The University of Alaska Fairbanks has been selected to host the largest international meeting of Arctic science and policy leaders in the world in 2016.
One thousand attendees are expected March 9-20, 2016, for the 18th annual Arctic Science Summit Week and associated science and policy meetings. Participants will explore environmental change, research and development in the Arctic, insights from Arctic indigenous peoples and much more.
During the summit, the Arctic Council's senior officials will convene the second of only five meetings they will host during the two-year U.S. chairmanship of the council. UAF will also host the Arctic Observing Summit and the Model Arctic Council -- an event where college students convene to simulate the work of the Arctic Council.
"Arctic Science Summit Week provides a great opportunity for leaders of Arctic science, policy, technology and security from around the world to share knowledge, understanding, challenges and collaborations," said Larry Hinzman, UAF's interim vice chancellor for research and a meeting organizer. "This meeting presents a venue for groups and organizations dedicated to the Arctic to work together for greater efficiency and achievements."
The summit will result in recommendations and action plans to better track and respond to a rapidly changing Arctic.
"This meeting will help address the challenges and opportunities that come with rapid Arctic change," said Hajo Eicken, interim director of UAF's International Arctic Research Center. "UAF is helping to maintain the long tradition of international collaboration and joint project development in the Arctic."
As the local host, UAF is developing a program that creates opportunities for dialogue among conference participants, residents of Alaska and the Fairbanks community. For example, all of the conference participants overlap on March 15, and UAF is planning a forum for Alaska leaders to engage with their international counterparts that day. The conference will also include several arts and educational events for the Fairbanks community to learn more about its Arctic backyard.
Being the gateway to Alaska's Arctic region, Fairbanks is excited to welcome the conference participants. "In addition to the economic benefit that this weeklong event will bring to the community, the summit reinforces Fairbanks' position as the year-round basecamp for visitors to Alaska who are interested in exploring the Arctic," noted Deb Hickok, president and CEO of Explore Fairbanks. Opportunities to experience the Arctic and spring attractions like dog mushing and ice carving will be available to participants, and UAF will have a unique opportunity to show off many of the research sites and programs that contribute to global understanding of the region.
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