2017 Breakout Sessions

Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30

Breakout Sessions are organized by the respective partners of the Arctic Circle, organizations, institutions, companies, think tanks, universities, or other bodies.

Climate justice – the moral imperative to act. Faith leaders in dialogue with science and decision makers

Organized by the World Council of Churches and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (5. October 2017)

Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Þjóðmenningarhúsið, Hverfisgata 15



Opening Remarks by His ALL-Holiness Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I


  • Anders Wejryd, Archbishop Emeritus of the Church of Sweden, European President of the World Council of Churches
  • Clarisse Kehler Siebert, International lawyer and research fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute
  • Rev. Rodney Petersen, PhD, Executive Director of Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries and Visiting Researcher, Boston University School of Theology
  • Halldór Björnsson, the Group leader of Weather and Climate Research, Icelandic Met. Office


Ögmundur Jónasson, Former Minister of Health and Interior, Iceland

Food and Agriculture Opportunities in South Greenland – Under A Changing Climate

Organized by Aarhus University, Department of Agroecology (5. October 2017)

Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Norðurljós, Second Level


  • C. K. Madsen, Greenland National Museum & Archives: The history of the cultural landscape in South Greenland
  • Kenneth Høgh, Kujalleq kommune: Present day agriculture
  • Jørgen E. Olesen, Professor, AU AGRO: Future climate in South Greenland
  • Mogens H. Greve, AU AGRO: Climate adaption of Greenland Agriculture
  • Martin Marko Hansen, Mayers Madhus: A taste of Greenland, Food Opportunities in south Greenland

Expanding Arctic Indigenous Collaborations

Organized by Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC) (5. October 2017)

Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Skarðsheiði, Third Level



  • Lars Nelson, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation Vice President of Lands: Connecting the American Arctic – Barrow, Alaska
  • Mike Sfraga, Wilson Center, Polar Initiative Director: The Future Arctic: Indigenous Communities as Essential Drivers of Economic and Social Success
  • Alice Rogoff, Arctic Now, Founder: Importance of Community-Based Development
  • “Constructive Collaborations Between Indigenous Peoples and the Researchers”
    • Nagruk Harcharek, UIC Science, General Manager
    • Harry K. Brower Jr., North Slope Borough Mayor
  • Catherine Coral Simons, Department of Transportation Committee on the Marine Transportation System, Senior Maritime Infrastructure Advisor: Infrastructure Policy & Finance: Arctic Spotlight
  • Halldór Jóhannsson, Arctic Portal Executive Director (Iceland): Arctic Cooperation and Business Development Driven by Knowledge and Effective Information Exchange
  • Joseph Ahmaogak, Olgoonik,Chairman of the Board of Directors: A View from a Traditional Whaling Village
  • Anders Oskal, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry Executive Director: Unique Cross-Border Cooperation Between Arctic Reindeer Peoples

Increasing International Cooperation on Arctic Science Via Ministerial Meetings

Organized by the European Commission Directorate General of Research & Innovation, the Ministry for Education and Culture of Finland, the Ministry for Education and Research of Germany and the United States Arctic Research Commission (5. October 2017)

Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Silfurberg A, Second Level



  • Fran Ulmer, Vice-Chair of the White House Arctic Science Ministerial, and Chair of the United States Arctic Research Commission: The Arctic Science Ministerial 2016: Why was it held and what was its goal
  • Martin Jeffries, Assistant Director of Polar Science, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy: Organizing an Arctic Science Ministerial: Lessons Learned and Best Practices
  • Andrea Tilche, Head of Climate Action and Earth Observation Unit of the European Commission, DG Research & Innovation; Member of the EU Delegation for the 2018 Arctic Science Ministerial: The Arctic Science Ministerial 2018: Objectives and Goals
  • Wilfried Kraus, Head of directorate Sustainability, Climate, Energy, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany: Germany’s Contribution to International Science Collaboration in the Arctic
  • Tapio Kosunen, Director General, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland: How Arctic Science Has Been Advanced in the Work of the Arctic Council.
  • Gunn-Britt Retter, Head of the Arctic and Environment Unit, Saami Council: Some Reflections on why Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Matters for Science Ministers

Regional cross-boarder cooperation in the Arctic in a challenging geopolitical context

Organized by Troms County Council, Norway (14. September 2017)

All the Arctic states, including Russia, have seemingly buffered circumpolar cooperation from broader geopolitical tensions. The Arctic becomes the glue that keeps the world together, the place where the dialogue continues.


Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Akrafjall, Fourth Level

The most often raised question now is whether the Arctic dialogue, the Arctic partnership, is robust enough to withstand the conflicts that play out in other parts of the world.
In this session, we want to have a closer look at the dynamics of cross-border relations in the Arctic on the national and regional levels, focusing mostly on the relations between Norway and Russia. We want to share our experience on how regional cross-border cooperation not only addresses the goals set for regional development but also provides important arenas for the dialogue between the Arctic states.


  • Knut-Eirik Dybdal, CEO, Arctic Race of Norway
  • Kristin Røymo, The mayor of the City of Tromsø,
  • Maria Utsi, director of Arctic Arts Festival and co-founder of Arctic Arts Summit
  • Marina Krasilnikova, Living Standards research director, Analytical Center of Yuri Levada (Levada-Center, Moscow, Russia)
  • Willy Ørnebakk, chair of the Troms County Government.
  • Kjell Dragnes, former Foreign Editor of Aftenposten, Norway
  • Anne Husebekk, Rector UiT, Tromsø University
  • Hilde Sandvik, board member of Amedia

Climate change and security – searching for a paradigm shift

Organized by NRF-UArctic Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security (13. September 2017)

The focus of this session is comprehensive security, and how discourses on environmental and human security have shown a need for changes in problem definition of security. The post-Cold War Arctic with special features of security (e.g., nuclear safety), as well as a shift in premises from military to environmental security (e.g., due to pollution), is seriously faced by grand challenges / wicked problems, particularly by the combination of pollution and climate change.


Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Kaldalón, Ground Level

Rapid climate change and the Anthropocene can be interpreted as global factors promoting a peaceful change, though this is not determined but needs action. This session will argue that there is a growing need for discourse and paradigm shift in approach of traditional (nationally-defined) security due to (rapid) climate change. There is a plan to produce a publication based on this session, which would continue the publication series by the TN on Geopolitics and Security (see, Future Security of the Global Arctic (2016), Security and Sovereignty in the North Atlantic (2014) by Palgrave Pivot).


  • Heather Exner-Pirot, Strategist for Outreach and Indigenous Engagement, University of Saskatchewan: Between Militarization and Disarmament: Challenges for Arctic Security in the 21st Century
  • Salla Kalliojärvi, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Lapland: Global Security, Policy and the Arctic under Changing Climate: Examining the Climate Security Discourse
  • Wilfrid Greaves, Assistant Professor of International Relations, University of Victoria: Cities, Security, and Environmental Change in a Warming Arctic
  • Sanna Kopra, Post-doc, University of Lapland: China, Climate Change and International Security: Changing Attributes of Great Power Responsibility


  • Lassi Heininen, Professor, University of Lapland

Northern Sea Route – Impact on Global Trade

Organized by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) (13. September 2017)

International trade continues to define the prosperity of national economies and even the development of cultures. Conversely, economic growth enhances the global trade, motivates the tariff reduction and other trade liberalization policies. About 80% of global trade relies on the maritime transport.



Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30

Once the Northern Sea Route (NSR) becomes a viable transportation corridor to connect Europe and Asia, it may significantly re-shape the existing trade flows, which will also eventually have an impact on the political layout worldwide. To become operational on a large scale, the NSR requires massive investments, which may come from emerging Asian economies. This session will present and discusses a research project aimed at investigating the effects of an enhanced NSR onto the global trade under market, geo-political and climate uncertainty. The project intends to analyze plausible pathways, identify winners and losers, and suggest scenarios maximizing the benefits for as many interested parties as possible.


  • Elena Rovenskaya, Director, Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA) Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, IIASA and
  • Michael Obersteiner, Program Director of the Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program, Ecosystem Services and Management Program, IIASA: Northern Sea Route - A Game Changer for Global Trade?
  • Lawson W. Brigham, Distinguished Faculty, University of Alaska Fairbanks: The NSR: Gateway to Global Markets
  • Dmitry Yumashev, Senior Research Associate, Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business of the Lancaster University, and Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, University of Cambridge: Towards a Balanced View of Arctic Shipping: Estimating Economic Impacts of Emissions from Increased Traffic on the Northern Sea Route
  • Natsuhiko Otsuka, Professor, Arctic Research Center, Hokkaido University: Possibility and issues of liner shipping via the Northern Sea Route
  • Liisa Kauppila, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Turku and Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen, Professor, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway,: China-Arctic Maritime and Energy Systems in the Making: Functional Regionalisation in the High North
  • Tero Vauraste, President and Chief Executive Officer, Arctia Ltd., Chair of Arctic Economic Council: Business Perspective

Sustainable Arctic Development in the Era of Low Carbon Transition

Organized by the Arctic Institute, the Scottish Government, UK Government Science & Innovation Network – Nordics (13. September 2017)

While there is a great deal of research about the impact of climate change on the Arctic, there is much less work about the role the Arctic itself can play in making the transition to a low carbon economy that is critical to the region’s economy, environment, and public health. 


Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Hafnarkot, Ground Level

This breakout session will bring together cross-disciplinary academic and industry experts from the Arctic states and the UK to explore the challenges, opportunities, and scalability of current low-carbon energy projects and development methods. The aim of this event is to foster a dialogue between Arctic and non-Arctic stakeholders to identify pathways to reduce the carbon footprint and wider environmental, economic, and health impacts of Arctic development, by exploiting low carbon innovation to produce clean energy and industrial decarbonisation, as well as adopting strategies around corporate environmental and social responsibility. The session will begin with a series of 10-minute presentations, followed by an interactive panel discussion and Q&As from the audience.


  • Antti Arasto, Research Manager, Solutions for Natural Resources and Environment, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland: Wealth from bio economy - national economy perspective on transition to integrated bio- and low carbon technologies
  • Enrique Troncoso, Engineering Consultant / Project leader at Boeing Research & Technology: BIG HIT: Creating a Green Hydrogen Energy System in the Orkney Islands
  • Edvard Glücksman, Senior Environmental and Social Specialist at Wardell Armstrong LLP and University of Exeter: Lessons from Central Asia
  • Berit Kristoffersen, Political geographer and associate professor at UiT – the Arctic University of Norway: Post-petroleum Arctic futures: Potentials and controversies
  • Jane Burston, Head of Energy and Environment, National Physical Laboratory: Measuring methane: from lasers to ghostbusters
  • Gwen Holdmann, Director, Alaska Center for Energy and Power, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Andy Kerr, Executive Director, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI), University of Edinburgh: Shared lessons for the Arctic from developing vibrant low carbon communities and regions


Louise Heathwaite, Professor of Land and Water Science in the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University

Necessary Adaptations: Dialogue through Contemporary Art

Organized by the Anchorage Museum, Museum Cerny Inuit Collection and Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association (11. September 2017)

Ongoing changes in the Arctic––climatic, social and economic––are often mirrored in the contemporary art of artists who have a close connection with these challenges. This session is aimed at continuing the dialogue about how contemporary art (in all its forms) can create awareness and understanding about the impact and necessary adaptations that involve us all. 


Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Esja, Fifth Level


  • Julie Decker, Director of the Anchorage Museum, Alaska, USA
  • Sonya Kelliher Combs, artist, Alaska, USA
  • Holly Nordlum, artist, Alaska, USA
  • Maya Sialuk Jacobson, Tattoo and visual artist, Greenland
  • Bill Nasogaluak, artist, Canada
  • Jesse Tungalik, Director of Nunavut Arts and Crafts, Canada
  • Martha Cerny, Curator, Bern, Switzerland
  • Anna Hudson, York University, Toronto

Challenges and possibilities in the north: Emerging markets and sustainability in arctic tourism

Organized by the Arctic Working Group of the Danish Parliament (11. September 2017)

The beauty of the Arctic areas attracts increasing numbers of tourists every year. For Iceland the past decades’ tourist boom continues, whilst tourism in emerging markets like the Faroe Islands and Greenland presents unexplored possibilities for economic growth and social benefits. However, new opportunities also present new challenges.


Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Ríma B, Ground Level

As sparsely populated natural environments are ever more exposed to tourists, infrastructure and area management are often found lacking. The dilemma pushes public and local authorities to develop policies geared for accommodating the increased number of tourists without jeopardizing natural or cultural environment. Focusing on emerging markets and sustainability, this session opens with a talkshow on the Icelandic case, and what the Faroe Islands and Greenland can learn from it. Sustainability and long-term considerations are seen as key to a successful tourism policy package, and therefore the session’s second part will present the case of the sustainability certification of Snæfellsnes regional park.


  • Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Member of the Danish Parliament
  • Aleqa Hammond, Member of the Danish Parliament
  • Árni Gunnarsson, Managing Director, Air Iceland
  • Helga Árnadóttir, Managing Director, Icelandic Travel Industry Associations
  • Jóhan Pauli Helgason, Adviser, Faroese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Magni Arge, Member of the Danish Parliament; former CEO of Atlantic Airways
  • Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttir, Director, Snæfellsnes Regional Park
  • Sjúrður Skaale, Member of the Danish Parliament; Chairman of the Arctic Working Group
  • Stefán Gíslason, Senior Sustainability Consultant and Owner; Environice Consulting
  • Yewlin Tay, Director of Sales & Marketing, Arctic Wonderland Tours


The Arctic Working Group of the Danish Parliament

The best PhD students of Québec and the Nordics: Lightning talks from the The Mon projet nordique / My Northern Project competition

Organized by the Institut nordique du Québec (INQ), the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) and NordForsk (7. September 2017)

Arctic Circle delegates are invited to the final of the Mon projet nordique competition, which brings together twelve PhD students from Québec (Canada) and the Nordic countries. These remarkable research students are ready to present their research projects, each of which targets a critical issue currently facing northern environments, to which their research work should provide innovative potential solutions.


Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Björtuloft, Fifth Level 

The Mon projet nordique competition, funded by the INQ, the FRQNT and Nordforsk, took place on two continents over the past six months and brought together a total of sixty participants.
Come listen to the students’ five-minute presentations and vote for a “Public’s Choice” winner from each continent!


  • Charles Brunette, PhD student in atmospheric and ocean sciences, McGill University: Regional and seasonal forecasts of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean
  • Julie Ducrocq, PhD student in epidemiology, Université Laval: Subsistence activities, infectious diseases and global change in Nunavik: improving prevention and promoting Inuit traditions through documentation
  • François Lapointe, PhD student in Earth sciences, INRS-ETE: Investigating modes of climate variability in the Arctic through annual sediment layers
  • Gwyneth Anne MacMillan, PhD student in biological sciences, Université de Montréal: Not that rare after all! Rare earth elements in Arctic terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
  • Mélissande Nagati, PhD student in environmental science, UQAT, and in biodiversity, ecology and evolution, Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse, France): Effect of vegetation cover and microorganisms on the establishment of fir seedlings in boreal forest
  • Barbara Vuillaume, PhD student in biology, Université Laval: Using camera collars to study calf survival among migratory caribou
  • Jaakko Pietarinen, PhD student, Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki: What characterises a good reindeer mother
  • Jasmiini Pylkkänen, PhD student, Department for Cultural Anthropology, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Sandra Fischer, PhD student, Department for Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Mariia Nesterenko, PhD student, Department of Sociology, Archangelsk University: Human health in the Arctic as social value
  • Majken Paulsen, PhD student, Faculty of Social Sciences, Nord University: Human-nature interactions in the Arctic; ecological alterations, emerging infectious diseases and impacts on human and non-human well-being
  • Barbara Baczynska, PhD student, in Sociology, Nord University: Cultural foundation of adaptation to climate change impacts, especially climate sensitive infections, among pastoral communities in northern Norway

Polar Law: Alaska

Organized by University of Akureyri (7. September 2017)

The session explores three pressing legal issues in Alaska. First of all, Professor Norchi assesses whether and how the United States can secure sovereign rights to the resources of the Outer Continental Shelf beyond 200 nautical miles whilst remaining outside of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. 


Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Viðey, Second Level

Dr Schane explains and evaluates Alaskan measures to ensure that indigenous communities benefit from the development of local fisheries and asks what lessons can be learned from other industries in the Arctic. Miss Mackie examines the interplay between climate change, projections for ice-loss and the designation of species as ‘threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act.


  • Charles Norchi, Professor of Law, Director, Center for Oceans and Coastal Law, University of Maine School of Law & Fulbright-Ministry for Foreign Affairs Arctic Scholar: The Extended Continental Shelf of the American Arctic: Lex Imperfecta?
  • Demian Schane, Attorney-Advisor, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of General Counsel: Involving Alaska Native communities in the Development of Commercial Fisheries: A Review of Community Development Quota Program and Its Potential for Broader Application
  • Sarah Mackie, PhD Candidate, Newcastle Law School; Visiting Researcher, Harvard Law School: When the Ice Melts - Using Climate Change Predictions in Endangered Species Designations in Arctic Alaska


Claire Wallace, M.A. Polar law candidate, University of Akureyri

Fulbright in the Arctic – Meet the Scientists Invitation to engage with Fulbright Arctic Research Scientists and provide input into their work

Organized by: Fulbright Commission Iceland in cooperation with the US State Department‘s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the National Science Foundation. (5. September 2017)

Fulbright scholars and fellows, who are commencing Arctic research projects in Iceland, will provide a brief overview of their projects, before the meeting breaks up into roundtables to discuss each project.


Saturday, October 14, 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Háaloft, Eighth Level

The panelist will give some additional information at the start of the group work and then invite comments, questions and advice from the participants. This will give the researchers an opportunity to discuss their project with interested members of the public and give conference participants an opportunity to engage with the scientists and bring up issues, concerns, questions and comments in the early stages of the research project, including insights from other Arctic countries, different disciplines and approaches. The session will help the scientists to achieve a broader perspective on their research, make useful contacts and gain new insights. Each group will briefly report back on their discussions. Finally, participants will be given information on future Fulbright Arctic opportunities.

Roundtable Discussions

  • Bradley Barr, University of New Hampshire, Affiliate Professor, Fulbright-NSF Arctic Research Scholar at the Stefánsson Arctic Institute: Preserving Whaling Heritage in Iceland
  • John Bodinger, Chair, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Susquehanna University, Fulbright-NSF Arctic research scholar at the University of Iceland: Museums and Sovereignties: Displaying "the National" as Public Identity Narrative
  • Jay Nelson, Professor of Biological Sciences, Towson University, Fulbright-NSF Arctic research scholar at Hólar University College: How Will Arctic Fish Deal with Future Climatic Alterations of Temperature and Flow?
  • Charles Norchi, Professor of Law, Chair of Graduate Law Programs at the University of Maine, Fulbright-Ministry for Foreign Affairs Arctic Scholar at the Universities of Iceland and Akureyri: The Constitutive Process of the Arctic - How Law is Made and Applied
  • Virginia Vitzthum, Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University, Fulbright-NSF Arctic Research Scholar at the University of Iceland: Effects of Seasonal Variation in Photoperiod on the Behaviours and Physiology of Icelandic Women
  • Christina Anaya, PhD student in biology at Oklahoma State University, Fulbright-NSF Arctic Research Fellow, Hólar University College: Freshwater and Marine Snails as Parasite Biodiversity Indicators in Iceland
  • David Prieto, independent research, Columbia University, Fulbright-NSF Arctic Research fellow at the Stefánsson Arctic Institute: Investigating the Benefits of a Marine Protected Area Over the Central Arctic Ocean

Additional Speakers:

  • Mike Sfraga, Co-Lead Scholar, Fulbright Arctic Initiative, Belinda Theriault, Executive Director, Fulbright Commission Iceland
  • Michael Hawes, Chief Executive Officer, Fulbright Canada: An Overview of Fulbright Opportunities in the Arctic.


Belinda Theriault, Executive Director, Fulbright Commission Iceland