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 19-21, 2018, in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Submissions will be accepted until May 15, 2018.

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 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly:

  1. Saturday Morning sessions held between 8:00–9:00 a.m. prior to plenary sessions. Light breakfast from Harpa catering can be offered outside the meeting rooms of those sessions at the expense of the organizers.
  2. 60-minute sessions held between 11:00 and 12:00 a.m. on each Assembly day following morning Plenary Sessions. This slot is ideal for sessions with 2-4 presentations and a short Q&A or panel discussion.
  3. 90-minute sessions held in the afternoon of each Assembly day immediately after the end of Plenary Sessions. This 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. Evening sessions running 45-60 minutes, held in the early evening following receptions and other social events held earlier in the evening. This slot is ideal for holding sessions in more relaxed settings with drinks or other refreshments from Harpa catering offered at the expense of the organizers or the participants. This slot is meant for discussions, interactive brainstorming sessions, game nights and film screenings.

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:
    • Saturday Morning (60 minutes)
    • Before lunch (60 minutes)
    • Afternoon (90 minutes)
    • Evening (45-60 minutes)
  • Any special requirements

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


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?

Notification of proposal acceptance will be made within 4-6 weeks of the submission deadline.

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

Breakout sessions typically run 60-90 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 encourages 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, and at the assembly in the printed program.

Is there a fee for participation?

There is no fee for organizing breakout 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 Assembly participation. 

Organizers interested in recording video and audio of their breakout sessions 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, breakout 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 alloted time slot.