Call for Breakout Session Proposals

The Arctic Circle Secretariat is now accepting proposals for Breakout Sessions at the Arctic Circle Assembly to be held October 13-15, 2017, in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Submissions will be accepted until Friday, May 12, 2017.

Breakout sessions typically run 60–90 minutes and are held in auditoriums, lecture halls, board rooms, and open spaces throughout Harpa and nearby venues.

Types of Breakout Sessions at the 2017 Arctic Circle Assembly:

  1. NEW — morning sessions: On Saturday and Sunday, Breakout Sessions can be held between 8:00–9:00 in the morning prior to plenary sessions. Light breakfast can be offered outside the meeting rooms of those sessions at the expense of the organizers.
  2. NEW — 60-minute sessions: time has been created for Breakout Sessions between 11:00 and 12:00 a.m. on each Assembly day following morning Plenary Sessions. This session slot is ideal for sessions with 2-4 presentations and a short Q&A or discussion.
  3. 90-minute sessions: Following the tradition of the previous Assemblies, there will be Breakout Sessions in the afternoon of each Assembly day immediately after the end of Plenary Sessions.. This session slot is ideal for sessions with 4-6 presentations (plus discussions and Q&A), workshops, roundtables, or innovation sessions. Organizers may buy light food and/or drinks from Harpa catering.
  4. NEW evening sessions: Sessions running 45 minutes may take place in the early evening following the receptions and other social events that would be held earlier in the evening. These evening breakout sessions could be held in more relaxed settings with drinks or other refreshments offered at the expense of the organizers or the participants; or they could be held in the same style as the afternoon sessions. This slot is meant for discussions, interactive brainstorming sessions, game nights and film screenings.

We kindly ask that Breakout Session organizers indicate their views on these different time slots and especially indicate if they are interested in the early morning or the evening sessions. This new framework could, of course, be changed as we come closer to the Assembly on the basis of the demands and wishes from the organizers of the various Breakout Sessions.

How to submitt a proposal:

Please send written proposals to in .doc/.docx format.

Proposals must include the following:

  • The session's proposed name (80 characters maximum)
  • Organizing body/bodies
  • Contact person
  • Room setup (auditorium seating / round tables)
  • Description of the session
  • List of speakers and speaker topics
  • Preferred length and time of day:
    • Morning (45-60 minutes)
    • Before lunch (60 minutes)
    • Afternoon (90 minutes)
    • Evening (45 minutes)
  • Any special requirements

At least half of proposed speakers must be confirmed by the time of submission.

Organizers are asked to indicate if they are interested in having their sessions recorded (audio/video) for a reasonable price.

Organizers of accepted breakout sessions will later be asked to provide addtionally a 150-word summary of the session description and a black/white photo and short bio for each speaker before August 1st.


Governments, institutions, organizations, universities, think tanks, companies and other such bodies are eligible to submit proposals. Individuals may not submit proposals without institutional affiliation / support.

Proposals must indicate the session topic's relevance to Arctic dialogue. Proposals must indicate how each session contribution to increased knowledge, discussion or awareness of Arctic issues.

Diversity among speaker backgrounds, affiliations and nationality is encouraged.

What topics should the sessions cover?

Proposed sessions can cover any topics related to the Arctic, such as the following:

  • Climate change
  • Energy and natural resources
  • Environment and ecosystems
  • Fisheries
  • Glaciology and geology
  • Health and well-being
  • Indigenous rights
  • Infrastructure and development
  • Investment and finance
  • Music and art
  • Ocean science and research
  • Polar law
  • Security and geopolitics
  • Shipping and transport
  • Tourism

Programs from past Assemblies and Forums include all sessions that have been accepted in the past and can be viewed on our website.

What if another organization is presenting on a similar topic?

We will make every effort to make sure that presentations on similar topics will not be scheduled at the same time to encourage participation in both sessions. When appropriate, we also encourage organizations to collaboratively organize sessions together.

When will I know if my session has been accepted?

The first round of accepted Sessions will be notified within 6 weeks of the proposal submission deadline. A small minority of Sessions will be accepted later, subject to space availability.

What formats can the sessions take?

Sessions can take various forms, such as:

  • Announcements and presentations
  • Press conferences
  • Open or moderated dialogues
  • Forum debates
  • Workshops and interactive sessions
  • Town hall meetings
  • Panel discussions
  • Small group forums

All Sessions run for 60 minutes and are held in auditoriums, lecture halls, board rooms, and open spaces throughout Harpa and nearby venues.

As an open, demographic forum, the Arctic Circle requires sessions to include time for Q&A or other forms of audience involvement.

How can I promote my session?

Sessions submitted by the deadline will be promoted on our website, on social media in the months leading up to the Assembly. During the Assembly, Sessions will be promoted in the Assembly printed program and in the Arctic Circle App.

Is there a fee for organizing a Session at the Arctic Circle?

There is no fee for organizing Sessions at Arctic Circle Assemblies and Forums, but organizers and speakers are responsible for their own travel and accommodations, as well as the applicable registration fee for participation

Organizers interested in recording video and audio of their sessions, having their sessions catered or have special requests above what is provided by the Arctic Circle are responsible for all associated costs.

Can my session be scheduled for a specific day?

Due to the complexity of scheduling several dozen sessions and the number of scheduling requests received, Session speakers should prepare to attend all days of Assemblies and Forums. The Secretariat takes all requests into account but cannot guarantee that they will be met -- speakers and whole sessions have been dropped in the past because they were unable to attend during the allotted time slot.