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Full Biography

Dr. Mike Sfraga is the founding director of the Polar Institute and also serves as the director of the Global Risk and Resilience Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. An Alaskan and a geographer by training, his work focuses on the changing geography of the Arctic and Antarctic landscapes, Arctic policy, and the impacts and implications of a changing climate on political, social, economic, environmental, and security regimes in the Arctic.

Sfraga served as distinguished co-lead scholar for the U.S. Department of State’s inaugural Fulbright Arctic Initiative from 2015-2017, a complementary program to the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council; he held the same position from 2017-2019. Sfraga previously served in a number of academic, administrative, and executive positions including vice chancellor, associate vice president, faculty member, department chair, and associate dean.

Sfraga has testified before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, he maintains an active national and international speaking and facilitation schedule, and his commentary has been featured in several major media outlets including MSNBC, National Public Radio, Alaska Public Media, CCTV/CGTN, Bloomberg News, and C-SPAN. 

Sfraga is the co-director of the University of the Arctic’s Institute for Arctic Policy, and has served on a number of non-profit boards and advisory committees including past chairman of the Institute of the North.

Sfraga earned a PhD in geography and northern studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.         

Michael Sfraga

Michael Sfraga

Director, Global Risk and Resilience Program & Director, Polar Institute
Once considered remote and isolated, the Arctic region is now part of the global political, social, economic, security, and geopolitical landscape—this reality requires research and policy analysis now more than ever.