15th meeting of the Council of the University of the Arctic held at the UiT
June 12 – 14, 2012 representatives of more than 60 member institutions of UArctic gathered at the 15th meeting of the Council of the University of the Arctic. Council meeting is an annual general meeting of the University of the Arctic network which brings together representatives from universities, colleges and other organizations, its priority activities are focused on higher education and research in the North. The overall objective of UArctic is to create a strong, sustainable circumpolar region by developing the northerners and northern communities through interdisciplinary education, knowledge and research as well as joint efforts of those living in the North to address the unique problems of the region.
This year the University of Tromso (Norway) became the host of the event. The main purpose of the meeting was to provide collective evaluation of UArctic results for the current period and discuss the development stages of a new Strategic Plan for 2014-2020 years.
MSTU was represented at the Council meeting by Vice-rector for Research Svetlana Derkach and Head of International Cooperation Department Natalia Anikeeva.
At the beginning of the meeting participants were welcomed by the host university Rector, Prof. Jarle Aarbakke, Mayor of Tromsø Mr. Jens Johan Hjort and President of the Norwegian Sami Parliament Mr. Egil Olli.
The important and most interesting part of the event was the breakout sessions on thematic networks. Thematic networks are recognized to be the core activity of scientific and educational interaction with UArctic umbrella. MSTU is a member of three thematic networks within the UArctic: "Arctic coastal and Marine Issues", "Energy in New Time", "Environmental Training and Education for Sustainable Development of the Arctic under UArctic". This year's meeting four new thematic networks were presented: "Communicating Arctic Research", "Polar Ice, Climate and Land Dynamics", "Geology of Arctic", "Arctic Extractive Industries". The last two thematic networks are of a particular interest for MSTU. The preliminary agreement to join the network was reached and first joint project ideas were discussed as a result of the meeting.
The Council also took the key decisions on the future development of the University of the Arctic in order to develop a draft Strategic Plan 2020 for the next meeting in 2013, took a positive decision on the new membership applicants of the UArctic. In addition, the Council renewed the mandate, and updated the Academic Quality Committee participants, as well as discussed the issue of the creation of the UArctic Student Association.
June 13 the Coincil meeting proceeded with the special session on "Indigenous Methodology – Contribution to Developing Academic Knowledge". Various methodology approaches to studying indigenous peoples of the North were discussed.
The next meeting of the Council of the University of the Arctic was determined to be held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (USA) June 3 – 7, 2013. It will be preceded by the UArctic Rectors’ Forum where rectors of institutes and universities-members will convene. He Forum will take place November 13-15, 2012 at the University of Manitoba (Canada).