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Arctic Circle

The Northern Research Forum – a Pioneering Model for an Open Discussion 

By Professor Emeritus Lassi Heininen

The Northern Research Forum, as an Icelandic-Finnish initiative, was an example of a pioneering Northern partnership for dialogue- and knowledge-building. This international and expert-based platform for an open discussion, and a project for interdisciplinary research, on relevant Northern and global issues played an important role in Arctic expert cooperation. It was also important for regional and local development. By organizing Open Assemblies in various regions of the entire North, and having a lively dialogue between researchers, other experts, Indigenous peoples and a wide range of policymakers, the Forum created an innovative model for the interplay between science, politics, and business in the post-Cold War Arctic. And it served well as a training ground for young researchers.

This is a short version of the first written history of the Northern Research Forum (NRF) and its Open Assemblies (a longer version will be followed later). It observes the learned lessons and emphasizes the importance of intangible assets, such as in-person dialogue and knowledge-building, in the era of globalism.


From the 1990s to the 2000s, motivated by the end of the Cold War, there was an inspiring sense of a “New North”. This applied to ideas, cooperative initiatives, and innovative political and academic arrangements. This included a social need and tentative readiness for an open discussion between scholars, indigenous peoples, representatives of NGOs, policymakers, and businesspeople. The approach was interdisciplinary and was across sectoral borders and between state and civil society.

Based on this, there were discussions and discourses on the Arctic as a “knowledge-based region” and as a potential model for functional cooperation and stability-building in world politics. And further, as a new design for region-building. This was illustrated by the transition from environmental protection cooperation between eight Arctic states, the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, to the Arctic Council, including representatives of states and Indigenous peoples. There were also experiences from the first international research projects and institutions, as well as policy-oriented meetings, on the Arctic and Arctic issues (e.g. Tampere Peace Research Institute’s international project on alternative security and development, the International Arctic Science Committee, the Northern Forum, the Calotte Academy, Conferences of Arctic parliamentarians). The Northern Research Forum benefited greatly from all this and built on it.

This is a short version of the first written history of the Northern Research Forum (NRF) and its Open Assemblies (a longer version will be followed later). It observes the learned lessons and emphasizes the importance of intangible assets, such as in-person dialogue and knowledge-building, in the era of globalism.

To make a vision real - Founding of a new forum

The Northern Research Forum was an answer to the social need and the readiness for an open and inclusive discussion in the entire North between stakeholders, and across sectoral borders. The momentum came, when the then President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, inspired by the post-Cold War atmosphere, proposed in his speech in September 1998 in Rovaniemi an initiative to create “an annual or biennial forum which... would bring together in a systematic way the wealth of academic talent now existing in Northern Europe… enabling young researchers and scholars to present their findings to audiences of distinguished and learned experts”. The initiative was supported by then Senior researcher Lassi Heininen to become a forum for an “interactive and creative discussion and debate on research... between science and politics / theory and praxis… [as a] lack of cross-sectoral communication” could be defined as a barrier for modern societies’ development and an obstacle for problem-solving.

Followed from this, an expert group of the University of Lapland recommended to establish a Northern Research Forum “to provide a highly qualified forum, or a ‘village square’ for discussion and debate of research on northern matters… by and between researchers and different interest groups and stakeholders (especially politicians, civil servants, and businesspeople), on topics proposed by the scientific community” (Feasibility Report February 1999). President Grimsson’s vision - to create a ‘village square’ where scholars, students and policymakers would come together and discuss the transformations of the North – and the Feasibility Report’s main idea of open discussion between researchers and different interest groups – came true as the NRF was established in October 1999 in Reykjavik. The stated purpose: “…to provide a forum where research on northern and Arctic issues can be shared and discussed in regular meetings of a wide variety of scientists, other academics and representatives of other stakeholders” (Press Release Nov 19, 1999).

The first meeting, North meets North, including 110 participants from all over the circumpolar North, took place a year later in Akureyri, Iceland. In addition to researchers, there were policymakers (e.g. President Grimsson, Minister Amalie Jessen from Greenland, President of Sami Parliament, Pekka Aikio), and business people (e.g. Managing director Paavo Holopainen from Lapland, CEO Gudbrandur Sigurdsson from Akureyri). The participation and active contribution of young researchers, as a new procedure (see later), was noted and highly appreciated. The event demonstrated that this model of open discussion worked well and should be continued.

The 2nd NRF Open Meeting, Northern Veche in Veliky Novgorod in September 2002, hosted by Governor Mikhail Prussak, as one of the first international conferences in a new Russia, attracted a wide circumpolar participation from Academia, politics, and business. It showed the potential of the NRF as an innovative design for an international and transdisciplinary dialogue in Russia, and how Russia applies innovations in this field. Two years later, having The Resilient North – human responses to global change as the theme, the 3rd Open Assembly’s participants learned a lot from Dene First Nation and Dogrib, and their cultures of resilience in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The 2006 Assembly, Borderless North which took place in the Bothnian Arc – a cooperative region between Finland and Sweden – manifested one of the trends of Arctic governance, regionalization vis-a-vis region-building.

By its 5th gathering, Seeking balance in a changing North in September 2008 in Alaska, the NRF expanded its scope, as this inter-regional forum was elevated to a global stage. This was again manifested in 2011 in Hveragerdi, Iceland by the theme of the 6th Assembly, Our ice dependent world. For the first time, it brought together experts from the three poles of the globe – the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Himalaya region – to discuss and analyze the importance of ‘ice’ as a global geopolitical and security issue.

The two last events focused on a significant threat to the entire Arctic, which also presents an opportunity: The 7th Open Assembly, in 2013, held in Akureyri, discussed territorial socio-economic impacts of climate change and methodologies for assessing those impacts. This was one of the first international conferences, which dealt with how climate change might impact regional plans of municipalities. Finally, the 8th Assembly was held in 2015 in conjunction with the Arctic Circle Assembly where cultural heritage and voices of local communities were explored and their role in building resilience.

Photos from the Arctic Circle Assembly

A process, not an organization – The purpose and objectives

The purpose and objective of the Northern Research Forum were to provide an international platform for promotion of an effective and trans-disciplinary open dialogue among members of the research community and other experts, and between them and policymakers, businesspeople, and a wide range of northern stakeholders. Further, to facilitate research on contemporary issues, and assist decision-makers by engaging researchers and experts to discuss and assess research findings. Also, to make science and research applications of global significance relevant to the contemporary Northern and Arctic agenda.

The aim was to maintain an open academic and policy-oriented discussion, across sectoral borders, on societal changes and issues which circumpolar peoples and societies faced because of globalization. Further, to develop the discussion between researchers, policymakers, and other practitioners into a dialogue on relevant and critical issues, such as impacts of, and responses to, the climate crisis; resilience and sustainable regional development; community viability; peace, stability, and security.

A more particular aim was to focus on and discuss from holistic viewpoints, socially relevant issues to communities, and to emphasize opportunities more than problems. Inspired by the notion that science is more than labs; it is people, and it is the environment. The long-term goal of this intellectually attractive dialogue could be interpreted as to create an intercultural communication process with a spirit and enthusiasm for innovative ideas, and to be issue-oriented based on research-findings and expertise.

First, the purpose of this implementation of the social relevance of science – an important criterion of science – was to create and promote a new and wider international, even global, platform for innovative thinking and bold new ideas from the leading minds across the entire North. Second, an effort was made to maintain and feed a constant interplay between science, politics, and business. Third, there was a commitment to allocate sufficient time for open discussion which created an atmosphere for an intensive policy-oriented dialogue, based on research-findings and expertise, on Northern and global issues. The idea was to establish and apply a model of an epistemic community, i.e. a network of knowledgeable experts who help decision-makers to define the problems they face, identify various policy solutions and assess the policy outcomes.

These objectives and aims were implemented via an open discussion at the biennial NRF Open Assemblies in 2000-2015 (See, Appendix 1). The Assembly became the first pan-Arctic international and transdisciplinary platform for an open and constant dialogue on relevant local-to-global issues between Northern stakeholders. Based on inclusion and a democratic nature, discussions took place in theme sessions and plenaries with a holistic approach, day-long excursions, and at ‘Square hours’ for presentations by young researchers; later a few breakout sessions, facilitated by panelists, were added to deepen the expert approach vertically.

At their best, the Open Assemblies with an upper-limit number of participants, managed to create dialogue, where the participants were committed to ‘inclusivity’ and engaged each other’s arguments, and focused on issue domains. As an outcome, where the participants were both active and patiently listening, they could find that the original nature of an open dialogue – to have different arguments being built on each other like layers - was embraced.

An important part of the implementation was to have 10-20 NRF Young Researchers (YRs) at each Open Assembly, who received scientific, professional, and financial support. The aim was to promote early-career scientists (mostly PhD candidates and post-docs) by inviting them, based on applications, to present their research topics, projects, and main findings, and engage them in a dialogue with other experts and policymakers.

In the beginning, they presented their research in special square hours, and later they were upgraded as panelists due to their expertise and high quality of their research. For example, the YRs of 7th Open Assembly identified the following key points to consider when assessing socio-economic impacts of climate change and exploring methods to tackle it. First, forms of resilience go through large observational frames and depend on local engagement. The impacts of climate change go further than we can identify and there is a gap in public perception. Therefore, new methods are required. How can we solve the gap between the 4 years logic of politicians and 100+ ones of real impacts?

In addition of junior and senior researchers, and other experts, several policy and decision-makers representing national, regional, and local governments attended the NRF Open Assemblies in these years. Among them were President Grimsson, who attended all of the Open Assemblies, Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson, President of Finland Tarja Halonen, Premier of Greenland Kuupik Kleist; Chairman of Kativik Regional Government (Canada) Johnny Adams, President of Sami Parliament (Finland) Pekka Aikio, Chair of Yellowknife’s Dene First Nation Darrell Beaulie, Chair of Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Patricia Cochran, President of Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) Sergei Khatyuchi, President of Alaska Federation of Natives Julie Kitka; Mayor of North Slope Borough (Alaska) Edward Itta, Governor of Yamal Nenets (Russia) Yury Neyolov, Lieutenant Governor of Alaska Sean Parnell, Governor of Novgorod (Russia) Mikhail Prussak, Governor of Oulu Provine (Finland) Eino Siuruainen, Premier of the Northwest Territories (Canada) Joe Handley; MP Ivar Kristiansen from Norway, MP Alvydas Medalinskas from Lithuania; and Minister Ethel Blondin-Andrew from Canada, Amalie Jessen from Greenland, Minister Tomas Ingi Olrich from Iceland, Minister Inuuteq Holm Olsen from Greenland.

Interestingly, NRF Open Assemblies and their preparations provided two relevant lessons: first, that though ‘substance’ is most important, a ‘procedure’ matters; and second, that more important than number of participants is participants’ interests and motivation. Therefore, it was no wonder that from the beginning the Forum was seen as a process and was further developed as such with enthusiasm and a spirit of continuity. This meant several rounds of preparations – both before and after each Open Assembly – such as local Round Tables and Sub-forums. In addition there were theme Project Groups, and their workshops, procedures to recruit young researchers, position-papers and essays on the main themes (10-20 for each) to be written specifically for the event by experts. Finally, there were several rounds of discussions in Assembly sessions based on expert presentations.

The Northern Research Forum also closely cooperated with other international institutions, with the International Arctic Science Community, the Northern Forum, Arctic Parliamentarians, and the Arctic Council, to build and enhance knowledge for regional development. Among others, the NRF organized a special session on the Arctic Council and multilateral cooperation as a part of the 5th Assembly in Anchorage. Also, a modified workshop was held at the ICARP III in 2015 in Toyama to identify the most important issues and problems of the global Arctic, as well as for Arctic science in the next 5-10 years. The variation of answers illustrated the difficulty of defining priorities in politics and research.

Finally, the closest connection was with the University of the Arctic, which started its activities around the same time as the NRF. In 2009, the NRF became one of the first UArctic institutions.

All in all, the NRF stage-building was not only for an open discussion, but also for fact-finding and data-collecting, disseminating research findings, professional training, and intercultural communication for knowledge-building. It was meant to be a cumulative process, as the NRF was not an organization in the ordinary sense of the term. Instead of having formal procedures or duties, the NRF adhered to four fundamental principles: organizing and promoting a cross-sectorial dialogue, inviting senior and junior researchers and other professionals, having an issue-oriented discussion concentrating on opportunities, and allocating enough time to sustain an open and lively discussion.

A light structure with theme project groups, roundtables, and sub-forums 

As the NRF was to be first and foremost a forum and process with an enthusiasm for fresh ideas and research findings, its structure was lean and not bureaucratic. The operation work and administration were done by the Secretariat, located at the University of Akureyri, Iceland. The International Steering Committee was chaired by Professor Lassi Heininen. It consisted of scholars and experts from the Arctic states (see, Appendix 2). President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson chaired the NRF Honorary Board which consisted of distinguished individuals from the Arctic states and Europe (see, Appendix 3).

For each NRF Open Assembly, an ad-hoc local host organizing committee was placed in charge of contacts and practical arrangements in the location. Consequently, a biennial Open Assembly was organized by the Steering Committee and Secretariat in cooperation with a host organizing committee. As the registration fee was zero or symbolic, there was a need for external funding. In the early years, that was received from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Nordic Arctic Research Program, and the Government of Iceland.

To implement the original nature of a process, also in between Open Assemblies, there were Theme Project Groups for fact-finding on main themes. The task of five “Theme Project Groups” (under the NRF umbrella) – Legal and Political Issues, Economies in the North, Energy Issues, Northern Sea Routes, and Climate Change vis-a-vis Northern Securities – was to promote the subjects of Open Assemblies by expert-based discussions in their workshops. Further, to recruit potential Position Paper authors to address these themes and to prepare short, policy-oriented briefing notes on the themes.

Correspondingly, the aim of NRF Round Tables and Sub-forums, organized in cooperation with local universities, administrations, or other organizations, was to discuss relevant Northern issues between experts and representatives of local, regional, and national stakeholders. Among these events, organized separately or back-to-back to conferences within the entire North and big cities outside the region, were Northern Dimension Foreign Policy Conference in Atlanta, Northern Dimensions Symposium in Brussels, ACUNS student conference in Edmonton, Calotte Academy in Inari, Kirkenes and Apatity, Jokkmokk Winter Conference in Sweden, Geopolitics of the Eurasian Arctic in Oslo, ICASS in Quebec City, International Conference on Social Sciences in Riga, Travelling Northern Film Festival in Petrozavodsk and Salekhard, Press Club in Rovaniemi. NRF-related Round table discussions were also a part of the state visit of President Grimsson to Russia in 2002, and that of Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson to Finland in 2003.

The above, and in particular the Calotte Academy, served as springboards for the mission and design of the NRF. The Travelling Northern Film Festival in the Russian Arctic played a particularly important role in developing the NRF as a process.

Importance for Northern expertise and the political significance of the NRF

The NRF design, emphasizing an open discussion based on expert presentations, was an efficient way to set an interesting agenda, and place relevant issues and opportunities on the agenda. It helped to foster bold ideas from innovative thinkers to discuss and analyze. After being involved in lively discussions and brainstorming on relevant, contemporary issues it would be easier for decision-makers to apply scientific knowledge to the shaping and making of policy.

The importance of the Northern Research Forum and its Open Assemblies for Arctic research and Northern expertise, as well as for regional knowledge-building, could be measured by two main outcomes. The main one, for the first time, a pan-Arctic stage, which became global, was built, based on research, expertise, and Indigenous knowledge. This Forum succeeded in facilitating an open – academic and policy-oriented – discussion on relevant contemporary Northern and global issues among researchers, Indigenous peoples, and other experts, and between them and policymakers, representing local, regional, and national governments, and a wide range of other stakeholders. Secondly, following from this there was a forum and expert network, as well as a brainstorming procedure, for how to create, maintain and develop an open and intensive dialogue with inclusion and relevance for people and local communities.

This required policymakers representing national, regional and local governments, as mentioned earlier, and practitioners to be open-minded and patient, and the research community to make real efforts to implement the interplay between science, politics, and business. Stakeholders would be treated equally. This made it possible to apply effectively new means and to address certain challenges more constructively than otherwise would have been possible. Successful examples of this were first, the 2nd NRF meeting in Vileky Novgorod, Russia being co-organized with local and regional administrations; and second, the 3rd meeting in Yellowknife and Rae Edzo co-organized with the local, territorial, national, and Indigenous governments.

As this kind of discussion was transferred into a dialogue on critical issues – such as human responses to melting of sea ice and glaciers; building resilience in, and sharing experiences for, regional development; stability vis-a-vis security in governance – it was necessary to address opportunities, which peoples and societies might have been presented with when facing societal changes and the impacts of globalization. An example of this kind of knowledge-building, supporting, and enhancing regional development by local and regional policymakers, was a series of Town Hall meetings, (co-organized by NRF for example in Anchorage, Inari, Oulu) on the findings of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and Arctic Human Development reports. Another example was the 7th NRF Open Assembly which enabled experts to constructively address how climate change might impact regional planning of municipalities and regional governments.

The bar was raised at the 5th Assembly, when the scope of the stage was expanded, and the discussion assumed global dimensions by integrating themes on the relationship between the local and the global. This was on display at the 6th Assembly when the main theme was Our Ice Dependent World and applied to three major areas of the globe with glaciers, i.e., the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Himalayas. The NRF model made it possible to bring together experts on the three poles, to consider the world without ice: a geopolitical imagination without facts and reviewed publications.

Another important outcome of the NRF, as a unique academic forum on Northern and Arctic issues, was an innovative practice to support early-career scientists who were provided with a grant to present their research at the assemblies. All together the NRF Network of Young Researchers consisted of circa 120 scholars, who presented their research and were trained for future careers as researchers, experts, and practitioners. The NRF design of presentations by young researchers, and senior experts reflecting on their presentations, served particularly well the objectives, and has also been applied elsewhere.

Finally, in the long run the importance of this process is that by having a lively discussion among researchers – in particular young researchers – and other experts, and between them and local, regional, and national policymakers, planners and businesspeople, a new way to organize an international policy-oriented meeting was tested. Thereby, the political significance of the NRF is demonstrated by the creation of a forum, expert network, and brainstorming procedure on ways in which to maintain an intensive dialogue and enhance regional development for people and local communities.

The best example of, and most productive effort to apply the mission and original nature of the NRF, is the Arctic Circle Assembly.

Applications of the format 

The NRF approach was not only to encourage open discussion per se but dealt with ways and procedures for building knowledge and confidence. Academic and other institutions could apply the model, and further developed it, as was done by the China-Nordic Arctic Research Center (CNARC) Assemblies.

An innovative and constructive approach will easily become attractive. The format of NRF Open Assemblies and the procedures are applied elsewhere, mostly in Academia. For example, the NRF model of Young Researchers acted as a foundation for the International Polar Year’s Young Researchers and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS). Also, the Theme Project Groups, as a new procedure to gather experts in a field for fact-finding, was applied to UArctic Thematic Networks.

The best example of, and most productive effort to apply the mission and original nature of the NRF, is the Arctic Circle Assembly. The NRF Open Assembly acted as a springboard and model for it. This new event took place, for the first time in 2013 in Reykjavik. Since then, it has been organized annually in October and continues the tradition of an open dialogue and inclusive participation, as stated by NRF Steering Committee members’ collective observations in 2014. After the institutionalization of Arctic Circle, the NRF became a unit for Arctic studies within the University of Akureyri.


The Northern Research Forum was based on an initiative by President Grimsson and a feasibility study by the University of Lapland. Led by the Steering Committee and the Honorary Board and run by the Secretariat and local host organizing committees, the Forum and its Open Assemblies were organized with great success until 2015. The main activities of the NRF included eight Open Assemblies and dozens of sessions, as well as several local roundtables and sub-forums. The discussions were lively and based on expert-contributions by hundreds of participants. Presentations and position-papers of the Assemblies are reported in printed or online proceedings.

By creating an innovative model for the interplay between science, politics, and business, as well as for an open dialogue, the NRF had great political significance in the post-Cold War Arctic. Its main aims could be summarized to be first, ‘stage-building’, to have an expert platform for seeking new thinking and bold innovative ideas from talented people across the entire North; second, ‘dialogue-building’, by implementing and maintaining a constant interplay between science, politics and business, for problem-solving and confidence; third, ‘inter-sectorial’ to cross borders and boundaries between different sectors in society and the entire globe; and finally, to serve as an inter- and transdisciplinary platform for researchers and experts with the purpose of training young researchers and promoting knowledge and human and social capital.

The NRF stage-building transferring into a global scale was, and meant to be, a cumulative process, where the Arctic was redefined as a ‘knowledge-based region’. Important for Arctic expertise and governance is a striking, though simple, finding of the Open Assemblies that an open dialogue can be intellectually attractive, and that an authentic implementation of the interplay between science, politics and business is doable and cumulative. Following from this, it is fair to state that much due to the NRF main objective and successful outcomes the interplay between science and politics, as well as trans disciplinarity, is an important part of an Arctic model, and that the model has been applied to other parts of the globe.

The establishment of the NRF was motivated by social needs and an inspiring atmosphere of a “New North.” The key for its success was openness for inclusive discussion on relevant issues and innovative thinking among researchers, other experts, and policymakers. In addition, the objectives of the NRF, as well as the themes of its Open Assemblies, were results of a careful (re)thinking and brainstorming among the Steering Committee members – all experts on Northern fields – and between them and the initiator.

During the 2020s, the Arctic region has become a part and parcel of global multidimensional and multi-functional changes and new challenges, and the global Arctic has multiple implications worldwide. This maintains the Arctic as an interesting workshop for further studies – on the environment and resources, indigenous peoples, societies and cultures, governance, and international law, geoeconomics and politics, cooperation, and the building of stability – on global, regional, and local level. In this context, the NRF’s legacy and experiences from its Open Assemblies could be viewed, perhaps also applied, as a useful working method for a lively dialogue on a global scale, where participants engage each other’s arguments, and build confidence in the Arctic region.

No. 2/2023, 14 September 2023

This article is a part of the Arctic Circle Journal Series which provides insight, understanding and new information. The material represents the opinions of the author but not those of Arctic Circle.

Appendix 1. List of the NRF Open Assemblies

The 1st NRF Open Meeting, North meets North (with themes of Relevance of History, Northern Economies in the Global Economy, Regionalism and Governance, Implementation of a Northern Dimension, Science and Technology Application in the North), in cooperation with University of Akureyri, was held in Akureyri and at the Icelandic president’s residence of Bessastadir on November 4-6, 2000.

The 2nd NRF Open Meeting, Northern Veche (with themes of Human Capital, Innovation in Northern Governance, Business Initiatives for a Joint Agenda, Applying the Lessons of History), in cooperation with Novgorod Oblast Administration, City Administration and Novgorod State University, was held in Veliky Novgorod, Russia on September 19-22, 2002.

The 3rd NRF Open Assembly, The Resilient North – human responses to global change (with themes of Perspectives of Appointed and Elected Officials, Governance, Resources and Co-management, Cultural Resilience and Tourist Economy, Security), in cooperation with Canadian Polar Commission, took place in Yellowknife and Rae Edzo, the Northwest Territories, Canada on September 15-18, 2004.

The 4th NRF Open Assembly, Borderless North (with the main theme Tech-knowledge in Economies and Cultures) took place in the Bothnian Arc, ie. in Oulu and Tornio, Finland and Haparanda and Luleå, Sweden on October 4-8, 2006.

The 5th NRF Open Assembly, Seeking Balance in a Changing North (with themes of Future of Northern Cooperation, The Arctic Council and Multilateral Cooperation, New Geography of a Warming North, Leadership in the Age of Uncertainty) took place in Anchorage and Chicaloon, Alaska on September 24-27, 2008.

The 6th NRF Open Assembly, Our Ice Dependent World (with a focus on ‘ice’ as becoming a concept of global politics and a common heritage of humankind, as well as affecting dramatically societal life of people in the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayans) took place in Hveragerdi, Iceland on September 3-6, 2011, in cooperation with the University of Akureyri.

The 7th NRF Open Assembly, Climate Change in Northern Territories – sharing experiences and exploring the methods and assessing socio-economic impacts (with themes of Territorial Socio-economic Impacts of Climate Change, Methodologies for Assessing Socio-economic Impact, Adaptation to Climate Change in Regions and Local Communities – examining methods and sharing knowledge), in cooperation with ENECON-ESPON, took place in the University of Akureyri, Iceland on August 22-23, 2013.

The 8th NRF Open Assembly, Engaging Cultural Heritage when Building Resilience, in cooperation with the Trans-Arctic Agenda of Center for Arctic Policy Studies at University of Iceland, took place in Reykjavik, Iceland on October 14-15, 2015, in conjunction with the Arctic Circle.

Appendix 2. First members of the NRF Steering Committee

Director Steve Bigras from Canadian Polar Commission, Prof. Andrei Golovnev from Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Rector Thorsteinn Gunnarsson from University of Akureyri, Vice-deputy minister Amalie Jessen from Home Rule Government of Greenland, Prof. Peter Johnson from University of Ottawa, Prof. Zaneta Ozolina from University of Latvia, Director Oran Young from Dartmouth College, and Prof. Lassi Heininen from University of Lapland as the chair.

Appendix 3. Members of the NRF Honorary Board

Martti Ahtisaari, President of Finland (1994-2000), Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada (1999-2005), Lennart Meri, President of Estonia (1992-2001), Yury Neyolov, Governor of Yamal Nenets (1995-2010), Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia (1999-2007), H.S.H. Prince Albert II, Monaco (2005-), and President of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson (1996-2016) as the chair.

Lassi Heininen

Dr. Lassi Heininen is Professor (emeritus) of Arctic Politics, Editor of Arctic Yearbook, Director of Calotte Academy, Leader of UArctic TN on Geopolitics & Security. His research fields include IR, Geopolitics, Security Studies, Environmental Politics, Northern European & Arctic Studies. He is a supervisor of several PhD candidates, regularly speaks in international gatherings, and chairs the GlobalArctic Mission Council of the Arctic Circle.

He publishes in, and acts as a reviewer for, international journals & publications. Among his recent publications are ”Comprehensive Security” in Towards a Sustainable Arctic (WSPC 2023); “The Post-Cold War Arctic” in Global Arctic (Springer 2022); ”The Evolving Geopolitics of Polar Regions” (with H. Nicol) in Polar Cousins (UCalgary Press 2022); “Climate Change and the Great Power Rivalry” in Insight Turkey (2022); Arctic Policies and Strategies - Analysis, Synthesis, Trends (with Everett, Padrtova & Reissell, IIASA 2020); Climate Change and Security(with H. Exner-Pirot, Palgrave Pivot 2020).