The Fletcher School Opening Arctic Conference

Panels and Roundtables

Announced panels for Opening Arctic V, Fletcher's 2016 Arctic Conference:

Arctic Diplomacy Panel

Facilitated by Admiral James Stavridis

Drawing on their respective experiences with the Governments of Canada, Finland, Iceland, Japan and the United States, diplomats from these states will reflect on different approaches to Arctic policy, including but not limited to issues and opportunities around Arctic sustainable development, linkages across chairmanships of the Arctic Council, and common interests in the Arctic Ocean.

Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Business: Navigating a Path to Sustainable Arctic Development

Moderated by Professor Rockford Weitz 

As climate change makes the Arctic more accessible, economic interest in the region continues to grow. Arctic oil and gas development, shipping and trade, mineral resources, fisheries, tourism, and infrastructure development all offer major economic opportunities for a diverse set of stakeholders. At the same time, operating in the Arctic presents unique challenges – including the harsh climate, fragile ecosystem, lack of critical infrastructure, and absence of clear, consistent governance arrangements. What levels of investment and innovation are needed to achieve sustainability? How can nations and businesses partner to ensure that economic prosperity is balanced with environmental protection and social well-being? This panel will explore the opportunities and challenges associated with pursuing sustainable, safe, and inclusive economic development in the Arctic.

Advancing Pan-Arctic Infrastructure

Moderated by Professor Paul Berkman

The Arctic Ocean region is entering a new phase, from research on sustainable development as a common arctic issue to investment in sustainable infrastructure development on a pan-Arctic scale.  Thinking holistically, infrastructure involves the combination of fixed, mobile, and other built assets (including communications, research, observing and information systems) plus regulatory, policy, and other governance mechanisms (including insurance).  Responding to the risks and opportunities, science is a tool of diplomacy to achieve balance for sustainability in the new Arctic Ocean and across the Earth.


Roundtable Sessions:

Entrepreneurship in the Face of a Changing Planet: Why Collaborative Innovation is the Key to Sustainable Arctic Development

The changing physical dynamic of the Arctic presents undeniable opportunities for both the inhabitants of the region as well as the rest of the world. Improving transportation logistics and greater accessibility to resources has facilitated a growing economic interest while simultaneously ensuring the future will bring many new faces and activities to the area. In this session, we will explore the significant role that collaboration will play if we are to successfully achieve sustainable economic development. We will focus on how cluster initiatives offer a unique way to bring entrepreneurs together in a manner that promotes responsible business growth sensitive to a region’s regulatory and cultural identities. We will investigate the successes of the Iceland Ocean Cluster in particular, discussing how collaborative efforts have fueled greater utilization of existing resource streams, elevated commitment to sustainable methodologies, and encouraged a healthy entrepreneurial environment.

Student Arctic Research Showcase

Moderated by Professor Alan K. Henrikson

In this session, seven graduate students will present unique research on the Arctic. From defense strategies to science diplomacy, short presentations will introduce you to what students from Iceland, Norway, London believe are the hottest topics in Arctic studies. With time for discussion and questions, a dynamic conversation will develop on the intersection of these issues to provide a new perspective on the Arctic. This session brings students together to share knowledge and encourage collaboration, while allowing professionals insight into the work of young scholars.

Japan's Initiative in the Arctic

The first freighter to sail from Europe to Japan across the Arctic arrived in 2012. In the same year, a Japanese research organization announced that sea-ice extent of the Arctic Ocean was the smallest in recorded history. Japan is an official observer nation to the Arctic Circle. In this role, Japan has promoted an Arctic agenda focused on science, research, and respect for native peoples of the Arctic. How can Japan and other non-Arctic nations participate in shipping, economic development, and security in the Arctic? Please join Professor Atsushi Sunami, an expert in Japan's Arctic affairs, for a discussion focusing on Japan's initiative in the Arctic.

Considering Indigenous Perspectives in a Changing Arctic

When seeing the opening Arctic as an opportunity across various dimensions, one need also consider indigenous groups and other Northern residents in order to achieve sustainable Arctic development. Susan Kaplan, director of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum in Maine, is an anthropologist working with indigenous populations and will draw on her extensive knowledge of Arctic communities to address concerns faced by indigenous peoples living in a fast-changing environment. After an introductory presentation to stimulate thought-provoking questions, the audience will have the opportunity to engage with Prof. Kaplan and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum’s Assistant Curator, Anne Witty, in a conversation regarding concerns, challenges and opportunities for indigenous peoples.

Inuit Nunangat’s Economy: Past, Present, and Future

Inuit Nunangat is the region occupied by the Inuit of Canada and covers most of the Canadian Arctic. It is often seen as being less developed economically than the European and US Arctic. Its economic development has, however, been a priority for Canada since the 1950s and many solutions have been tried with very mixed success. Join Professor Rodon, expert on sustainable development in Northern Canada and Her Worship Madeleine Redfern, Mayor of Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital to analyze Canada’s Arctic development policies and describe the past, present, and possible future of Inuit Nunangat’s economy.