Canada’s GG among keynote speakers at Arctic Circle Assembly

A file photo of Governor General Mary Simon at Rideau Hall, her official residence, in Ottawa, Ontario. Simon will speak at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland this week. A news release from the office of the Governor General said Simon was making the trip at the request of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Canada’s Governor General, Mary Simon, is among the Canadians participating in this year’s Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik.

Arctic Circle is one of the biggest northern-themed conferences in the world and runs October 13-16 at Harpa, the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre.

Simon will be a keynote speaker when the conference opens on Thursday. On Friday, she will also participate in a plenary session on gender equity and diversity in Arctic leadership.

“Her Excellency’s participation in the Arctic Circle Assembly will serve to demonstrate Canadian leadership in the Arctic, and reinforce other priority issues for Canada in the North, including climate change, reconciliation, gender equality and youth engagement,” said a statement from the office of the Governor General.

“This visit will take place as Canada and Iceland mark 75 years of bilateral relations, and will provide an opportunity to reinforce strong ties between Canada and Iceland.”

Harpa, the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, in Iceland. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

In addition to participating in the conference, Simon will also meet with Iceland’s President Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson Thursday morning to discuss Canada and Iceland’s historic connections and their 75 years of diplomatic relations. 

Other confirmed speakers at the conference include: Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon; Estonia’s President Alar Karis, Greenland’s Prime Minster Mute B. Egede, Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir.

Canadians from the business community, academia, territorial MLAs, municipal politicians and Indigenous leaders like Lisa Koperqualuk, the president of Inuit Circumpolar Council⁠—Canada, and Aluki Kotierk, the president of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, are also participating.

A file photo of Arctic Circle Assembly flags outside of the Harpa convention centre in Reykjavik. (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.

The event is held in Reykjavik every fall.

Two thousand people are expected at this year’s event.

This year’s scheduled 200 sessions touch on everything from climate change and business, to youth and language, to the impact of Russia’s Ukraine invasion on Arctic cooperation and governance.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Senate committee studying Arctic security in response to int’l interest in region, CBC News

Finland: No return to pre-war reality when it comes to Arctic cooperation, says Finnish rep, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norway limits access for Russian fishing trawlers in security push, Thomson Reuters

Russia: Newly deployed nuke-bombers at Kola is certainly a signalling, expert says, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Two Russians seek asylum after reaching remote Alaska island, The Associated Press

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