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Wilson Center-Arctic Circle Forum Proceedings

The Arctic is no longer an uncharted realm on the fringe of the international policy landscape. Rather, it has emerged as a region of global relevance and significance--the host of both challenges and opportunities in the geopolitical, environmental, economic, and social spheres. Dramatic physical changes brought about by a rapidly warming climate drive much of these dynamics. The Wilson Center–Arctic Circle Forum's keynote presentations, panel discussions, and meetings touched upon all of these issues, particularly as they apply to the United States and Russia.

Arctic Environmental Futures: Nexus of Science, Policy, and Operations

Rapid climate and environmental change in the Arctic is shaping this critical region in unprecedented ways, while increasing attention toward global connections. How do Arctic environmental futures affect science, policy, and operations in this region and beyond? How can scientists and policymakers work together to define and answer the most pressing questions?

Leading Arctic scientists, policymakers, and emergency response officials will present and discuss the most recent research on Arctic change, extreme weather, indigenous communities, and emergency response operations. 

Book Talk: Melting the Ice Curtain: The Extraordinary Story of Citizen Diplomacy on the Russia-Alaska Frontier

At the height of Cold War tensions, Alaskan and Russian citizen diplomats reached across the Bering Strait to launch 30 years of perilous yet prolific dialog. David Ramseur’s book, the first to document this era, is the story of how inspiration, courage, and persistence can bridge a widening gap in international relations, detailing a model of cooperation sorely needed today.

Dispatches From the Northern Frontier


Alice Rogoff is the publisher and owner of Alaska Dispatch News, one of the country’s most northerly publications. On the sidelines of the Wilson Center-Arctic Circle Forum, she highlighted the importance of reporting on the full array of Artic dynamics, from geopolitics to environmental challenges, and how those dynamics affect real people in their daily lives in the far north.

Kennan Cable No.24: Russian Foreign Policy in the Arctic: Balancing Cooperation and Competition


The Arctic region presents a particularly interesting case study of Russian foreign policy. In a time when Russia is showing renewed aggression on three fronts – the Baltic Sea region, Syria, and Ukraine – and meddling in Western democratic processes, Russia’s behavior in the Arctic is so far largely cooperative. The question is: Why?

A Native-Alaskan Seat at the Table


Located in Barrow, the northernmost tip of the United States, the Alaskan-native-run Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation (UIC) provides social and economic resources to nearly 3,000 Inupiat shareholders and their descendants. On the sidelines of the Wilson Center-Arctic Circle Forum, the corporation’s president, Anthony Edwardsen, described the challenges of balancing local interests with increasingly global interests in the Arctic and the importance of having “our seat at the table.”

Does This Glacier Have Wifi?


Does this glacier have wifi? That kind of question is serious business for Tina Pidgeon, who spoke to us on the sidelines of the Wilson Center-Arctic Circle Forum. A top executive at GCI, one of Alaska’s leading telecommunications companies, she described the challenges of achieving connectivity in an unforgiving environment and the growing importance of doing so as the Arctic hotspot of global attention. 

The Arctic’s Stark Global Prophecy


“The looming crisis in the Arctic is a preview of the looming crisis of the global condition.” This is the stark prophecy of Mark Brzezinski, a top Arctic official in the Obama White House, a former U.S. ambassador to Sweden, and the son of the late Zbigniew Brzezinski. On the sidelines of the Wilson Center-Arctic Circle Forum, he described the challenge — and the urgency — of communicating the Arctic to Americans, as well as the region’s vulnerability to being politicized, its often-overlooked social issues, and his father’s Arctic prescience.