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 10-13, 2019, in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Submissions will be accepted until June 1, 2019.

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 2019 Arctic Circle Assembly:

  1. Morning sessions I: 45- or 60-minute sessions held in the early morning on Friday and Saturday. Perfect for breakfast discussions and shorter presentations. Light catering can be provided by Harpa Conference Center at the expense of the organizers.
  2. Morning Sessions II: 60-minute sessions held before lunch on Friday and Saturday following morning Plenary Sessions. This slot is well suited for shorter presentations, project overviews and sessions with up to four speakers.
  3. Afternoon sessions: 90-minute sessions well suited for in-depth presentations, discussions, roundtables and workshops.
  4. Evening sessions 45- and 60-minute sessions, as well as longer film screenings; with relaxed atmosphere; good for networking sessions, small receptions, game nights. Please note that drinks and light refreshments can be provided by Harpa Conference Center.
  5. NEW! Sunday sessions will take place between 10:00 and 13:00, offering opportunities for further Breakout Sessions, workshops, working and networking meetings. Thematic Excursions and Tours devoted to areas of interest to Arctic Circle participants will also be offered on Sunday.

How to submitt a proposal:

Proposals may be submitted to secretariat@arcticcircle.org in .doc/.docx format (no .pdf files, please).

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:
  • 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?

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 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.