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Fletcher in the News

Notes from the 'Warming Arctic' Conference Hosted by The Fletcher School

The Arctic Circle: Earth's final frontier?

MEDFORD, Massachusetts — The Arctic Circle is the next gold rush with eight nations holding territory in the melting tundra all vying to stake a claim to the bountiful resources that lie beneath the ice flows.

Or, the Arctic Circle is the next utopia, a global commons where mankind can work together to save the environment and the traditions of its indigenous people while responsible investors harvest resources the planet will need to survive.

Or, it is all of these things.

The truth is that the Arctic Circle is a tabula rasa, a place where political leaders, business investors, environmentalists, dreamers and schemers are all trying to assert their will and give shape to its uncertain future.

What is clear is that the Arctic Circle holds the world’s largest supply of untapped resources, particularly oil and gas, as well as rare minerals. Most economists agree it stands to become the last great emerging market in the global economy.

At an extraordinary conference this week at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Iceland’s President Olafur Grimsson gathered along with more than 50 leading diplomats, politicians, academics, environmentalists and business entrepreneurs to address the foreign policy, economic, environmental and security implications in the Arctic.

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