Arctic Circle Assembly gears up for start of in-person meeting on October 14

Event flags outside of the Harpa convention centre during the 2017 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

The Arctic Circle Assembly, one of the biggest northern-themed conferences in the world, is gearing up for its four-day, in-person gathering starting October 14 in Reykjavik.

“This will also be the first big multi-sectorial gathering in Europe to take place since the Covid-19 pandemic began,” the organizers said in a news release.

They’ll be approximately 100 sessions offered this year, with more than 1,000 participants from 50 different countries.

As usual, the opening session will feature ministers and government representatives speaking on their Arctic strategies or policies.

Some of the confirmed speakers include:

  • Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on President Joe Biden’s Arctic strategy
  • Virginijus Sinkevicius, the EU commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, on the EU’s new Arctic strategy
  • Kalistat Lund, Greenland’s minister for Agriculture, Self-sufficiency, Energy and the Environment, on Greenland’s Arctic priorities
Canada-themed sessions
Harpa, the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, in Iceland. The next Arctic Council ministerial will take place here October 14-17. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

The Arctic Circle began in 2013 as a way to bring together those interested in the Arctic, whether in the North, or elsewhere in the world. It was established by former Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson

Before the pandemic, the annual assemblies in Reykjavik drew more than 2,000 people.

They’re attended by everyone from politicians and Indigenous leaders to NGOs, businesspeople and academics.

Canada-themed sessions at this year’s gathering include everything from the evolution of Arctic policy in Quebec, to a session on Youth voices in the Arctic organized by Global Affairs Canada.

The event will run October 14-17 at Harpa, the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Potential Canadian Northern Corridor would present unique security challenges and opportunities, say researchers, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Sami, environmental groups weigh in on Finland’s Climate Act reform, Yle News

Greenland: Greenland, Denmark and the Faroe Islands sign terms of reference for committee on foreign affairs and defence, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland gives green light to new Olafur Ragnar Grimsson Arctic institute, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Nordic fighter jet exercises underway inside Arctic Circle, The Independent Barents Observer

RussiaNational security chief says Russia must bolster its Arctic military, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden inaugurates new regiment in sub-Arctic Arvidsjaur, Radio Sweden

United States: Norway ambassador visits Alaska to talk climate, Russia and, yes, Norwegian dog mushing success, Alaska Public Media

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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