Panel discussion "Northern universities as centers of regional development" moderated by the UArctic VP Interregional Marina Kalinina, brought together leaders of UiT, NArFU, NSMU, the UArctic President, Arkhangelsk Region Government and the City of Arkhangelsk officials, as well as representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs from Russia and Norway. While talking about universities as drivers of the regional development in the North, the panelists focused on the crucial role of university cooperation in providing knowledge and expertise for informed decisions, spoke about collaboration projects aimed at improving healthcare and quality of life, environmental protection, economic development, youth engagement and cooperation in culture and education. Several years ago UiT and NArFU put forward a common initiative for Tromsø and Arkhangelsk municipalities to become twin-cities. Both universities have been actively cooperating with the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce over the past decade.

The Academic Council of NArFU has made a decision to award the UArctic President Lars Kullerud the NArFU Honorary Doctor degree in acknowledgement of his outstanding contribution to the development of university collaboration in the North. As a part of the award ceremony Lars Kullerud delivered a lecture for NArFU staff and students on international cooperation in the Arctic.