I was very pleased recently to read a blog post from Stephanie Masterman, an undergraduate student at the University of Washington who participated in the second online ‘mini’ Model Arctic Council (MAC) that I ran this past July as part of a Trent University course on the Circumpolar North. Stephanie seems to have found her Polar Aspect MAC experience stimulating and enjoyable, writing:
The primary focus of the course was to introduce students to the Arctic’s diverse and therefore complex leadership by simulating an Arctic Council meeting. The Arctic Council’s role in shaping international policy is critical for addressing Arctic Indigenous peoples’ concerns and so I was excited for the chance to represent an Indigenous community in our model Arctic Council simulation. The Arctic Council includes eight-member states such as Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, the United States and six Indigenous peoples organizations, called Permanent Participants, which include the Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, and the Saami Council.
My partner, who was based out of Ontario, and I worked together researching for a couple of weeks to be able to adequately represent Gwich’in Council International in the effort to shape policy around micro plastic pollution in Arctic waters. As an Indigenous person, I appreciate the Arctic Council’s inclusion of Indigenous leadership but I know there is need for even stronger Indigenous leadership and community engagement. The course inspired me to work toward advancing Indigenous leadership in international policy, specifically by fortifying the use of Indigenous ecological knowledge in shaping such policy. The model Arctic Council simulation was a lot of fun and I hope that there will be an opportunity to participate in person in the future.
Many thanks, Stephanie — and I do hope to see you at one of my in-person MACs in future!