The importance of academic and scientific cooperation for peace and stability
The Arctic is a region of remarkable peace and stability that is committed to dialogue and cooperation. Just as the Arctic Council leads the way as a model of regional governance, so too do UArctic members contribute to future prosperity through knowledge transfer and knowledge innovation. The Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation reflects a common interest to promote scientific cooperation and develop scientific knowledge across the region. The key elements of enhanced cooperation are better access to research areas, infrastructures, facilities, and education and training. The Agreement also highlights the inclusion of the Indigenous, Traditional and Local Knowledge. With extensive membership and over 60 Thematic Networks focusing on Arctic research, education and cooperation in all Arctic eight countries and in non-Arctic countries, UArctic has a strong role in ensuring that the Arctic can continue to be a region of peace and cooperation.
The value of mobility
The value of mobility to the academic community and its individual members cannot be overstated. A consequence of the pandemic has been the abrupt stop in student and faculty mobility. Distance collaboration is dependent on people-to-people relationships that are best built in person; open minds and mutual understanding are created by meeting people of other parts of the Arctic. Mobility in UArctic has many forms, from the organized student mobility in north2north to exchanges of faculty between member institutions, particularly in the Thematic Networks. The north2north program addresses core needs for northern mobility and development. Its vision, as with the whole of UArctic, is to build the future generation of leaders for the North who can help the North seize control of its own destiny. UArctic invites the Arctic Council to take more active part on north2north cooperation, in anticipation of the growing appreciation of the importance of mobility.
The importance of national and regional funding for cooperation
UArctic is built on more than 60 Thematic Networks and institutes that promote issue-based collaboration between faculty and experts and the implementation of joint education and research activities. This network collaboration among UArctic members is complemented, as stated above, by the north2north student mobility program. Only through collaboration it will be possible to deliver high quality and relevant education, training, and research for, by and about the North. National and regional funding schemes have been fundamental in ensuring the viability, longevity, and success of UArctic Thematic Networks as they continue to address critical issues in the Arctic region.
Together for 20 years
This year marks an anniversary of the official launch of the University of the Arctic, in Rovaniemi, Finland. Having been created through the initiative of the Arctic Council it is essential for UArctic to maintain and strengthen this close relationship. UArctic and the Arctic Economic Council are the only observes that have been fully created through the Arctic Council, as expressed in the Iqaluit declarations 1998 and 2015. Therefore, it is only proper at this moment that some words of gratitude should be expressed to the Arctic Council, for creating UArctic twenty years ago. And a few words still to Iceland for a wonderful cooperation over the course of an extra-ordinary Chairmanship. The UArctic Congress 2021 takes the priorities of the Icelandic Chairmanship as its main themes and UArctic looks forward to the continued work ahead to promote – together – the principles of sustainable development in the Arctic.