It was a pleasure to give a lecture today on ‘The Moral Geography of the Arctic’ to faculty and students attending the International Summer School hosted by the Arctic State Agrotechnological University (AGATU, in Russian Arkticheskiy Gosudarstvyennuy Agrotekhnologicheskiy Universitet) in Yakutsk, Sakha Republic, Russia.
Due to Covid-19, the summer school was held online. This was perhaps less than ideal for students based in or near Yakutsk, but it enabled me to participate when I wouldn’t have been able to do so otherwise. I’m grateful to Irina Dranaeva of AGATU’s international office for inviting me to lecture, and I hope to be able to visit AGATU and Yakutsk in person one day.
My lecture essentially followed the lecture on the same topic that I gave late last year to the Royal Geographical Society, with some minor changes for a Russian and international audience of students studying Arctic matters. As before, I argued that we must see the Arctic first and foremost as a home for the people who live there, lest we make poor decisions about it based on our own ideas of an empty wilderness or global resource frontier. I also took the opportunity to introduce my university-level Model Arctic Council programmes, such as NORMAC University, which provide students with the opportunity to grapple with Arctic issues by playing the roles of Arctic diplomats attending meetings of the Arctic Council.