the Arctic, and their educational background. Later in the week, each student presented on a research topic of their choosing related to the Arctic; topics included Arctic shipping routes, icebreakers, citizen science efforts, security, and indigenous peoples.
The week closed with an Arctic Connect session in which UArctic Thematic Network on Northern Tourism member Young-Sook Lee presented her research on conspicuous consumption, leisure, and tourism among Asian tourists in the North. Brooks Kaiser, the Lead of the Thematic Network on Ocean Food Systems, discussed the necessity of Arctic research across multiple scales and fields. Kim Min-Su from Korea Maritime Institute spoke on the portrayal of Arctic in films as a way to discuss the Arctic with children. Chef Jeong Ma exhibited his experiences as a chef on KOPRI polar research trips, including the challenges related to transporting and preparing meals in extreme conditions with limited access to groceries. Lee Jae-Hak lectured on the impacts of climate change on the ocean, including topics of sea level change and the melting of sea ice.
At the graduation ceremony, participants were granted completion certificates for the course. Three selected students from Korea were awarded entrance to the upcoming 2023 Arctic Partnership Week in Busan, and three selected international students were awarded travel and entrance to the conference. Winning international students attend UArctic member institutions Tampere University and University of Akureyri.