TORONTO — Arctic360, the Canadian northern affairs conference, kicked off Tuesday with this year’s event focused on both business and the changing geopolitical context in the circumpolar world.
“It’s been a year since the start of the war in Ukraine and we want to use this year’s conference as an opportunity to take stock on what’s happened, as well as where we’re going in terms of collaboration and cooperation,” Jessica Shadian, president and CEO of Arctic360 told Eye on the Arctic.
Arctic360 is an independent think tank focused on Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Their eponymous conference has had a longtime business focus on public private Indigenous partnerships and exploring ways to drive capital north.
But over time they’ve sought to showcase international viewpoints and perspectives that the North American Arctic might learn from.
“It’s been an organic continuation,” Shadian said. “Every year our business theme comes out and builds on previous conferences, but we’re also taking into account everything that’s going on in the world.”
Ambassadors take centre stage on Wednesday
Some of this year’s speakers include Canada’s Senior Arctic Official Heidi Kutz, as well as the ambassadors of Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.
Government representatives from the U.S. and Greenland will also speak.
New for the conference, the ambassadors to Japan and South Korea will also speak on Asia in the Arctic.
Business session speakers include representatives of several Indigenous development corporations, along with representatives from the shipping and construction industries.
The conference opened Tuesday afternoon with a talk by author Whit Fraser, also the husband of Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon, who spoke about his book True North Rising: My fifty-year journey with the Inuit and Dene leaders who transformed Canada’s North.
The Arctic360 conference runs from February 21-23.
The full program is available here.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
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