Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.
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Explore our Core Thematic Focuses
Science Research and Climate Change
Climate change is the principle driver of most all other changes in the Arctic. Research is critical to understanding these far-reaching environmental changes and is essential in the creation of informed policy.
Indigenous peoples, communities, and ways of life are, in many places under pressure to adapt to changes in the environmental, social, and political landscape.
Viable and sustainable economic development in the Arctic is required to realize the full potential of a region that lacks, in many part of the Arctic, basic investments in infrastructure, services, or scalable commerce with linkages from local communities to global markets.
The Polar Institute highlights all forms of security: human security, environmental security, health security, and military security.
To maintain the cooperative nature of Arctic relations, governance structures—like the Arctic Council—must be properly supported.
The Wilson Center has partnered with the Government of Greenland to help inform, frame, and communicate future opportunities and challenges the Government will address in the coming decades.
Arctic Infrastructure Inventory
The Polar Institute manages an extensive database of infrastructure projects in the Arctic, for the benefit of researchers, investors, policymakers, and the public.
Once considered remote and isolated, the Arctic region is now part of the political, social, economic, security, and geopolitical landscape—this reality requires research and policy analysis now more than ever.
His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
It has been a privilege to see how the Wilson Center is embracing the emerging Arctic and the Global Arctic as a part of the portfolio of this distinguished Institute.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
[The Polar Institute] is where we seem to be hosting these significant conversations.
Ambassador Kåre R. Aas
I want to commend the Wilson Center for what [the Polar Institute] has achieved in a short period of time.
Ambassador Bergdís Ellertsdóttir
In an increasingly complex world basing our decisions on sound science and know-how is and will be, of the essence for sustainable development. People, not least our young people, are calling for responsible decision-making and decisive actions towards sustainability, and events such as this one contribute to and thus support the work of the Arctic Council. I want to, in this context, thank the Wilson Center for their tireless efforts in this regard.
Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson
The Wilson Center’s approach on its subject matters, offering high-quality views on issues of real international importance, has seldom been as relevant as in today’s increasingly complex world. We need interdisciplinary approaches to be able to fully understand the challenges we face and to seize the opportunities that rapid changes in our region bring about.
Minister Ane Lone Bagger
I want to thank the director of the Polar Institute and the Global Risk and Resilience Program here at the Wilson Center, Dr. Mike Sfraga, for being a good friend of Greenland, who takes genuine interest into helping us raise awareness in Greenland in Washington, DC through our Greenland Dialogues partnership.
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