I’ve had the joy of working with other people from the North. I want to mention especially the EALLIN project of the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council. In that project I worked with other reindeer herders from the Nordic countries and Russia. We exchanged experiences and found opportunities and challenges common for the reindeer herding youth, and worked towards finding ways to build the capacity needed to strengthen our societies.

That experience reinforced my belief that cooperation will remain important, and the Circumpolar North has nothing to lose by cooperating across the national boundaries. Hopefully the future brings even more cooperation. Education will be one of the most important motors for capacity-building; it is vital to create institutions that promote education and knowledge in order to have societies that are sustainable in the North.

I also participated in a workshop with the UArctic Student Ambassadors, at the same time with the Arctic Frontiers conference in late January 2015. I am optimistic about the future with institutions like UArctic. It enables more cooperation between the countries with an interest in the Arctic. I met people with good ideas for resolving issues ranging from energy policy to the survival of polar bears. With lessons learnt from each other, we will surely be able to deal with issues such as climate change and its effects on the world.

I believe that if you’re in a position to leave for another country to work or study, you should go for it. There are so many different things to see and different people to meet. Seeing what other people do for a living, somewhere completely different from what they do in your hometown, widens your horizons. Just talking to other people is good as well, but the real deal is to be experienced not from a book. For example, I can’t imagine me being able to understand what Russia is like by reading – I’d rather go there to see it all myself.

[Originally published in 2015 Shared Voices magazine]